Teaching Assistants’ Case Study
Following changes to the Teachers’ Pay and performance measures in 2014 we have seen an increase in educational establishments putting competency frameworks in place to support their qualified staff.
Our challenge over the last few months has been to provide support to the Teaching Assistant population. Traditionally there has been a lack of clarity about the professional development routes available to TA’s and, there’s been a significant lack of understanding around the skills and competencies required to become a HLTA.
In addition schools, whether in the maintained or independent sector, are looking at ways to support professional development of TAs and ensure the role supports the quality of teaching in a way that underpins school inspection requirements and improves staff engagement where high performance and contributions to the life of the School are recognised and rewarded.
Working closely with the Head Teacher and SLT we identified overarching competency statements and then we facilitated workshop sessions with Teaching Assistants that started to link performance standards with the appraisal process. This meant the TA’s themselves were articulating the overall behaviours required for the various nuances of the role. This led to broader understanding of the developmental needs which can be more easily identified and clearer definition of career paths.
One of the key activities during the workshops was the development of the granular detail to support the overarching competencies. This approach also created a real opportunity for team working and collaboration amongst TA’s and is always a great exercise in creating a truly shared understanding of the contribution the TAs make in supporting high quality teaching within their schools.
As a result of the workshop sessions and consultation, the schools now have fully developed Competency Frameworks with granular definitions, owned by the Teaching Assistants, updated appraisal documentation, updated Appraisal processes and much needed clarity around Professional Development.