'I feel that going through the award has slowly changed the attitude of many of the Teaching Assistants'
Headteacher Mrs J Rigby
Best Practice with Teaching Assistants Award
01 May 2019
As a SEN school we have a large number of teaching assistants who support the students within school. They work extremely hard and support in a variety of different ways. As a school we encourage and value the chance for all of our staff to develop and therefore, when we first looked into completing the Best Practice with Teaching Assistants Award (BPTAA), we realised that we already do much of what the award states.
The recruitment process was already in the process of being reviewed but completing the BPTAA helped us to identify the strengths of our current system but also the areas that needed developing. It also helped us recognise that we needed to fine-tune our induction programme for the teaching assistants as we found that many were put straight into the class without knowing fully how the school functions.
We identified standards for teaching assistants with the view to these being used as the basis for target setting for all. Teaching assistants following the development process identify three targets using the teaching assistant standards and collect a piece of evidence to support the completion of each target. Teaching assistants are now observed once a year and have an appraisal meeting once per year.
Teaching assistants now feel challenged and empowered to take control of their own development. Many enjoy picking more challenging targets and feel that their development is having a positive impact on the overall development of the school. They feel that they are being recognised for their work and have something to show for their time here.
When our teachers create their performance management targets they are linked to the school development plan. This is something we want to do for teaching assistants' targets too, to ensure there is a tangible link between teaching assistants' targets and the school development plan.
During the assessment day it was helpful to talk through our strengths and areas for development and identify three areas in which we wanted to continue to develop. The process overall has been very supportive and it’s encouraging to know that the completion of the BPTAA doesn’t mean that all the systems have to be in place and in 100% working order. Part of the process involves the school identifying elements which need continued development and creating an action plan going forward.
Completing the BPTAA means that your teaching assistants are recognised and valued. I feel that going through the process has slowly changed the attitude of many of the teaching assistants and they now feel important and that they have control of their development. We had a small working party who were all involved in the process as our trial group which helped greatly as we were able to discuss successes and difficulties and distribute workload. We were able to get instant feedback and many teaching assistants felt empowered and included in the process. I would highly recommend having that.