This collection is part of a series of bitesize CPD units to support teaching assistants (TAs) with their professional learning journey. These units offer insights into best practice in supporting children and young people, building on the latest evidence base. They are designed to develop knowledge around a range of topics relevant to TAs.
These topics include:
- Supporting students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
- Supporting students with English as an Additional Language (EAL)
- Supporting students to develop literacy and numeracy skills
- Fostering positive relationships and learning environments
- Working effectively with teachers, parents and the wider community
- Developing effective learners
- Developing curriculum knowledge
These CPD units incorporate a range of content types to support professional learning and reflective practice, including:
- Research summaries and reviews that summarise the latest evidence base
- Case studies from practising TAs, teachers and school leaders
- Webinars and video content delivered by leading experts in the field
- Reflective questions to support the learning
- Reading lists signposting further sources and support
Whilst much of the content is from the perspective of researchers, school leaders and teachers, it is both useful and relevant to TAs. Moving forward, we would like to expand our knowledge base by including voices and expertise of TAs. We invite you to use this padlet to begin sharing your reflections, experiences and expertise to support other teaching assistants with their professional learning journey.
Supporting students with SEND
TAs have an important role to play in supporting children and adolescents with a diverse range of additional needs. In 2021, the school workforce census revealed that there were approximately 276,000 TAs working alongside teachers in primary, secondary and SEND schools, making up 28% of the state-funded school workforce (Department for Education - a ministerial department responsi..., 2022). Whilst the proportion of teachers in mainstream schools has remained relatively stable over the last decade, the number of TAs has more than trebled since 2000 (EEF, 2021). This significant increase has been partially driven by the push for greater An approach where a school aims to ensure that all children ... of students with SEND into mainstream schools, with TAs often providing the means by which this is facilitated (EEF, 2021). Most recently, TAs played a crucial role in supporting students with SEND during the pandemic (Webster et al., 2021) and are now taking a leading role in facilitating interventions to help these students catch up with lost learning (Hall & Webster, 2022). Consequently, this unit aims to support teaching assistants to develop their knowledge of a range of needs and provide the tools to effectively support students in different contexts, phases and subject areas.
The content below explores issues and approaches relating to the four broad areas of SEND including:
- Communication and interaction needs e.g. Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
- Cognition and learning needs e.g. dyslexia
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties e.g. anxiety
- Sensory or physical needs e.g. hearing impairment
Moving forward, we hope to build on this knowledge base by drawing on the experience and expertise of TAs supporting students with a range of additional needs.
Department of Education (DfE) (2022) ‘School Workforce in England’ (online) https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england (accessed on 18.10.22)
Education Endowment Fund (EEF) (2021) ‘Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants: Guidance Report’ (online) https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/eef-guidance-reports/teaching-assistants/TA_Guidance_Report_MakingBestUseOfTeachingAssistants-Printable_2021-11-02-162019_wsqd.pdf?v=1666086797 (accessed on 18.10.22)
Hall, S. & Webster, R. (2022) ‘From Covid to the Cost of Living: The Crises Remaking the Role of the Teaching Assistants’ (online) https://pure.port.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/57436644/From_Covid_to_the_Cost_of_Living._The_crises_remaking_the_role_of_teaching_assistants_FINAL_.pdf (accessed on 01.11.22)
Webster, R., Moss, G., Harmey, S. & Bradbury, A. (2021) ‘Unsung Heroes: The role of teaching assistants and classroom assistants in keeping schools functioning during lockdown’ (online) https://maximisingtas.co.uk/assets/unsung-heroesfinal.pdf (accessed on 18.10.22)