Research School Network: Teaching Assistants and Teachers working together to ensure progress in Science Professional development for TAs to support learning in Science

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Teaching Assistants and Teachers working together to ensure progress in Science

Professional development for TAs to support learning in Science

Whether the role is entitled as a Teaching Assistant or Inclusion Support Assistant, they are like the underbelly of the education system. We know we are there but we don’t always give our working relationship with them much thought. We know that Ofsted will review their effectiveness in lessons they observe (and I have experienced this personally) but how prepared are they to support learners in science lessons?

The EEF have produced a very helpful evidence informed guidance report to support schools to make the most effective use of Teaching Assistants to help maximise children’s progression. Making the Best Use of Teaching Assistants can be found via this link.

This is pitched at schools and school-leaders and makes 7 recommendations:

  1. TAs should not be used as an informal teaching resource for low attaining pupils
  2. Use TAs to add value to what teachers do, not replace them
  3. Use TAs to help pupils develop independent learning skills and manage their own learning
  4. Ensure TAs are fully prepared for their role in the classroom
  5. Use TAs to deliver high quality one-to-one and small group support using structured interventions
  6. Adopt evidence-based interventions to support TAs in their small group and one-to-one instruction
  7. Ensure explicit connections are made between learning from everyday classroom teaching structured interventions

Working in partnership with school based practitioners, independent consultants and STEM Learning, North Midlands Science Learning Partnership has developed a package of CPD for Teaching Assistants to prepare them for their role in the science lessons and work in collaboration with teachers to provide and gradually remove scaffolding, support small groups and one-to-one, challenge, question, and model learning. These are based on recommendations 2 and 3 from the list above and thus meet recommendation 4.

The first part of the CPD considers the working relationship between Teacher and Teaching assistant. It is suitable for teaching assistants from primary and secondary phases (and teachers who want to improve their practice). Participants will consider what makes effective and ineffective ways of working together and how this understanding can be applied in practice. The second part of the CPD programme consists of a series of workshops, set in Science contexts, which prepare teaching assistants (and teachers who want to upskill themselves) for being more effective and confident classroom practitioners. Although Science focused, many of the strategies and approaches will transfer to other subject areas. The workshops are as follows.

Capture ta

You can find out more about this programme, starting on Mon 22nd Nov here –
Only a small number of places remain

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