Evaluating professional development opportunities for Teaching Assistants within a South Wales college


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Author: Clair Charalambous, Bridgend College.
Presented at the Research - Teaching in Wales 2011 Conference, 13th - 14th September, Gregynog Hall, Newtown (Powys)

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  • Greater implications for lack of appropriate training.Over 600 different qualifications available and each role requires a different set of skillsOur route is a Level 3 certificate, FD, BA. Although there are a range of courses outside of this that also target this audience we focussed particularly on Tas and excluded nursery nurses, child minders etc. This would have made the research too cumbersome!
  • Q – To establish views of HT or SENCos about the training requiredFG – To establish views of Tas about what training and knowledge they actually needed in order to conduct their roleI – To establish the rationalle behind the route available at the college and identify the wider needs of the LEADA – To establish what precisely the Tas should be doing at each level and what skills and knowledge they might need.
  • Special schools had to be disregarded
  • ALN as a priority – key focus of the FD Qualifications. However the specific ALN requirements vary greatly from one role to another, so possibly offering stand alone specific modules. Also the general ALN was not introduced until 2nd year FD (Level 5) might be needed at level 4.
  • Primary – LSO (L3) 83% employed through school Secondary – 1:1 78% employed through LEAQ and E – This causes concern that Tas are being asked to do roles they are not equipped to conduct. Also that the career progression is not available beyond level 4.QP – despite job descriptions starting at this level. Makes our students over qualified for their roles. Opportunities do exist, but outside of the learning support role.Differences between level 3 and 4 qualifications is not reflected in the job descriptions
  • Evaluating professional development opportunities for Teaching Assistants within a South Wales college

    1. 1. An evaluation of professional development opportunities for Teaching Assistants in a South Wales College<br />Clair Charalambous<br />
    2. 2. To evaluate the curriculum offered at a South Wales college for Teaching Assistants<br />21% increase in support staff in Wales (Blatchford et al 2009)<br />Increase in responsibilities within this role, including specialist and teacher type responsibilities (Burgess and Shelton-Mayes 2009)<br />Increased uptake of high level training for this sector (Blatchford et al 2009)<br />Rationale<br />
    3. 3. Questionnaires<br />Distributed to all schools within the LEA <br />Focus Group<br />Comprising a range of TAs from across the LEA working in a range of settings at a range of levels.<br />Interviews<br />With key stake holders in the LEA, university and college.<br />Document Analysis<br />Of a range of job descriptions from within the LEA at different levels in different settings.<br />Methodology<br />
    4. 4. Questionnaires<br />37% Overall response<br />Results also analysed between sectors.<br />Responses analysed and comparisons drawn with the curriculum offered at the college<br />Interviews and Focus Groups<br />Results transcribed and themes identified<br />Results analysed between sectors.<br />Comparisons drawn with the curriculum offered at the college<br />Document Analysis<br />Themes were identified and supported by cross coder analysis.<br />A training gap analysis highlighted parallels and omissions within the college curriculum. <br />Analysis of Results<br />
    5. 5. Positive Correlations with Curriculum<br />Clear progression route <br />Opportunities to specialise are offered at appropriate levels<br />Issues largely addressed at appropriate levels and within suitable time frames, in particular ALN.<br />Confidence in practice, and advanced career opportunities<br />Findings<br />
    6. 6. Primary and Secondary Settings<br />Very distinct roles and requirements<br />Qualification and Employment<br />Below level 3 TAs tend to be employed at a higher level than their qualifications<br />Conversely above level 3 many TAs hold qualifications above the level they are employed at.<br />Qualification Profile<br />No level 1 or 2 qualification<br />No job descriptions beyond level 4 <br />Work Based Learning<br />Lack of vocational assessment at level <br />Findings<br />
    7. 7. For College:<br />Introduce a level 2 qualification<br />Develop links between schools and college<br />Ensure flexible delivery of FDs to ensure they are appropriate for all sectors<br />Specialist modules to be offered at level 4<br />For LEA:<br />Formalised induction training for unqualified staff<br />Creation of specialist or management type roles<br />Create role and sector specific job descriptions<br />Recommendations<br />