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Support Staff Case Studies
Fearnhill School, Letchworth
School No: 10
SB - Deputy Head and CPD Coordinator
SB is Deputy Head and is CPD Coordinator for all of the School’s staff.
Fearnhill has a comprehensive procedure for induction of new support staff.
On the first day at school each new LSA will spend the first two hours with their mentor who will give them a guided tour of the school and introduce them to their starter pack. This includes (amongst other things) a map of the school, various whole school policies, the Learning Support Dept. policy, current SEN register and guidelines as to the expectations of LSAs in the classroom at Fearnhill.
The new LSA will also be given a copy of the book ‘How to survive as an LSA in a secondary school’.
During the first week the new LSA will shadow their mentor for all their lessons, becoming familiar with the school procedures, teaching staff and pupils on the SEN register. They will have an hour a week off timetable to go through questions they may want to ask and to seek advice as to handle certain situations.
During their second week they will shadow a variety of different LSAs in different subject areas in order to expose them to a variety of teaching and learning experiences.
At the end of the first two weeks the new LSA will be introduced to their curriculum area (most LSAs have one subject in which they spend the majority of their time in order to allow them to become familiar with both the staff and subject). They will then spend approximately half their timetable for the next week shadowing and the other half in the classroom supporting SEN pupils.
All new LSAs are encouraged to take advantage of the in-house training from the SENCo and other Learning support teacher who offer advice and training on issues such as teaching reading groups, supporting SpLD pupils in class, supporting pupils with ASD and teaching numeracy intervention groups. Other colleagues within the school offer training in subjects such as various aspects of the use of ICT.
All LSAs are also encouraged to develop their skills on courses that are run externally, for example behaviour management at Wheathampstead or courses offered by the SEN support team across the county.
At the end of their first term LSAs have an informal discussion with the SENCo about their experiences so far, any issues they want to raise and any feedback or advice they need.
It is usual for new technicians to have a 2 or 3 week handover period working with the technician that is moving on. This enables new staff to become familiar with staff, students, procedures and the school setting.
Appraisal is undertaken for all Support staff by various line managers. This is done usually in the Autumn term and each reviewee is given a self review form to complete and bring to the review meeting.
The Appraisal process involves:
After an introductory year, the meeting between appraiser and appraisee will consist of two parts: the first part reviewing the objectives set the previous year and discussion progress, and the second part setting new objectives for the following year. Further details of the Appraisal process are available and staff are advised to consult the detailed policy and practice documents which are included in the Management File.
Training takes place in house as well as outside. Recently the school bought in training which was in the form of 12 one hour sessions on literacy and numeracy skills for the Teaching and Learning Support Staff. The school also takes full advantage of the SEN training sessions provided by the SpLD base in Stevenage and all new Teaching and Learning Support Staff required to attend this training if relevant to their role.
Teaching Assistants are line managed by the SENCo who has regular weekly meeting with the team where any issues or concerns are discussed. All other Support Staff can speak to SB (responsible for whole school CPD) as and when required or relevant department heads.
Fearnhill School prides itself on the training and development opportunities offered and the assurance of support and recognition of achievement. The school ensures that it is familiar with all Support Staff so that their talents, skills and knowledge can be best utilised in the school. This in turn allows staff to feel valued as part of the whole school teaching and learning team, raises self esteem and so continues to raise standards for its students.