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Support Staff Case Studies
Woolgrove School , Letchworth
School No: 628
Woolgrove has 110 pupils from reception age to Year 6. The classes are small, ranging in number from a maximum of 8 in the lower school to 14 in the upper school. There are three Teaching Assistants in each year group. Woolgrove also has a bank of regular supply TAs who cover staff absences as and when required.
The Autism base accommodates up to 8 pupils from Reception class and Years 1 and 2. The children work in the base with a higher ratio of TAs to support them until they are ready to go into the main class setting.
All new support staff are inducted when they start their new roles in the school. Induction for TAs is undertaken by Senior TA. This is done over three sessions, normally within the first half term of employment, where various procedures and policies are explained.
New staff members are issued with a copy of the staff handbook and Woolgrove’s A to Z of school information. During the first week, new staff members are allocated with a Mentor who is usually a colleague who works in a different part of the school.
Performance Management is carried out by the SLT for all support staff and starts in the Autumn term. The senior TA is part of the SLT and she conducts Performance Management for some of her team. When teachers are observed for their Performance Management, brief observations of the Teaching Assistants are recorded, which are then used at the Teaching Assistant’s appraisals. This is a very positive activity and seen as an acknowledgement of achievement for the past year. At this meeting objectives are reviewed and new ones set, practice is re-evaluated and change of location within the school considered. TAs at Woolgrove can request to work in different areas of the schools to gain more experience, knowledge and skills. Continuing Professional Development opportunities are discussed at this time.
Training is very much encouraged at Woolgrove and relevant courses are suggested to all support staff. After attending courses, staff are welcome to share outcomes with the rest of the teaching and learning team.TAs and MSAs are invited to attend inset training and are paid for their time.