New school year: new opportunity to develop teaching staff
The start of a new academic year is an exciting time for all of us in education. Teachers reunite after six weeks of summer holidays, which have seemingly flown by in a heartbeat; they review targets and complete any last-minute preparation ready to welcome back new and returning students. With the start of term now well underway, the challenge of the year ahead looms over many who are finding it increasingly difficult to maximise rapidly decreasing resources.
In December, the government announced changes to the schools funding formula in England, which according to Education Secretary Justine Greening will make it “fairer and more transparent” for all schools. However, not everybody is convinced, and the announcement sparked protests from parents concerned that their schools were set to lose out. With many teaching professionals still concerned, the need to maximise all resources is becoming vital.
UNISON has forever argued that teaching assistants (TAs) play a fundamental role in boosting quality and standards in schools. Research by the Education Endowment Foundation, as well as ongoing projects such as the ‘Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants’ (MITA), make it clear that well deployed TAs with high quality support and training can make a significant positive impact on pupil learning.
Where are the resources to provide the training and development to make this happen?
Throughout all industries across the UK, many staff believe that training and development budgets are predominantly focused on higher level professionals, rather than the entire workforce. However, since the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy in April, all schools, whether they are levy paying or not, should benefit from easier access to training and development for the workforce, through apprenticeships.
For levy paying schools, apprenticeship training and assessments will be paid for using your digital vouchers via the DAS account. For non-levy payers, the government will pay 90% of the cost of your apprentices’ training and assessments, leaving just the remaining 10% for you to pay.
No restrictions on who can be trained
Whether your school is a levy payer or not, apprenticeships are suitable for training new AND existing staff.
With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy came changes around the criteria for apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are no longer limited to individuals aged 16-24, which means that existing staff can now be trained on an apprenticeship programme. By using your Apprenticeship Levy to up-skill your existing staff, you will help them to progress their career with new qualifications, creating progression opportunities for your ambitious employees.
Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
Gloucestershire College is offering new work- based qualifications, ‘Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, Levels 2 and 3’ which are designed for learning support staff. These apprenticeships are for those who are working, or want to work, in an educational setting supporting teaching and learning. These apprenticeships benefit your school by training Teaching Assistants with the right skills, knowledge and behaviours; designed as flexible qualifications which meet the priorities of the sector.
This apprenticeship is not restricted to an academic year, the programme is available throughout the year on a roll on roll off basis, and all of the training and assessments take place in the workplace; no day release is required. Therefore, schools are able to train and develop their workforce without losing a member of staff from their working week timetable.
Ofsted has identified the benefits of these qualifications, stating that the development of support staff is “linked explicitly to improving outcomes for pupils”.
As well as GC’s new ‘Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools’ apprenticeships, we have a suite of apprenticeships to offer schools, such as apprenticeships in IT, business admin and catering.
To find out more about the Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools apprenticeships provided by Gloucestershire College, visit www.gloscol.ac.uk/stls