Investigating the impact of a specialist CPD training programme for Teaching Assistants, related to supporting children with English as an Additional Language

Joanne Clifford Swan, Kay Heslop*, Fiona Ranson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This research emerged from education practice, specifically from the experiences of one local authority area within the North East of England. Akin to experiences across Europe (Koehler & Schneider, 2019), increasing numbers of economic migrants and asylum seekers in the area presented schools with a variety of new challenges, for which many felt ill equipped. Not only were schools required to support an increasing range of language repertoires and the needs of vulnerable groups, but specialist provision and training was sparse for teachers and even less for Teaching Assistants, who were regularly expected to care for, and educate, these children. There were also concerns over equality of opportunity in education for these children who had English as an addition language (EAL). The local authority area reflected the national pattern of a reduction in such specialist provision for schools. In response to a request for partnership working, a university in the North East of England developed a specialist Certificate of Education Practice with a focus upon offering continuous professional development (CPD) to Teaching Assistants to support EAL learners. This CPD was followed up by a real-time work-based project which aimed to consolidate the learning and effect relevant change within the area. To determine the impact of the programme, a small-scale evaluation was conducted by way of questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, aiming to glean responses from course attendees, their work-based advisors and Head Teachers or managers. The findings identified three themes: motivation, personal and professional development and impact on school. While the impact of the CPD from the perspectives of the teaching assistants is now more clearly defined, the wider impact from the perspectives of colleagues in other school roles remains anecdotal and unconfirmed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork Based Learning e-Journal International
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2021

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