A new initiative designed to showcase the impactful and essential work of Teaching Assistants has been launched by one of the UK’s foremost educational charities.
The campaign All I Do, created by the leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE, features real Teaching Assistants reading out public opinions about the role, before challenging the misconceptions and celebrating everything they do for children, young people and schools.
It comes as increasing pressure on school budgets means this vital role is at risk, potentially leaving some of the most vulnerable children without the support they need.
Angie Rogers, Subject Specialist in Teaching and Learning at NCFE, said:
“Teaching Assistants deliver a wealth of value for schools, yet often don’t receive the recognition their role deserves. We want to raise awareness of the impact Teaching Assistants are having every single day in supporting the needs of children and young people.
“Teaching Assistants make up over a quarter of the workforce in schools, including up to 35% of the primary workforce. As a specialist role, they support some of the most vulnerable children and young people, including students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
“Despite the essential work they do, Teaching Assistants are often the first role to be made redundant or have hours reduced when budgets get stretched. That’s despite most teachers across primary and secondary schools saying they don’t have everything they need to support students with SEND.
“This is why we’re on a mission to champion everything Teaching Assistants do and the difference they make to so many. We’re also focused on supporting Teaching Assistants directly and helping them to develop their skills by improving access to specialised development and training opportunities.”
In a poll earlier this year by the research organisation Teacher Tapp, 88% of primary teachers and 81% of secondary teachers felt they didn’t have all the help they needed to support students with SEND.
A recent National Association of Head Teachers survey also highlighted that, because of increasing pressure on budgets, 66% of school leaders believe they will need to consider making Teaching Assistants redundant or reducing their hours.
Lindy Orchard’s son is on the autistic spectrum and she has experienced first-hand the ways Teaching Assistants have supported him through the education system.
“We knew he had problems from about the age of two, so we’ve had quite a lot of interactions over the years with a wide range of Teaching Assistants. It was an assistant in a nursery who was one of the first professionals to spot that things weren’t quite right and that it wasn’t just me as a mummy being overbearing or overprotective.
“Towards the end of primary school, there was a Higher Level Teaching Assistant who came in and was put one-to-one with my son for a while. She introduced things like a visual timetable for him at school, using time-out cards for him, and was able to change the onus from he’s giving us a hard time, to he’s having a hard time.”
As part of the campaign, NCFE is looking for people to take a short survey so they can better understand perceptions around the role, both from Teaching Assistants themselves and others. Whether you’re currently working as a Teaching Assistant, working in education, or just interested in learning more, you can get involved.
To find out more about the campaign and to take the survey, please visit: https://www.ncfe.org.uk/