Challenges with Recruitment? Time to develop the Teaching Assistants in your school
BEP are pleased to announce that in partnership with Swanshurst School, we are a Tes ‘Straight to Teaching Hub’, known as the BEP Teaching Hub.
If you’re looking for a source of committed people who would make great teachers, the answer may be closer than you think: teaching assistants. There were 387,900 people working as TAs in 2016, a potentially vast pool of classroom talent. Their numbers are growing too: while teachers only added 0.1 percent to their ranks in 2015-16, TAs grew by 1 per cent. No one knows better than headteachers that these aren’t the casual helpers of popular representation – the “mum’s army” – but an increasingly professionalised workforce.
If you’re a headteacher at a primary, secondary or special school, whether you’re in the maintained sector or independent, you can retain trusted staff and upskill them to be qualified teachers with Straight to Teaching. You can offer unqualified teachers, teaching assistants and cover supervisors a chance to develop their skills and climb the career ladder in teaching, all while they continue to work at your school gradually building up their teaching to 50-80% of a full teacher’s timetable.
It’s more cost effective: the average cost of qualifying via Straight to Teaching is just £7,200 compared to £9,000 for a typical school-led initial teacher training programme. Either the learner or the school can fund it, or they can share the cost.
Teaching assistants who join the programme through the BEP Teaching Hub will receive a 5% discount on their fees, with the code BEP5. All schools are eligible for this discount.
Benefits of the scheme for the school
On average, every primary school leader would expect to find at least three TAs in their building with the qualifications and motivation to become a teacher. Every secondary school would expect to find at least four TAs who fit the bill. In other words, the answer to the recruitment crisis might already be within your school.
This isn’t a stopgap or emergency measure, either. There are good reasons to think that TAs can be among the best trainees you could find. After all, they’ve seen what goes in the classroom, the failures and struggles as well as the triumphs. No one has watched teachers at work more closely than their assistants.
When a teaching assistant says they’d like to train as a teacher, they really mean it. They’ve seen the job intimately over the course of many years and they know exactly what they’re signing up for. The most common reason given for wanting to step up and take control of their own classroom? Because they are “passionate about teaching”, according to 41 per cent of respondents. That passion, experience and prior qualifications is a recipe for creating a successful teacher. All you need is a way to get them the right training.
Benefits of the scheme for teaching assistants
“I always wanted to be a teacher but life got in the way”, says Kerry Vye. As a young mum, taking the time out and funding herself through a PGCE seemed like an impossible task. Instead, she took a job as a teaching assistant at Westbrook Primary School in West London. So when the school learned about Straight to Teaching, it seemed as if her chanced had come at last.
She was able to continue earning while she trained, all in an environment which she was familiar with and where she was supported by trusted colleagues. She’s now an NQT. “I feel better off than some of the NQTs who come from university because I’m instituted within the school, I’m established”, she says.
One essential element of her success was the online course materials. For trainees with work and family commitments, it means they can work around the other demands of life. “Being able to do the work online when it suited me rather than having to do it in a timeframe was great. I had resources I could go back to for reference and it was accessible anywhere, so I did a part of it here when I had free time and part of it at home on my own time”, says Mrs Vye.
Online study doesn’t mean that trainees lack support or the personal touch, however. First of all, they have their mentor within the school. Claire Chalk, one of Westbrook’s mentors, meets her trainees every week, observes their lessons and gives detailed feedback on how their teaching is developing, setting targets for them to follow up. “I think the best element of the school-led teacher training route is that the trainees get to be part of the school from the start”, she says. “They get to believe in the same ethos that the school has, so it enables them to take part in everything that school life is about – not just purely training, but understanding about the school overall”.
The mentors also work with a pathway tutor allocated by Tes Institute, who can offer additional advice and guidance in face-to-face visits and email contact as trainees progress towards QTS.
The result has been a transformation for Kerry Vye, her students and her entire school. “I’ve achieved a goal”, says Mrs Vye. “Personally, being able to say that I’ve done something I set out to do, all of that has really impacted at home. It’s shown my son that if you work hard, you will achieve something. It’s given me a bit more confidence as well”.
Benefits of registration through the BEP Teaching Hub
Teaching assistants who join the programme through the BEP Teaching Hub will receive a 5% discount on their fees. The minimum fee is £4,500 which amounts to a saving of at least £225.
All schools are eligible for this discount, and the code BEP5 must be used in section 1.3 on the online application to be applicable.
|Straight to Teaching Programme||Total Fee||Fee without VAT|
|Assessment only route||£3,600||£3,000|
|Low QTS preparation (1 to 1.5 terms) and QTS assessment||£5,400||£4,500|
|Medium QTS preparation (2 to 3 terms) and QTS assessment||£7,200||£6,000|
|High QTS preparation (4 to 5 terms) and QTS assessment||£9,000||£7,500|