Family & Home

Terrific Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistants play a vital role in schools, supporting teachers, classrooms and most importantly pupils.

Each year National Teaching Assistants Day gives thanks to the individuals who make a massive difference to the lives of so many young people every day, as Suzie Smith explains…

I’ve written about my son’s autism on The Interchange before, but I haven’t given enough praise to the role that his teaching assistants played in supporting him at school.

Laurie, who’s now six, struggled enormously when he first started school. He’s an August baby so was very young going into reception year. Thankfully, even before he received a dedicated 1-2-1 teaching assistant in year one, he had the endless encouragement of his TA in his first year at school.

Laurie would endlessly follow his TA around, helping her with jobs and setting up tasks. At a time when even getting him to school was a real challenge, his TA made those hours pass more quickly for him.

Yet it was in year one where he had the full attention of a wonderful woman called Mrs Paula Common. She spent every single morning with Laurie, helping him learn how to write, learn how to read, get himself dressed after PE and sitting with him at lunchtime.

At the end of year one Laurie had made more personal progress than any other child in his class. Admittedly he’s still way below the national averages, but he’s made amazing progress for him. And I put that down – in no small part – to his TA.

Sonia Blandford from Achievement for All 3As says:  “The impact teaching assistants can make in relation to improving progress in reading, writing and maths for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is profound.

I couldn’t agree more!

44% – The percentage of parents with autistic children who want more Teaching Assistants in UK schools

National Teaching Assistants’ Day was created by Teaching Personnel to recognise the valuable contribution Teaching Assistants make to the education and support of school children across the UK.

On National Teaching Assistants’ Day schools across the UK are encouraged to join in the celebrations.

96% – The percentage of headteachers who believe Teaching Assistants add value to their school.

Each year the annual Stars of the Stokes Award recognises the efforts of amazing individuals in the North Bristol and South Glos area.

In 2016, TA Katharine Hatton won the Teacher of the Year Award. Here’s what her nominator has to say about her:

“As a TA Katharine has a heart of gold, she is always there to offer advice and support when needed to both children and parents. She is an enormous help to everyone, she’s considerate to the needs of the children and all of the children love here.

She will go the extra mile to alleviate worries of children and their parents. She is ambitious and has a caring attitude and desire to make a difference in a young child’s life, she’s great!”

If you know someone worth winning an award in the 2020 awards, then keep an eye on the website for the nominations to open.

44,000 -The number of Teaching Assistants working in schools across the UK. An increase from 71,800 in 2002.

The role of a TA is varied and appreciated by parents as they can act as a bridge between home and school, they’re an extra pair of eyes in the classroom and they’re invaluable to teachers’ and they support teachers’ effectiveness.

You can nominate a teaching assistant in a national competition to find the best TA in the country, visit the National Teaching Assistants Day website to find out more.

We’d love to know who you think is an outstanding TA and why…

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