Our work with Shortstown Primary School
Shortstown Primary School gives Bedford College top marks
Shortstown Primary School has 13 teaching assistants supporting teachers and helping 290 children with their educational and social development. Head Teacher, Denise Cottam, recognises that her teaching assistants play a vital role in the school’s success, ensuing pupils make good progress on their journey from two to 11 years of age.
Training for teaching assistants
Over the past four years, Denise has invested in training and worked closely with Bedford College to ensure her teaching assistants have the opportunity to gain formal qualifications such as Children and Young People's Workforce CACHE Level 2 and Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools CACHE Level 2 and Level 3.
Denise said: “My aim is to make sure my teaching assistants are at Level 2 or higher in their formal qualifications. We have five in pre-school and the rest work flexibly dotted throughout the school. This formal training provided by Bedford College ensures my teaching assistants have a better understanding of pedagogy, the practice of teaching, and how they can involve themselves in each child’s learning.”
More motivated staff
The teaching assistants themselves have responded very well to the training. They appreciate that Denise is investing in their future and really values the work they do. The CACHE training has helped increase their confidence and understanding about the work they do on a daily basis in the classroom. This in turn means they are more involved with supporting the teachers, from lesson planning to teaching.
In addition, the positive impact on the children’s learning and the one-to-one support they receive has been considerable. Denise added: “There is no doubt in my mind that the great work our teaching assistants do has led to us recently becoming a Centre of Excellence for inclusion, awarded by the Inclusion Quality Mark, Centre of Excellence. We also had a special mention in our most recent Ofsted report about the extra support for pupils who need it.”
Denise believes that Bedford College have excelled in providing comprehensive, multi-level training for her teaching assistants. She said: “I would recommend Bedford College without a doubt, from their account management right through to their trainers and assessors. Our account manager is excellent – she is always there to answer our queries without delay so I can make decisions quickly. The assessors are also really friendly and helpful, they understand that teaching assistants have a full-time job and need to fit their training around work. They’re also very mindful of the fact that many of our assistants may be excellent at what they do in the classroom, but need more help and support on the academic side. The College assessors have worked hard to incorporate this.”
Moving forward, Shortstown Primary is entering a period of rapid growth and aims to attract 430 pupils over the next few years. Against a background where behaviour management is a hotly debated national issue, and with the increased focus on inclusion, such expansion brings additional challenges. Denise believes Shortstown Primary is better prepared to face these challenges and support their children due to the training her teaching assistants have undertaken.
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