Northamptonshire’s teaching assistants praised by education leaders

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Northamptonshire’s dedicated army of 1,800 teaching assistants have been praised by leading educators.

The University of Northampton’s School of Education is supporting a national celebration day for teaching assistants today (Friday, November 29).

Organised by the UNISON trade union, the day aims to celebrate the invaluable contributions that teaching assistants – also known as learning support assistants – make in schools.

Within the UK there are over 350,000 teaching assistants, and around 1,800 of them work within Northamptonshire. Their roles are varied, with some supporting pupils with special educational or health needs, others providing pastoral support and others helping with lesson preparation.

The University of Northampton’s School of Education provides dedicated training for both prospective and current teaching assistants and those who wish to become teachers.

Peter Wells, deputy dean at the School of Education said: “Over the last decade the role of teaching assistants within our education system has become increasingly recognised as of vital importance to the learning and personal development of our children and young people. Teaching assistants work alongside teachers in a professional capacity to provide dedicated and committed support to a wide range of pupils across the entire breadth of the curriculum. Many of these Teaching Assistants are very well qualified, and are an essential and established part the schools in which they work. Without their expertise and guidance, thousands of children and young people would be deprived of highly effective and valuable personalised support.”

Teaching assistant Jayne Brierley, who won the Higher Level Teaching Assistant award for the East Midlands earlier this year, added: “I encourage all children to aspire to be their best in everything they do in lessons and in life because without aspirations there is nothing to strive for.”

Julie Jones, head of division at the University of Northampton, said: “Teaching assistants and other support staff should be encouraged to enrol onto courses which offer teaching assistant qualifications. Some schools have also benefitted from encouraging and supporting their teaching assistants in identifying a route into becoming a qualified teacher, through a Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching.”

For further information about the teaching assistant’s celebration day, visit Unison’s website