We are extremely excited to announce our partnership with the Institute of Education and the University of East London to undertake The Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) project, which has just received a £545,000 grant from the Education Endowment Foundation.
The project, which aims to improve schools’ deployment of teaching assistants and ensure they make a valuable contribution to learning, is the first ever trial of a whole school intervention by the Education Endowment Foundation.
The innovative approach underpinning this project brings together the UCL Institute of Education’s MITA programme for school leaders with training for teachers and teaching assistants developed by the University of East London, and on-going school-based support via the London Leadership Strategy. This trial will involve 100 primary schools that will be randomised to intervention or control. The intervention schools will receive a year of training and support, which they will put into practice in the second year. So far, over 100 schools have accessed the IOE’s MITA course, and it is currently running in schools in Plymouth, Tower Hamlets and on the Island of Jersey.
Rob Webster, Principal Investigator, said:
“There are over 380,000 teaching assistants working alongside teachers in classrooms in England. The majority of TAs spend most of their time supporting pupils in every day classrooms, yet to date, the evidence of the most effective ways of deploying TAs in these settings is very limited.
“This project will formally evaluate the effects of changing practices at the school level in an important area of educational improvement. Our aim is to provide good evidence on how schools can unleash the potential of TAs and make a positive contribution to learning in classrooms.”
Anita Kerwin-Nye, Managing Director of LLs, said:
“Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants is a fantastic project that will improve outcomes in the classroom and we are delighted to support this exciting project in partnership with the Institute of Education. We will be deploying LLS’ national network of education system leaders – heads and senior leaders committed to principles of school to school support – to help roll out the MITA programme. This work builds on our work as hosts of the Whole School SEND Consortium and on the work of the SEND Review. Moreover, it reflects feedback from our network on the vital role of teaching assistants in supporting all children and young people”.
The Whole School SEND Consortium is the Department for Education Schools Workforce Contract for 2016/2017 and aims to make outcomes for young people with SEND as important to school leadership teams as every other aspect of school improvement and delivery. The core aim of the Whole School SEND Consortium is to build the SEND Review Key Areas into a wider school-led school improvement agenda. Alongside work with Regional School Commissioners and the Teaching School Council the Consortium will be testing how schools, both directly or through Multi-Academy Trusts and school networks, can use the Review to improve their provision for children and young people with SEND. A key additional activity of the Consortium is to develop approaches for schools on how to make effective use of Teaching Assistants to support children with SEND.
The SEND Review Guide is part funded by the Department for Education and created in partnership with over forty outstanding special and mainstream schools, as well as organisations such as Contact a Family, Ofsted, Council for Disabled Children, the Institute of Education and Teaching Schools Council. The Review Guide is based on the Pupil Premium Review and can be used by all schools to audit their own SEND provision. A direct response to the increasing gap in outcomes between students with SEND and their peers, the Review Guide was created with the purpose of empowering schools to improve their SEND provision. So far, it has reached over 5,000 schools and its impact is far-reaching. In both its creation and subsequent use, the SEND Review Guide has highlighted the importance of Teaching Assistants for enabling children with SEND to achieve and creating inclusive classrooms.
The SEND Review Guide and Whole School SEND are both powered by the London Leadership Strategy (LLS) is a not-for-profit organisation that is run and led by serving Headteachers that exists to reduce educational inequalities. Alongside various other school-improvement programmes, LLS runs SEND Leaders – a direct response to the increasing gap in outcomes between students with SEND and their peers. Like other programmes run by the LLS, the SEND leaders programme works on the premise that schools are responsible for all children in their community - not just those that pass through their own gates. A school-led model that is focused on collaboration rather than competition, SEND leaders encourages outstanding schools with excellent practise to share their learning with their peers.