At Arbour Vale School five teaching assistants are working towards their Level 3 Teaching Assistant apprenticeship. The apprenticeship programme is a well-established part of the development and training which is offered to staff. We have been celebrating the contribution of apprentices across the Trust as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2023.
Deanna, who is coming to the end of her apprenticeship programme, explains how she found out about the scheme, “When I started as a new member of staff, I asked if there were any opportunities for further education and the Principal put me forward for the apprenticeship scheme.”
Deanna (left) “I would recommend it because you are earning while you are learning so it is a win-win.”
On a practical level the apprentices meet with Claire Davies, the Apprenticeship Tutor every Monday and go through theory. They have time out of class to complete course work and case studies before going back into their classes.
“The apprenticeship programme enables us to train our Teaching Assistants to a high standard whilst the apprentice gains vital skills and knowledge to support the complex needs of our pupils at Arbour Vale School,” Claire explains.
The apprentices also have a mentor, usually the class teacher they are working with.
“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship because my mentor is Jamie and Claire is our tutor. They are both amazing and are really supporting me on my journey,” says Saima who is based in Amersham class. “I think it is a brilliant way to learn because you’re working with the children and improving your knowledge at the same time. I have learnt a lot about children’s development and the different types of curriculums and how they fit in with our models. I can share my ideas with Jamie, and he takes them on board, and we work together to implement them in class.”
“It is good to work together,” says Saima (right). “When I need help Jamie (left) can guide me. Having that support has helped me a lot on my journey.”
There are also benefits to having an apprentice in class, explains Jamie, Amersham’s class teacher and Saima’s mentor, “It is beneficial to the class. I have got a really strong team of Teaching Assistants but because I know Saima is on the apprenticeship, she understands how the curriculum works, she knows which level the children are working at and is able to implement the schemes of work, whilst making the links with the development needs of our children. Saima makes resources to support the teaching and learning needs of our pupils.”
Natasha collaborates with the class teacher on collecting students’ evidence for learning.
The apprentices on the scheme have plenty of opportunities to step up which makes it very appealing. Natasha who is based in Banbury class explains. “The best thing about my apprenticeship is being able to get more involved in the teaching and learning of our pupils. The amount of information you learn from the course is incomparable to just being a Teaching Assistant.”
Amalia, Class teacher of Wendover class, agrees saying, “Amy is the first apprentice I have had in my class, but she is a great support. I know she can lead a lesson and help prepare the resources we need.”
Amy (right) “I feel like I understand a lot more about my roles and it’s given me an understanding of how to extend my skills and knowledge.”
It also enables further career progression for the apprentices like Amy who says, “After I have completed my Level 3, I would like to go on to the Level 4 and hopefully Level 5 so eventually I can have my own class to teach.”
“I have gained a lot of knowledge by doing the apprenticeship. By doing the coursework I have been more able to do my lesson planning.” Connie
Connie who is hoping to finish her apprenticeship soon has this advice to anyone considering doing an apprenticeship, “I would say go for it, you will gain a lot of knowledge and it is good for your career.”