Book Review By Heather Stevens, SaLT

Teaching Assistant’s Pocketbook, 2nd Edition Dot Constable,

One of the Teachers’ Pocketbooks series, this little book is full of really useful information for anyone starting out as a TA or looking to develop their role.

The information is divided into 5 sections, the first of which looks at the role of the TA. This section may also be of interest to the TA’s line manager as the information would provide a sound basis upon which to model an induction programme. It clearly outlines the procedures and policies that the TA needs to be familiar with. The subsequent three sections look at the the TA’s role in assisting the teacher, assisting pupils and assisting the school.

The section Assisting the Teacher not only describes the types of task the TA may need to take on but also offers practical advice on how to build and maintain a good working relationship with the teacher. It gives suggestions on how to contribute to planning, assessment, evaluation and feedback.

Assisting Pupils outlines the ways in which the TA can help children with learning difficulties. It looks at different learning styles and points to further information.

The final section The Profession gives useful information on CPD and references to relevant websites and reading material.

This little pocketbook is an accessible, easy read, packed full of practical information and advice.

Narrowing the Gap – Petersfield Infant School, Hants

One of our previous School Strategic Plan objectives identified the need to improve speaking and listening skills across the school. In recognising the need for accurate identification of missing skills, we then purchased an exciting interactive ICT program called Infant Language Link, which has enabled us to target specific speech and/or language needs of individual pupils. Every pupil in our school has been assessed individually and we have increased LSA provision to provide targeted individual and small group support as appropriate.

IMPACT: Our July 2014 Y2 data showed a significant increase in levels achieved for Speaking and Listening with 100% of Pupil Premium pupils achieving level 2+ and 52% achieving level 3.

Language Link and TA Support

Language Link packages can support school leaders in the effective deployment of TAs, with the following features highlighted in the recently published guidance document.

  • TAs identify pupils for language intervention with adult-led, online standardised assessment.
  • Interventions are pre-planned in detail with all required resources provided.
  • Interventions are designed to last a minimum of eight 1/2 hour sessions.
  • Timetabling of interventions is flexible – sessions can be split to run twice a week.
  • Tracking sheets are provided for recording outcomes.
  • Activities are provided to make explicit links between interventions and class-based learning.
  • Teachers and SLT can monitor the progress of interventions in the form of group/class reports and individual/class/ whole school provision maps.
  • Online training is provided through 5 x 10 minute videos.


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