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Classroom Assistants - Help or Hindrance?

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Gavster77, Sep 15, 2020 at 12:01 PM.


Classroom Assistants - Help or Hindrance?

This poll will close on Nov 15, 2020 at 11:01 AM.
  1. Helpful to teaching.

  2. Hindrance to teaching.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Helpful but need better training

  4. Hindrance - Scrap whole tier of staff.

  1. Gavster77

    Gavster77 Occasional commenter

    Dear all, I’m beginning a poll to back a motion for discussion at a network additional support needs meeting.
    I’m working on how helpful or unhelpful the system of in-class support asssistants is and whether they greatly positively impact pupils’ learning.
    Anecdotes to back up your vote may be posted below.
  2. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    Training is non existent and I’d add that they need their own line manager - not a DHT/FH/PT who has to divide time between them and teaching staff, nor an office manager who gives more time and effort to the office.
    Marisha likes this.
  3. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    One of the issues is that if they’re off (and we’ve had 2 off for two weeks each because of contact with a Covid case) they’re not replaced. And if they leave, they tend not to be replaced. Ours are spread so thin now that the wee souls who really need the help are lucky if they get 1 period a week of help in my class.

    Remember: the specialist schools were closed and social inclusion sold to the unions and the regions on the grounds that money saved would be pumped into support in schools. Predictably that has dwindled away to bu&ger all.
    Marisha, Missplus, sicilypat and 2 others like this.
  4. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    To hear the reaction teachers give when they have no support I would say they greatly impact children's learning!
    You have to remember a lot of special schools closed and these children were put into mainstream schools.
    Missplus and sicilypat like this.
  5. aypi

    aypi Senior commenter

    I am long in tooth.
    And gobby, as are most who post on here.
    I am in awe of some LSAs. Their patience and perseverance can transform the outcomes for a child.
    I have seen a pupil unable to to hold a saw go on to independently produce work because of the input from an LSA. She did not do the work for him, but she would put him in the place to start from. Eventually, he got it.
    I have seen an LSA sit on her phone for periods on end. Yeah, I am gobby, so I told her, and her manager. She turned into an excellent addition to the class.
    Teachers get no training, LSAs get no training. Tell them what you want, listen to what they know about the pupils, it will be more than you do.

    I have seen an LSA that needed more help with the subject than the girl she was supporting too.

    Some LSAs enjoy some subjects more than others, seek out the ones that like your subject and ask for them.
  6. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    Who the people are makes a huge difference. The ones we had who knew the basics of every subject, could muck into everything and would happily tear a strip off a kid who stepped out of line, secure in the knowledge they knew the kid's gran were an absolute godsend. The ones who learn slower than most of the kids and need reminding not to tell the kids how hard they found the subject not so much. The problem is we pay these poor folk peanuts so it's no wonder we get our share of monkeys.
  7. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Getting consistency for the kids would be great too. Often a LS person is fired into the class without knowing what we’re doing, or I get 3 different ones over 3 weeks. They are more effective if they’re in class with the same kids over a period of time.

    They can’t help the incorrigible kids whose issues are far beyond learning issues though. We also need behaviour support specialists in schools. By the time they rock up in secondary, you can point out the Barlinnie-bound and there seems to be nothing we can do to help them.

    Anecdotal: a kid from abroad arrived into primary 6, no English. Fast forward to S1; kid could talk like a native but couldn’t read or write - couldn’t even form letters properly yet had no GIRFME or whatever the acronym is from the primary, and seemed to require no support. On enquiry, primary said there had been a lot of peer support put in. Translated to ‘kid’s pals did the work for them’. Maybe primaries need to embed LS from day 1 on a more consistent basis so that when they come up to us, they can at least read and write and count? That kid should have been taken aside and taught intensively for some months. We were very annoyed at that.
    Marisha, sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  8. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    A couple of great quotes there, itr!
    sicilypat and inthered like this.
  9. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Thank you. Honed in the rage of the staffroom, I expect.
    Marisha and bigjimmy2 like this.
  10. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Some are very good, some bad. Like teachers.

    I would prefer them to be deployed with old fashioned small "remedial" classes to help those who can't read or write, especially by the time they get to S1. Instead I have an S1 class where there is a diverse reading age from 5 through to 15 and I am expected to raise attainment.
    Marisha likes this.
  11. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    I agree - BGE and management insistence on mixed ability classes to the end of S3 is like a bad dream. It’s had a massive effect on uptake at S4 of my subject, and they do much less well as, by default, we can’t have set classes in S4 as not enough uptake. N3 - N5 with all the behavioural issues that range implies. Asked ‘Why in God’s name did you pick it?’ kids tend to answer that it’s because they hate it least. Some years we have no S5/6 class as well.

    However, that’s an argument for another day.

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