Wallsend St Peter's C of E Aided Primary School, Wallsend, North Tyneside
Lauren Matthews, Higher Level Teaching Assistant is driving big improvements in phonics learning at Wallsend St Peter’s CofE Aided Primary School in North Tyneside.
Her outstanding contribution has been recognised with the Primary School Higher Level Teaching Assistant of the Year in the 2022 HLTA of the Year Awards.
Deputy headteacher James Dey said Lauren’s work was the reason the school achieved above national and local averages in phonics scores after several years below the national average.
A real powerhouse, Lauren also coaches staff in phonics, helps to lead the management of safeguarding at the school as a co-DSL and supports colleagues on parental engagement and early help assessments, as well as leading nurture groups for vulnerable learners and leading on attendance.
James is full of praise for Lauren, who is currently on maternity leave. “Lauren is always smiling, always leading by example. She completes the vast majority of her tasks within a quick timeframe and never ever lets anyone down. Her colleagues love working with her. Without Lauren school would not be as fun, interesting and the children wouldn’t get the same standard of provision.”
"Because of Lauren, our pupils are more confident, more resilient, less inclined to self-doubt and leave school happy at the end of the day. As an HLTA Lauren manages our behaviour rewards and ensures pupils receive prizes and recognition for their hard work and improved attendance "
Kirkby High School, Kirkby, Knowsley
Shirley Crowley is a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Kirkby High School and runs the school’s literacy intervention and is the baseline assessment co-ordinator.
Last year Ms Crowley was the winner of the HLTA of the Year for Secondary School.
"Shirley always motivates our pupils with real life examples of how they can succeed in life and where their literacy skills will benefit them,” says SENDCo Joseph Carroll. "Shirley assesses pupils’ reading, writing, and spelling and runs intervention groups based on ability range. She collects students from lessons and runs hour long sessions either once or twice a week for each group. She currently works with 58 students. She also runs dyslexia screening and visual stress assessments that support learners across the school and helps to run intervention evenings to share successes and plans with parents. Shirley is a massive champion for literacy and for our students,” Joseph adds.
"She is one of the reasons why SEND at Kirkby High School was acknowledged as a strength in our recent Ofsted report. When the challenge is great Shirley adapts her practice to ensure the students can make progress e.g. one to one sessions or smaller, more regular groups and also have a regular contact with students' parents."
Springwood Campus, Linwood School, Bournemouth
Becky Larby, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant in Springwood Campus, Linwood School in Bournemouth was the HLTA of the Year winner in the SEN category.
Class teacher Gill Matthews nominated Becky for her “excellent understanding of the individual needs of all the pupils she teaches.”
“She spends time getting to know the pupils to ensure that she understands how their autism effects them and their learning and adapts her practice to support this, enabling them to reach their full potential. Becky is always keen to try new strategies to enable the students to access and engage with learning,” she says.
This dedication to her role results in all of the students she supports making progress in the subject areas that she has led. Becky’s excellent knowledge of autism and how it impacts different learners helps her to go above and beyond in her duties and she constantly comes up with fresh and innovative ways of support the needs of individual students.
"She models excellent practice to other teaching assistants and is always on hand to offer them support and guidance in a respectful, supportive and approachable way, helping them to understand the reasoning behind how best to support the students, not just telling them to do it a certain way. Becky is extremely flexible and will cover and support in other classes when needed."
Like most members of the classroom support staff, I began my career supporting children in the classroom. However since gaining HLTA status, in 2005, my role has developed greatly. I am currently:
- Induction Programme Leader for new staff and students
- E-Safety Officer
- Speech and Language Support
- Parent/Carers Support
- Support for CP cases
- Lead HLTA for Bristol Network Meetings
As Support Staff Manager, my first and foremost responsibility is leading a successful team of 25 TAs and HLTAs across two school sites. These responsibilities include timetabling, PPA cover, NQT support, performance management, training and development and supervision in EYFS. I have also developed an induction programme for students and new staff.
Whilst working closely alongside the SENCO we plan interventions that are specific to the needs of the children and those under SEND. TAs chose specifically for their skill set to deliver high-quality support to carry out these interventions. During these interventions, my role includes testing and evaluating the child’s progress both before and after the programme. Once the data is collected it is then passed onto SLT.
As the identified CP Parent Support HLTA, I work closely with parents who are under CP plans, this includes liaising with outside agencies to develop a trusting partnership between all parties. These may include attending medical appointments for the needs of the children and supporting medical interventions within our school. I organise TAF (Team Around the Family) meetings, identifying the needs of support that is required for these families.
As an E-Safety Officer, my responsibilities are to attend regular network meetings to gain further knowledge regarding how to be safe online. This knowledge is then shared with teachers who put these measures into practice. Holding three annual meetings to discuss termly e-safety lesson plans successfully puts these plans into place. Unique Voice, a local drama group, work closely alongside our school to deliver bespoke e-safety performances. In this digital world, it is vital to encourage parents and carers to become e-safety conscious.
Alongside my school-based role, I am a qualified NVQ assessor and mentor for college students, adult learners and school-based TAs. This led me to complete a level 5 Leadership qualification with Best Practice Network which has supported my professional development to the positions I hold now.
I value my roles as lead HLTA for the Bristol HLTA network as I work with schools across Bristol training and developing TAs’ roles and responsibilities, whilst sharing good practice through our shadowing programme. Most recently, January 2015, I was elected onto the board of HNAP, the national organisation for promoting and delivering HLTA status.
I have been working at Victoria Park Primary School for 24 years. I started by volunteering as a mum and then progressed to working at the school. I was keen to undertake training for my new role as my previous career had been very different and my qualifications were in analytical chemistry.
I attended the Specialist Teaching Assistant training followed by many other courses including Community Sports Leader Award, HLTA, NVQ assessor and Support Staff Team Leader training.
My current role is the Support Staff Training and Development Officer. This role includes many responsibilities including Team Leader for a team of approximately 30 TAs and HLTAs. It includes:
- organising, delivering and coordinating training for the team via weekly staff meetings and INSET days.
- coordinating Phase Shadowing for the team so that they can gain insight into other phases within the school.
- carrying out Performance Management meetings and reviews.
- observing all TAs and giving them written feedback.
- working with my team to develop performance descriptors to clarify our assessments when grading TAs. This work is ongoing and will be revisited regularly.
I am a Student Coordinator throughout the school. This includes supporting Teacher Training Students, TA students and school students on work experience as well as other volunteers. I am the Work-Based Mentor for all of our Teacher Training Students and carry out regular meetings with them. I also liaise with class teachers about the students’ progress. We accept a lot of TA students from local colleges and I coordinate their placements as well as work experience placements and other volunteers. Part of this role is carrying out their induction and checking that we adhere to our safeguarding procedures. This role was previously undertaken by the Deputy Head.
I am mentoring two TA apprentices each year which includes liaison with the colleges and supporting the students. I have recently accepted a role as Employee Ambassador to work alongside the college to develop the TA apprenticeships. I also mentor newly appointed members of staff and I cover classes for PPA two afternoons a week, as well as supporting pupils in Year 2 four mornings a week.
My role is ever-changing and growing. I will be less classroom-based next year so that I can spend more time managing and developing the team, as well as having non-contact for my other responsibilities.
HLTA Josie Wilkinson recently celebrated her school's success at the SGO National Summit Awards 2014 in the category of 'Outstanding Change4Life Sports Club delivery.' Josie gained HLTA status with Best Practice Network and the HLTA National Assessment Partnership in 2014, with PE as her area of expertise.
Since receiving the award Josie has been asked to be a Change 4 Life Coach and a Healthy Life Monitor for the other schools within the Kingsbury Partnership and her training will start soon! So, well done and Good Luck to Josie and Featherstone Primary School, Erdington, Birmingham.
To find out more about Josie and the Change4Life Sports Club delivery initiative, please view our news item about her.
How to apply
When submitting their application, applicants must upload a signed Headteacher Declaration form in which they agree to support you through the programme and confirm that the school will finance the cost of the course. It will save time if applicants obtain this prior to starting the online registration process.