A vital element of the Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools qualification is a work placement. This allows learners to not only gain credits for their course but, more valuable, to achieve a practical understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a teaching assistant in the workplace.
Recently, Teaching Assistants had a lesson on inclusion in the classroom. The first picture is not inclusive: learners are isolated and there is no wheelchair access. Learners worked together to rearrange the room in order to make it more inclusive. This meant having access to IT facilities, being open for those with physical disabilities and providing space for learners. As you can see, the second photograph shows the ideal inclusive classroom.
Preparing the classroom environment is just one area of responsibility that Teaching Assistants may be given. One learner, Krysten, has been learning how important placement is to her studies:
"I help out downstairs in Oakfield as teaching support for the learners in the gold group. I have also supported white group for one lesson and magenta for two lessons. I think that the children are mostly polite and always say hello or smile when they first see you in the morning. The staff handle children really well. I am learning a lot and people always make sure my day has gone fine. Working in the secondary school means I can see for real what a teaching assistant does every day and how everyone works together".