Gerschel, L (2005): The special educational needs coordinator's role in managing teaching assistants

Gerschel, L (2005): The special educational needs coordinator's role in managing teaching assistants: the Greenwich perspective. In Support For Learning. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Volume 20 Issue 2. pp69- 76

Some very interesting points presented in this anecdotal article about managing Teaching Assistants.  The writer coins the term Velcro support to describe the model of assigning a Teaching Assistant to one student for the entirety of the time in which they are at the school.  The issues that arise from this are valid ones especially when considered in light of inclusion. It was also pointed out that you need to develop a happy medium. It is not ideal to have an assistant with a student all the time but taking too much of a step backwards or no one person responsible for the student can lead to a break down in support.

In this article Liz Gerschel explores some aspects of the role of the special educational needs coordinator ( SENCO ) in the management of teaching assistants (TAs) in mainstream schools, drawing on t he experience of professionals working in the London Borough of Greenwich. The
SENCO’ s responsibilities for managing TA s are discussed and issues of recruitment, appointment, job descriptions, deployment , the roles and responsibilities of TA s and their managers, collaboration between TA s and teachers , TA induction and training, and monitoring the work of TAs are explored.

Link to purchase article -

In this article, to avoid confusion, the term TA has been used throughout, although it is recognised that the term learning support assistant (LSA) is still frequently used.

Sometimes you go into a class where there is an obvious need but no additional support in there. And you can g o into a classroom next door and the adults are tripping over each other, be cause they have been put into that class by different senior managers who have not coordinated their approach.

… some kind of understanding of what working with young people will involve . We make it clear that it is a very active, hands-on job. We also stress that the job does not mean sitting beside one student in a class for 5 minutes. We warn the prospective TAs that the student may well resent having help and try to discern their capability to deal with surliness , cheek , or lack of student motivation.

 TAs have to know:
• what planning, recording, feed back ,meetings ,information sharing, liaison with parents and other professionals, training opportunities and performance management will be in place
• how, when and by whom these will be undertaken
• what to expect from each other in the classroom and in support.