primary & secondary education

2nd Annual Teaching Assistants Forum

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:20

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Hallam Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum provides attendees with an opportunity to discuss how to raise the quality of  teaching assistants (TAs) throughout schools in order to maximise their impact. Following the roll out and implementation of the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants’ guidance, participants will explore research-informed interventions developed by the Education Endowment Foundation, and the latest evidence around effective deployment of TAs. Attendees will develop and understanding of how to increase development opportunities for TAs to improve the level of support provided to pupils and raise attainment.



This Forum will bring together sector leaders from across the Education Sector. Typical titles will include:

  • Headteachers
  • Deputy and Assistant Headteachers
  • Directors of Education
  • Teaching and Learning Advisers
  • Heads of School Improvement
  • Heads of Learning Support
  • Heads of Inclusion
  • SENCOs
  • Classroom Teachers
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistants
  • Teaching Assistants

This Forum is also open to Further Education and Local Authorities to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Rob Webster, Director, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) Project and Researcher, UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Jonathan Sharples, Senior Researcher, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Co-Author, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Vijita Patel, Principal and National Leader of Education (NLE), Swiss Cottage School and Development and Research Centre (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants – Sharing Updates on Guidance Implementation

  • Outlining the need for evidence-informed guidance for TAs
  • Understanding the research underpinning seven key recommendations for the effective deployment of TAs and use of TA-led interventions, in and out of the classroom
  • Summarising the lessons learnt from implementing the EEF’s Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants guidance in over 1,000 schools nationally
  • Applying those lessons to strengthen the deployment and practice of TAs in your school

Rob Webster, Director, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) Project and Researcher, UCL Institute of Education (CONFIRMED)

Dr Jonathan Sharples, Senior Researcher, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Co-Author, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Implementing Interventions for Better Deployment of Teaching Assistants - A Local Authority Approach

  • Establishing the Lincolnshire Learning Partnership (LLP) to drive school-led improvements to local education, including enhancing the deployment of TAs across the county
  • Working with the EEF to become a “Partner Authority”, rolling out evidence-based interventions for TAs in every school to improve the quality of support provided for pupils
  • Understanding the financial and personnel challenges and implications of delivering wide-scale change and improvements to TAs
  • Allocating TAs time to engage with research, and allocating funding for recruitment of TA cluster leads
  • Sharing lessons for successful scale-up of programmes
  • How the partnership structure facilitates peer-to-peer and school-to-school learning to enhance the deployment of TAs

Heather Sandy, Chief Commissioning Officer for Learning, Lincolnshire County Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing Effective Leadership and Development for Teaching Assistants

  • Summarising the benefits of having a designated leader to facilitate training and monitor practice TAs and HLTAs within a school
  • Outlining the CPD process for TAs to progress to HLTAs
  • Discussing the development and training needs of TAs, to enhance deployment
  • Exploring how to improve the offer of and to HLTAs though CPD targeted to the needs of them and the school
  • Understanding where TA apprenticeships fit into the progression process

Dean Boyce, Board Member, HLTA National Assessment Partnership (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Case Study: Utilising Teaching Assistants to Develop an Outstanding Teaching Offer

  • Discussing the role of TAs in Swiss Cottage being awarded an Ofsted Outstanding rating on six consecutive inspections including by offering individual and targeted support for teaching and learning as well as behaviour management
  • Outlining the key themes of the Professional Standards for TAs, including personal and professional conduct, knowledge and understanding, teaching and learning, and working with others
  • Understanding how the Swiss Cottage SLT has instilled these professional standards across the school to ensure consistency and quality with all extra support being offered to pupils, commended by Ofsted
  • Evaluating improvements to CPD opportunities for TAs and HLTAs, embedding this continued learning into wider school enhancements

Vijita Patel, Principal and National Leader of Education (NLE), Swiss Cottage School and Development and Research Centre (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Outlining Clear Classroom Roles for Teaching Assistants to Improve Pupil Outcomes

  • Managing liaison time between teachers and TAs to facilitate better cooperation and planning for support to be provided for pupils
  • Collaborative working: Exploring the different roles TAs and teachers might take in the classroom
  • Understanding the role of TAs in providing effective support for pupil well being, and exploring the impact this can have on pupil attainment

Carol Frankl, Chair of Trustees, The Southover Partnership (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Workshop Session: Effectively Utilising Evidence-Informed Practice to Enhance the Development of Teaching Assistants

  • Outlining the process of gathering all EEF material available and prioritising the evidence and resources most relevant to changes needed in the school
  • Conducting regular training and information-sharing sessions for TAs, ensuring they have access to the latest research and resources and empowering them to develop in their role
  • Developing school-specific materials for TAs after a period of adaptation of EEF guidance
  • Ensuring TAs have the support required to fulfil the SEND Local Offer

Ruchi Sabharwal, Deputy Headteacher, Weatheralls Primary School and Director of Teaching and Learning, Staploe Education Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

Despite budgets coming under increasing strain, schools are spending around £4 billion per year on Teaching Assistants (TAs). It is vital therefore that these paraprofessionals have the skills and guidance necessary to effectively support pupils with a range of learning requirements, as well as be given frequent opportunities for their own development and growth.

Facilitating efforts to improve the deployment of TAs, in 2015 the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, outlining seven research-based recommendations to enhance TAs’ effectiveness. These have been used to inform the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) Project, running in over 100 schools until July 2019. The EEF is also supporting pilots in Yorkshire, where £5 million is being invested into utilising TAs to close attainment gaps between rich and poor pupils, and in Lincolnshire where strategies to improve standards of TAs in schools are being led by the local authority.

In addition, the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants, published in June 2016 by a coalition of sector leaders including NAHT, Unison and the MITA Project, are now acting as a clear source of guidance for senior leadership teams, teachers and TAs around what is expected from all stakeholders. To maximise the benefits of these Standards however, peer-to-peer learning and sharing of best practice is essential to ensure that the move to enhance inputs for and outcomes from TAs continues to be evidence-based.

It is therefore imperative for school leaders and teaching and learning support practitioners to join together and develop high quality, coordinated strategies to increase TAs’ capacity to have a greater impact on pupils’ education experience.

Rob Webster, Director, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) Project and Researcher, UCL Institute of Education

Rob Webster is an Associate Professor within the Centre for Inclusive Education, UCL Institute of Education, where he leads the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) school improvement and CPD programme. He has directed large-scale studies of the educational experiences of pupils with SEND, and written extensively on how schools can make better use of teaching assistants. Rob is currently leading a trial, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, to test the MITA initiative.



Dr Jonathan Sharples, Senior Researcher, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Co-Author, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants

Jonathan is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Education Endowment Foundation, seconded from UCL Institute of Education. He works with schools and policy makers in the UK, and internationally, to promote evidence-informed practice and spread knowledge of ‘what works’ in teaching and learning. He is an author of the EEF’s guidance report on Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants and has helped over 1000 schools put this evidence into action.



You May Also Like