The starting point for assessing current practice around linking learning in your school are the ‘Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants: A self-assessment guide.’ and the Interventions Health Check, mentioned in the previous unit. Consider how TA-led interventions are being delivered in your school in line with the research.
At this point, it is worth bringing in the idea of pupil voice. As part of your analysis of whether learning is linked effectively between interventions and the classroom, you might decide to conduct a survey of pupils who take part in intervention sessions.
The logic here is clear. These pupils are the ones for whom the linking of learning matters. When we are thinking about it, discussing it, and assessing it, we are really examining the learning experience of these students. Do they understand the connection between what they do in interventions and what they do in lessons? Is it made clear to them? Do they feel as if there is a dialogue, behind the scenes, as it were, between their teacher and the teaching assistants with whom they work?
You can gain access to pupil thoughts and feelings in a number of ways:
- By creating online surveys, such as through SurveyMonkey
- Through paper-based questionnaires
- By interviewing pupils one-to-one or in small groups
- Through feedback cards that pupils fill in and post into a ‘feedback box’ strategically placed in the school (such as in reception)
- As part of lesson observations, during which you talk to pupils identified in advance about their experience of interventions
While this requires a little bit of planning and organisation, it presents you with a baseline of pupil thinking which you can compare against further down the line. It also represents an interesting parallel to staff feeling and experience. For example, do pupils perceive the role of teaching assistants in the same way that teaching assistants perceive themselves?