Your school context will to some extent determine the way in which you use the EEF recommendations. All schools differ. Some may have a large number of pupils for whom English is an additional language. Others may have a high proportion of pupils with low levels of literacy despite English being their native tongue. In these two cases, it might not be appropriate to apply the recommendations in exactly the same way. Thought needs to be given to context. To the unique situation of the school.
Creating a leadership vision for the development and deployment of TAs is thus a twofold task.
First, you need to familiarise yourself with the guidance – something you will do as you go through this course. Then, you need to think about the most pressing needs in your school; the things which define your context and make your school the place it is.
Having done this, you are in a position to start applying the guidance to your context: to start creating a leadership vision which is not a generic, off-the-shelf plan, but a precise, specific strategy closely tied to the needs of your pupils and the environment of your school. This reflects the way in which the recommendations are guidance about best practice, not commandments set in stone.
As we have said, maximising the impact of TAs is a leadership issue. It must be driven by the headteacher and have the support of all members of staff. When creating your leadership vision for TAs, you can begin to make this happen.
This is most obviously the case because it is you who is creating the vision. But, an important second strand comes in here as well. It is vitally important that all staff feel part of the developmental journey you are leading. Especially your teaching assistants. To that end, it is well worth creating a TA development team who can help you to shape the leadership vision for TAs and who will then play a central role in making that vision a reality across the school.
We will look at this in more detail in the next section.