Teaching Assistant Apprentice
Hannah George and George Watkin
Hannah George and George Watkins have completed a Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship at Cherry Orchard School.
Why did you choose a teaching assistant apprenticeship?
Hannah is currently captain of the West Bromwich Albion Women’s Football Team. Before starting the course, Hannah worked in a pub but fancied a change of career. "I always knew I wanted to work with children”.
George left high school with a view of working with children and looked at lots of different options. He had previously worked as a football and cricket coach so had experience working with children and wanted to work in education.
What does the teaching assistant apprenticeship involve?
The Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship is an 18-month course providing on-the-job training, working with children in a school.
Hannah and George completed a series of modules on real work competencies and an end-point assessment consisting of an observation and a professional 90-minute discussion.
Both apprentices began the course by supporting the class teacher, gaining general classroom experience. Hannah worked with year 5 children before working with a year 4 child with Autism.
George worked with year 3 children before working more closely with one child with special needs.
As the course incorporates an added multi-sports specialism, both apprentices have been helping out with the school’s extra-curricular clubs, wrap and holiday clubs.
What have you learnt from the teaching assistant apprenticeship?
Both apprentices have gained good experience and knowledge of how to support the class teacher and enhance children’s learning.
Hannah found that the 1:1 work with children with special needs has helped her to understand how different children work and how they like to learn. This knowledge is invaluable to working with all children and dealing with different situations.“ The course has taught me how to be flexible and adaptable”.
The course has helped both apprentices with communication skills. George has learnt how best to engage and communicate with children using speech, body language and model behaviour.
What has been the highlight of the teaching assistant apprenticeship?
Both apprentices agree that the 1: 1 work with children can be intense and difficult at times but it is so rewarding seeing them progress.
George’s highlight has been seeing children who were struggling, now enjoying their work and being happy in class. "It’s really rewarding to know you are making a difference. I’ve worked with children on a 1 to 1 who are now working back in the classroom. I’ve loved seeing the children improve, grow and develop.”
Hannah has also enjoyed the various enrichment activities that take place in school, especially World Book Day “I love getting involved”.
How have you found the apprenticeship?
“Staff have made us feel very welcome. We don’t feel like apprentices we feel like part of a team”. “Everyone has been incredibly supportive”.
What is your next step?
Following completion of the Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship, both apprentices have been offered permanent teaching assistant positions at Cherry Orchard Primary School.
When asked about whether becoming a teacher was a career option, Hannah said she had no plans right now to train to teach, wanting to focus on being a great teaching assistant, whilst pursuing her football career.
George is happy to remain a teaching assistant and also explore coaching extreme sports such as high ropes, rock climbing and mountain biking.
Helena is a Teaching Assistant at North Worcester Primary Academy. Helena has just completed an 18-month Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship.
Why did you apply for an apprenticeship at the school/The Rivers CofE Academy Trust?
I found I wasn't enjoying the sixth-form route I took and was looking for other options. I saw the apprenticeship and thought it would be crazy to not give it a go, especially due to the more practical and hands-on way of learning and it turned out to be the best decision!
What does your apprenticeship involve?
My role involves supporting the teacher and children in the Reception classroom, leading activities or focus work such as having a 1:1 or group interventions such as phonics and speech and language. I am always encouraging development, alongside the other staff, in order for the children to thrive in all areas.
What skills have you learnt during your apprenticeship?
During my apprenticeship, I have learnt and enhanced a variety of skills, such as behaviour management, delivery of activities and lessons, communication, being nurturing and supportive and gaining an understanding of the curriculum and expectations of development for different ages.
What has been the highlight of your apprenticeship?
For me, one of the highlights is definitely walking through the school or at lunchtime when all of the children say hello or (when children from older years) come over and speak to you and I remember having them in class when they were in Reception and seeing how far they've come already and the great bond you have with them.
How likely are you to recommend doing an apprenticeship at The Rivers CofE Academy Trust?