Partnership projects hones skills of classroom assistants

a classroom assistant listens as her student explains what she is reading on a digital tablet .

A partnership project between the University and Renfrewshire Council has trained classroom assistants on how to better support pupil development.

Following a successful pilot last year, the latest cohort of 33 classroom assistants from 22 primary schools across Renfrewshire have just completed a professional learning programme run by the University.

The comprehensive six-month programme was delivered in schools and aims to produce well-motivated and highly trained classroom assistants who understand the aims of the curriculum, as well as how to promote the development of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in all children.

The programme saw classroom assistants keep diaries to reflect on what they learned, with opportunities to practise each approach in the school setting.

 Renfrewshire  Classroom Assistants resized.

It also covered new techniques on how to use play to support effective learning.

Evelyn Hart, Teaching Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, said:

The University is delighted to have worked with such a committed and knowledgeable group of staff.  Classroom Assistants do crucial work in schools and build trusting relationships with children.
“This helps the wider ethos of the school, as well as children's learning and their health and wellbeing."

Alyson Bright, who works at East Fulton Primary School in Linwood, said: “I’ve been a classroom assistant for 19 years and have always said this is the best job in the world.

“This programme has been great, I’ve enjoyed meeting up with other classroom assistants and hearing their experiences and also building my own confidence and learning new techniques has been really invaluable.”

Jackie Docherty has been a Classroom Assistant at Woodlands Primary School in Linwood for 11 years.

She said: “The biggest part I’ve learned from the programme is about how best to work with the teacher, using the same language with pupils and working together as a team. I just love my job - nurturing young people is very rewarding.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to all the classroom assistants on completing this programme and I am sure they will put their new-found knowledge to great use in the classroom."