Braywood: a small primary on the trail of lost time

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
The following is an abridged version of the remodelling team's advice to Braywood first school in Maidenhead, Berkshire: Braywood is a small 86-pupil school that employs several teaching assistants. Most of their time is taken up with individual children who have statements of special educational needs. This is a strain on the budget and has greatly reduced flexibility.

The main challenge facing head Christina Hibbins was that the school's part-time teachers had no desire to reduce contact time with pupils. They were happy to do planning at home and could see no reason for losing teaching hours.

One strategy quickly agreed (the school had already considered it) was to release teachers while their classes are taught music once a week. The most straightforward additional strategy suggested was to extend the hours of the school's part-time staff by 10 per cent.

A different strategy was needed for the full-time teacher. She works with ReceptionYear 1 pupils and is supported by teaching assistants. Her pupils are used to group work with TAs, so the head is happy to provide her PPA time by using newly-trained higher-level teaching assistants to supervise her class.

If more TAs are trained to HLTA level and their role is less confined to working with individual pupils, the school should be able to sustain the strategy for some time to come.

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