The Ambition

This programme aims to support colleagues currently employed in Support Staff roles in school to make the transition into teaching.

The Objectives

Through this work we hope to:

  • Equip colleagues supporting teaching and learning in schools to better deliver the mission.
  • Develop the professional contribution each and every participant is able to make within their own school or setting.
  • Design a continuous and progressive professional development offer that is sufficiently agile and flexible to meet the wide range of participant needs.
  • Provide a process that will transform the professional culture of support staff.
  • Develop an effective signposting system which promotes stronger recruitment of high quality teachers into the profession through school-led initial Teacher Training routes.
  • Increase opportunities for outstanding school leaders, recognised in their own setting and by the wider system, to play a lead role in the design and delivery of school-led professional development.
  • Ensure support staff CPD opportunities offered through Learners First are located in current school practice, engender effective school-to-school support and lead to tangible school improvement.
  • Provide real and authentic challenges for support staff which inspire and motivate, engage colleagues in school-to school networking and promote leadership skillsets.
  • Recycle and reinvest finances generated through the programmes back into the school system for the benefit of children and young people.

The programme will:

  • Be designed and delivered by a range of Specialist Leaders of Education and serving school leaders from a variety of schools, contexts and phases.
  • Be offered as a cross-phase development opportunity, with phase and/or context specific inputs where appropriate.
  • Make explicit links to routes into teaching and ITT options, including not limited to School Direct.
  • Run over a 6 month period.
  • Support applicants to make the personal and professional transition to teaching but does not guarantee participants a place on an ITT programme. All ITT applications must apply following the national guidance and will be subject to the customary assessment processes. As outlined in the programme application form, if a participant on this programme does successfully gain a place on an ITT programme, the school endorsing their engagement with the Support Staff Development Programme is not obliged to employ the participant as a salaried trainee or host them as an unsalaried trainee.

Programme participants should:

  • Hold the appropriate qualifications required to access ITT including a degree (preferably a 2:1 or above), GCSEs in English and Mathematics (and Science for primary)
  • Have the intention of accessing an ITT route within the next 12-18 months.
  • Ensure they have the support of their employing school prior to application.
  • Attend all sessions of the programme.

Programme Structure

The programme will be delivered through a series of interdependent core sessions themed around the following areas:

  • Professional Culture & Building Professional Relationships with Other Adults, Agencies and Stakeholders
  • Developing a Productive Climate for Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Child Development
  • Progress for All
  • Programme Reflection

Feedback from support staff developing to become teachers

Learners First has been an amazing experience which has allowed me to develop into a teacher. Initially, you feel alone when starting teacher training however Learners First provides you with a place to build relationships with others in a similar situation.  The workshops are exciting and engaging and provide a greater understanding of what is required to be teacher.  Overall, a fantastic experience that I’ll never forget!

The course was extremely informative, it opened my eyes to a lot of different approaches and techniques that I can not only apply to my current role but also take forward into teaching. The course had a good pace and covered a variety of different aspects in great depth.  It was interesting to get the opportunity to visit different learning environments.

Learners First really made me understand what is needed for me to become a teacher.  It gave me the confidence and structure I needed to support my passion.  It also created a great network, with people in the same situation as I am.  I would recommend Learners First to anyone who is thinking about being a teacher.

Learners First has not only given me the tools I need to teach, but have also made me all the more determined to become the best teacher I can be. Sessions on behaviour management, progress and relationships within schools have been invaluable, as has the opportunity to meet other people at the same stage in their careers.

This course has definitely helped to prepare me for my ITT course next year.  Each session has taught me a lot – in particular the visiting speakers have been excellent and been something that I have gone back to school and told everyone about.  The other aspect of the course that I liked was having to actually stop, think and take a look at yourself and reflect.  I now know that I will not survive as teacher without reflection, and this course has been an excellent preparation.

The Learners First Support Staff programme has made me feel more prepared for my ITT year.  It has highlighted areas that need focus on such as time management and techniques for behaviour management.  It was carried out in an engaging way.