From education to employment

Recommendations to maximise impact of Learning Support Assistants

New guidance on the role of Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) in the Further Education and Training sector has been published by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) today (7 June 2019).

It was developed in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the financial support of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and builds on the EEF’s Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants guidance, which focused on school-based education.

The guidance, which is aimed at leaders and managers, makes five key recommendations designed to maximise the impact of LSAs and help improve learning outcomes:

  1. Ensure an organisation-wide approach to the role, purpose and contribution of LSAs to best meet the diverse needs of your learners, setting and context.
  2. Ensure Learning Support Assistants are deployed in ways that complement the teaching practitioner, rather than replacing them.
  3. Ensure Learning Support Assistants are given training and support for their specific role, to work effectively with learners.
  4. Ensure Learning Support Assistants are empowered to enable learners to develop the skills to manage their own learning.
  5. Ensure teaching practitioners are trained and supported to work in partnership with Learning Support Assistants to enable all learners to progress.

Each recommendation is backed by a discussion of the available evidence, factors to consider when implementing it, and points for managers and leaders to consider. It can be accessed free of charge on the ETF’s Excellence Gateway site.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the EEF, said:

“This report provides practical, evidence-based guidance to support further education institutions in maximising the impact of Learning Support Assistants. It will, I hope, support an evidence-informed approach to the use of LSAs in further education which will create great opportunities for all young people, regardless of their family background.”

Paul Kessell-Holland, ETF Director of Insights, said:

“In structured settings and when well-trained and supported, LSAs can have a noticeable impact on attainment, empowering students and enhancing learning. It is important, though, that the role is properly understood and used effectively. This guidance is designed to support leaders and managers as they seek to ensure they are making the best possible use of LSAs.”

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