Teaching Assistants work in Primary, Special and Secondary education across all age ranges, encompassing special educational needs and emotional vulnerabilities. They are vital assets to have in a classroom to make sure classes function for all.
The primary role of the Teaching Assistant is to support the class teacher to enhance the pupil’s learning either in groups or individually, ensuring they understand the work set, know their learning objectives and stay on task in order to make progress. Teaching Assistants are good role models, act with honesty and integrity and contribute to planning and class activities.
A Teaching Assistant’s apprenticeship will include attaining vital knowledge, skills and behaviours to excel in their job role, including understanding how pupils learn and develop, IT skills, knowing a curriculum and how to deliver it, developing strategies for learning and support, assessment skills, knowing how to promote professional standards, and being able to maintain professional relationships across the organisation.
Once the apprentice has completed their training, they will move on to the final test: the End-Point Assessment.
The End-Point Assessment for Teaching Assistant apprentices is comprised of the following assessment activities:
- Practical Observation with Question and Answers
- Professional Discussion supported by Portfolio of Evidence
Practical Observation with Question and Answers
The Practical Observation will take place in the apprentice’s workplace by the End-Point Assessor. The Observation will last approximately 2 hours and the Question and Answer session will last for approximately 15 minutes after the end of the observation. All details of the event (venue, date, time) will be planned by the End-Point assessor, the Apprentice and the Employer at the End-Point Assessment planning meeting.
The Observation should:
- Reflect typical working conditions
- Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being assessed
- Take a synoptic approach to assessing the knowledge, skills and behaviours as defined by this method
- Be carried out on a one-to-one basis. It is mandatory that only one apprentice is observed at a time and without support or input from trainers
During the Observation, the apprentice will demonstrate the ability to, among other things:
- Deliver/lead small group teaching within clearly defined/planned parameters using initiative, sensitivity and understanding
- Implement current statutory guidance including ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ Part 1, safeguarding policies, Prevent Strategy
- Use specific feedback to help pupils make progress
- Use relevant technology competently and effectively to improve learning
- Recognise the difference between pastoral and academic issues and model good behaviour for learning
- Contribute to a range of assessment processes and use information effectively – for example, written records
- Work closely with teachers to ensure own contribution aligns with the teaching
Once the Observation is complete, the End-Point Assessor will conduct a Question and Answer session with the apprentice, which will last for 15 minutes. This session will allow the End-Point Assessor to further question and apprentice an area that they have partially demonstrated during the Observation in order to provide additional assurance.
Questions that the End-Point Assessor will ask the Apprentice during the Questions and Answer session will be written by the End-Point Assessment Organisation.
Professional Discussion Supported by Portfolio of Evidence
The Professional discussion will last for approximately 90 minutes and will be a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor following the Practical Observation, to establish the apprentice’s understanding and application of the knowledge, skills and behaviours. The discussion will be planned in advance with the Apprentice and the Employer and will need to take place in a quiet room away from distractions.
The Portfolio of Evidence will allow the End-Point Assessor to lead the discussion, asking the apprentice questions drawn from a template set by the End-Point Assessment Organisation. The Portfolio can then be used by the apprentice to evidence and support their responses to those questions.
The purpose of the Professional Discussion is to:
- Make judgements about the quality of work
- Explore aspects of the work, including how it was carried out, in more detail
- Discuss how the apprentice would behave in specific situations with the assessor asking scenario based questions. EPAOs must develop question ‘test banks’ of sufficient size to prevent predictability and review them regularly to ensure they, and the questions they contain, are fit for purpose
- Ensure there are no gaps within the evidence particularly in relation to Safeguarding and Health & Safety
- Provide a basis for the independent assessor to make a decision about the grade to be awarded for this assessment method only
The Portfolio is completed during the Apprentice’s on-programme learning and is meant to support the Professional Discussion. It will contain a minimum of 10 pieces of evidence and a maximum of 15 which may comprise the following:
- Feedback from Performance Management review system
- Evidence of pupil progression
- Work produced by the Teaching Assistant eg: interventions
- Evidence from practical observations and general observations obtained over time
- Observations carried out by competent Teaching Assistants and HLTAs, Line Managers, Class Teachers and Mentors
- Assessor Reviews
- Naturally occurring pieces of evidence. Eg: feedback from visitors/parents
- Details of any training and courses attended
- Notes from professional discussions
Grading for Teaching Assistant Apprenticeships
Final grading for this apprenticeship will be awarded based on the table below:
|Practical Observation with Q&As||Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence||EPA Grade|
We hope this blog gave you a better picture of what’s involved in your Teaching Assistant’s End-Point Assessment. To keep up to date with all the latest EPA news from TQUK, return to our blog or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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