Call for teaching assistants to support classrooms

A NEW initiative aimed at inspiring people to ‘support their classroom’ as a teaching assistant is being launched next week, with Portsmouth City Council organising a special event at the  Central Library on Tuesday, July 5, from 10am until 12pm.

It will introduce a group of learning support assistants, a head teacher and training provider encouraging participants to work in a Portsmouth school as a teaching assistant.

The council’s Teach Portsmouth team, who work to recruit and retain the best teachers and leaders for the city’s schools and academies, have organised two sessions to raise the profile of support staff and the important role they play in helping children and young people in the classroom.

The event is a first step towards encouraging more people to join the profession at a time when many schools are experiencing challenges in recruiting support staff.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said: “Since the pandemic, it has become clear that schools across the city have struggled to recruit teaching assistants.

“The reasons vary from people retiring from their roles to less people applying… and challenges of the role, giving those in attendance a realistic picture of what to expect when they step into the classroom and to understand the transformational impact they can have on a child’s life.”

Working in a support role provides flexibility enabling people to fit their schedule around family life. Those who step into a support role also have an opportunity to progress into a more specialist or senior position.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children’s services and education at Portsmouth City Council said: “Many people who become a teaching assistant join for different reasons. They may have children attending the school or live close to one. Others will join because they want to progress in education.

“At the centre of these reasons, everyone who applies for this type of role will want to help children and young people become the best versions of themselves. By shining a light on this career, we hope more people will apply and support pupils locally.”

Adult education provider The Learning Place will be on hand to talk about training and apprenticeships for those who require a level 2 qualification in English and maths.

The information event is open to anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a teaching assistant. There is no need to register in advance. There are two sessions. The first session begins at 10am with the second at 11am. People taking part will also have the chance to ask questions during the event.

Readers can visit or search Teach Portsmouth for more information.

PICTURED: Side view of Portsmouth Central Library in city centre, opposite Guildhall and the Civic Offices.