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#334 Evidence Based Practice – Suffolk Teaching Assistant (TA) Network

Abi Joachim, Suffolk TA Network Coordinator

What did we do?

The Suffolk TA Network is a project that supports and promotes the work of teaching assistants across the county through a range of training and networking opportunities. The network was created in response to an initial ‘Making Best Use of TAs’ project, which worked with secondary schools to engage with research on the effective deployment and practice of teaching assistants. The network was shaped through views gathered at a series of online launch events and training and events are tailored to the needs of the members.

Thank you, it feels really exciting to be at the beginning of something special.

It has been great to see staff ‘blossom’ in tasks they may have felt were ‘beyond them’ before.

It is easier and so beneficial to receive a newsletter with courses and information.

To have a trainer who has personal experience of this (ASD) and say how it affects him was so much more enlightening.

This TA network has re-ignited my passion for the job. Thank you.

Feedback from teaching assistants with regards to the Suffolk TA Network EBP project.

Summary of impact

The Suffolk TA Network has a thriving membership of over two hundred teaching assistants across the county. Members receive half-termly newsletters, which offer a range of relevant articles, features and training opportunities. Many articles are written by TAs in Suffolk and demonstrate the skills and professionalism of these staff, while sharing best practice across the network. The expertise of TAs is harnessed through TA-led training, where members share their skills and experiences with each other. Information network events attract guest speakers from a range of organisations to offer opportunities and information to the membership. All events have been well-attended and positively received. A working group is currently developing a crucial induction training package for newly appointed teaching assistants, with members of the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) Team joining throughout this project

Steps taken

The Suffolk TA Network began with four online launch events to share the vision for the network with TAs across the county and gather their views on what they wanted from the network. Those who attended the sessions were sent an online membership form to allow them to register with the Suffolk TA Network officially. Liaising with a range of other organisations, this membership form was then distributed more widely. As the membership grew, TAs were asked to contribute articles and book reviews for the newsletter and training and networking opportunities were developed. The membership form questioned TAs about their experiences and training needs and this information has been used to develop a programme of events to meet these needs. The network was also involved in the recruitment and ongoing training of a team of ‘Remote Learning Support Assistants’ to assist with online learning.

What would we do differently

I am not sure that I would change anything but I have definitely learned how skilled and enthusiastic the TAs in Suffolk are. I think I have learned that they are the key to running a successful network and the role of the coordinator is often to simply facilitate the sharing of this outstanding practice.


Funding to release a member of staff to coordinate the project and a budget for admin, marketing and training costs.

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Evidence Based Practice - Sewell Park Academy

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