When the position of 'non professional helper' in the classroom was first introduced into schools many years ago, the classroom assistant's role was often confined to the infant part of the school. There they acted as surrogate mothers-helping the very young pupils to get through the daily routine, or they moved between the classrooms assisting with the more practical subjects like art, sewing and woodwork- what we now call design technology-cookery or accompanying 'nature' walks. They cleared up after painting and gluing, tidied the classrooms and general areas, found coats, PE kit and lost property and assisted the teacher to set up activities and then to put them away.
Over the years the role has evolved and the involvement with the pupils has increased. As the title has changed through Auxiliary Welfare Assistant, Learning Support Assistant and now Teaching Assistant so the position has altered from that of a general helper to a more specific role supporting individual pupils, small groups and in some cases delivering parts of the curriculum to whole classes, using their individual interests and expertise to further the pupils knowledge of the subject.
The TA's support all the pupils in the school especially those with specific academic requirements, delivering programs of learning to assist pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers and any other specific requirement that needs additional support to allow the pupil to succeed. In order to do this they are constantly increasing and up dating their practise by attending courses and lectures and pursuing qualifications such as the NVQ for Teaching and Classroom Assistants. This ensures that their response to the needs of the pupils is as professional as possible and their role supports and enhances that of the teaching staff allowing St Andrew's to provide a more inclusive and caring environment for its pupils.