College and City Council Team Up to Support Classroom Assistants

Brian and Karen at Glasgow Kelvin’s East End campus.

Glasgow Kelvin College and Glasgow City Council have formed a partnership to help create and upskill the city’s Support for Learning workers, formerly known as Classroom Assistants.

The Council is investing in their workforce to ensure that they have the qualifications and skills which will help people to develop and progress, ensuring the city’s school pupils have the best support available.

The College and Council already partner well in several areas to support vulnerable young people and Glasgow Kelvin was the obvious choice when it came to joint delivery of the Professional Development Award (PDA) Education Support Assistance Level 6.

The programme is delivered over 1 year, with a full-time option for those students keen to become Support for Learning workers.  Successful completion of the programme will guarantee them a job interview where the council can consider them for a posting.

Role Reversal: Support for Learning workers become the students.

There is also a part-time evening class option for those already in post in the City’s primary and secondary schools, delivering a high-quality service to vulnerable young people in Glasgow schools.  These students are now 10 weeks into their programme and, though it’s hard work, they’re enjoying the experience.

Karen West who works at Cartvale Secondary School in Govan which provides for children with additional support needs, is happy that she can now formalise the skills which she uses in her day to day job and gain a qualification.  She says;

“I work with S1-S5 pupils and very much in conjunction with Social Work and it’s good to come here and meet with other Classroom Assistants from across the primary and secondary sector.  It gives you a different perspective and we find that we are now sharing good practice.

My daughter is studying psychology at university and we often find that we are studying the same topic, like Piaget for instance.  I really enjoy that.”

Karen also does sessional work with a project which provides supported living for care-experienced young people and the skills she is picking up are invaluable.  She hopes to progress to a HNC in Child Development in the future.

Brian Kennedy is also a full-time Classroom Assistant and works at Howford Primary School in Crookston.  He has already completed the level 5 PDA and is keen to develop his career in Child Development.  Both he and Karen agree that the PDA is a great opportunity.  He says;

“It is excellent that the council is funding this programme to develop their workforce.  I should add that we are also supported strongly by our individual schools who give us a lot of encouragement.  The programme is tiring but worth it and I’m heartened to see other men on the course as numbers have been reducing over time.  We do need more men working in the sector.

My job has improved my understanding of children with additional needs such as Asperger’s and ADHD and I’ve found the work has really changed my outlook on life and how children develop.”

Principal of Glasgow Kelvin College, Alan Sherry, says;

“We are delighted to be involved with Glasgow City Council on this programme.  If we are to ensure that all children and young people have equal access to learning opportunities then the essential role played by Support for Learning workers cannot be underestimated.

Developing the skills and talents of our communities and the workforce in schools is central to the delivery of high quality learning and we are delighted to play a part in making this happen.”

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years said:

“We are committed to offering our workforce additional training opportunities that will help them in their daily job.  By investing in staff development we are also investing in our children’s future.  I’m delighted that we are again joining forces with Glasgow Kelvin College to deliver this training.”