Mentoring for TAs and LSAs
EASA supports staff in educational settings to embed the Eight Principles of Good Autism Practice (Autism Education Trust). Our mentoring programme for TAs and LSAs is part of this work. It particularly focusses on Principles One and Four, helping staff to understand the strengths, interests and needs of each autistic child and to develop their own skills as practitioners in the autism education workforce.
Aims of the Mentoring Programme
The EASA TA and LSA Mentoring Programme aims to
- help TAs and LSAs understand how autism can affect the engagement and learning of pupils/students
- model appropriate strategies that the TA/LSA can practise and adapt with their pupils/students
- demonstrate how to make and use resources that will support good routines, engagement and learning
- support TAs and LSAs to meet the AET Competencies
- give TAs and LSAs skills that they can share with other colleagues
This is done by an experienced Advisory TA coming into your setting to work alongside chosen staff for an agreed number of sessions (usually 4 – 6 half days over one half-term).
A typical programme would be:
Week 1: Observation visit. The Advisory TA will get to know the mentee(s) and pupil/student(s) they work with and watch a typical morning in class. They will offer any immediate suggestions that may help and may provide some sample resources.
Week 2: Modelling. The Advisory TA will arrive with tailored ideas and suggestions which they will demonstrate using with the pupil and discuss with the mentee(s).
Weeks 3 and 4: Practise and Development. The mentees will have opportunities to try out ideas they have seen with the guidance and advice of the Advisory TA. They will be introduced to the AET Competency Framework if they have not already seen it, and shown how to record their own skills and progress as autism practitioners.
Week 5: Summary and Reflection. The Advisory TA will highlight the good practice they have seen and answer any questions the staff have. They will complete a summary report to be shared with the mentee(s), teacher(s) and SENCo or senior leader.
3 months later: Follow-up Visit to check how things are going and evaluate the longer term impact.
Dates will be planned in advance before the programme commences.
Enabling Success and Lasting Impact
For the Mentoring Programme to be successful and have greatest impact for staff and pupils/students in your setting, school leaders and teachers should also consider their responsibilities in relation to the Good Autism Practice Principles. For example,
School leaders and managers should think about Principle Five. This will include consideration of the following:
- how you will facilitate the mentoring, including providing time for the Advisory TA mentors and mentees to meet for short periods away from the pupils/students
- how you will provide the time and materials for your staff to make recommended resources to facilitate the engagement and learning of pupils/students
- how you will support your staff to continue their professional development and share their skills with other colleagues after the mentoring has taken place
Class teachers should be clear about their responsibilities, particularly in relation to Principles Seven and Eight. This includes:
- providing lesson planning for TAs and LSAs to follow which enables autistic pupils/students to learn about the same topics as their peers, with work tasks differentiated to suit individual learning needs
- suggesting ways to adapt tasks if the pupils/students are finding them too hard or easy
- getting feedback from TAs and LSAs about how the pupils/students are responding to learning opportunities and the progress they are making
- assessing the pupils/students using suitable assessment methods that take autism into account and reflect progress in areas of individual strengths and difficulties. EASA recommends using the AET Progression Framework alongside the school’s usual academic assessments.
Expectations of EASA Advisory Teachers/EPs
- To use the AET Standards auditing process to identify schools/settings where the TA/LSA Mentoring will be of benefit and to discuss this recommendation with the SENCo or member of the school leadership team.
- Inform the EASA team of a school’s readiness and interest in the TA/LSA Mentoring Programme
- Provide information about the school/setting to the EASA Advisory TA(s) to enable an appropriate support programme to be planned
- Provide supervision and support to the EASA Advisory TAs where necessary e.g. to problem-solve strategies to be used with mentees or children/young people
Expectations of EASA Advisory TAs
- To be professional in all work with schools/settings, including, addressing staff appropriately; adhering to the setting’s dress code; being punctual and honouring time commitments; notifying the setting promptly if any changes to plans need to be made
- To keep confidentiality regarding details about staff and children/young people within a setting; only sharing details of work and observations with those who need to know and with the permission of those concerned.
- To follow the safeguarding procedures of the setting and EASA
- To follow the health and safety rules and regulations in settings, including Covid safety requirements
Expectations of Staff in Schools/Settings
- To act with professionalism and respect, including notifying EASA promptly if planes need to be changed (e.g. a mentee being absent)
- To provide a safe working environment
- To commit to the programme with understanding of the expectations of leaders, teachers and support staff in relation to the principles of Good Autism Practice (set out above)
- To make all reasonable efforts to follow advice and recommendations including resource-making and trying strategies
- To be open and honest with EASA staff about challenges and be willing to work collaboratively to solve problems
If you are interested in TA Mentoring, please submit the following form
Please complete the TA/LSA mentoring competency audit with each staff member and return to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The booking process will commence once a completed form has been received for each member of staff that requires mentoring.