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#012 – Rob Webster: Teaching assistants and inclusive education

Rob Webster is a researcher at the UCL Institute of Education, where he leads the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) initiative for the UCL Centre for Inclusive Education. Rob is also Co-Director of the SEN in Secondary Education (SENSE) study. In this episode, Rob talks to Iesha about the role of teaching assistants, how they can be used more effectively, the contribution they make to SEND provision and how they could help solve the teacher recruitment crisis.

In this episode Iesha and Rob discuss:
• SEN or SEND?
• How Rob’s frontline work as a teaching assistant led to him conducting research into the role of TAs
• How TAs might be the solution to the teacher workforce crisis
• The central role that TAs play in SEND provision
• Segregation and streaming of SEND pupils
• ‘Ability’ vs. ‘prior attainment’
• Whether it’s right that SEND pupils spend more time with TAs than their peers
• Why pupils don’t benefit from spending lots of unstructured time with TAs, but…
• …how TAs have a consistently positive impact when they’re delivering targeted interventions
• Given negative evidence, why schools have been happier to scrap TAs than scrap ability grouping
• What schools can do to make better use of TAs
• What we mean by ‘inclusion’
• Shed Seven

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Poverty and Special Needs: A quarter of FSM pupils have SEND

At LKMco we are deeply concerned by the profound links between children having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and growing up in poverty; as well as the additional barriers these children face in accessing the support they need. Urgent action is needed to remove those barriers. The government has had some success in encouraging schools across …

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Joining the Dots: sharing SEND best practice

We’ve spent a lot of time of time at LKMco recently reading, talking, thinking and writing about how the education system works for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their parents. You can read “Joining the Dots” a report we’ve written for the Driver Youth Trust about recent policy changes in England …

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