A partnership with experts at the University of Strathclyde could mean classroom assistants across schools in Renfrewshire are better equipped to support pupil development.
Over 3800 pupils are said to have benefited from the PATHS programme, which is in partnership with Barnardos. The programme has seen a significant reduction in antisocial behaviour and improved concentration in classrooms.
The programme’s pilot has been described as a great success, seeing 33 classroom assistants from 22 primary schools complete a professional learning programme run by the university.
The six–month programme covers a wide range of skills to support reading, writing, numeracy and mathematics.
Alyson Bright, who works at East Fulton Primary School, said: “I‘ve been a classroom assistant for 19 years and have always said this is the best job in the world.
“This programme has been great, I’ve enjoyed meeting up with other classroom assistants and hearing their experiences and also building my own confidence and learning new techniques has been really invaluable.”
The programme encourages classroom assistants to keep diaries to reflect on what they have learned, with opportunities to practise each approach in the school setting.
Evelyn Hart, a teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University is delighted to have worked with such a committed and knowledgeable group of staff.
“Classroom Assistants do crucial work in schools and build trusting relationships with children. This helps the wider ethos of the school, as well as children’s learning and their health and wellbeing.”
Last month Renfrewshire became the first local authority that is rated ‘excellent’ for its progress in achieving a significant year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy, with the attainment gap closing across all measures.
PATHs is part of Renfrewshire’s work as a Scottish Attainment Challenge authority – a national imitative to close the attainment gap between those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas.
Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to all the classroom assistants on completing this programme and I am sure they will put their new-found knowledge to great use in the classroom.
“We want to give every child in Renfrewshire the best possible start in life and are very proud of the progress being made in raising attainment and improving learning.”