Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

research to back up what is (to us) common sense

(15 Posts)
signandsingcarols Sat 27-Feb-16 18:50:49

Hi just nipped out of the goose and carrot, (where I seem to spend all my time blush) I am looking for some research into the effectiveness of support given to children in MS...

it is now a moot point to me as we gave up and now HE, but a friend who is connected with ds's old school has come to me to talk about the provision school is making for another (un-nammed) child, school are still spouting the old '1-1 makes children dependent, therefore all TAs must be moved around (for the convenience of the school not the needs of the child).
Looking back I 'know' that changing his TA every year, (loosing any training/knowledge/understanding gained during the year) meaning that he got an un trained inexperienced worker, who, just at the point they 'got' him and some idea of how to work with a child with ASD in general was moved back to class TA again.
Does anyone know of any research or background work which she could use to try and get school to recognise this, (I know just asking the school for the evidence base for moving the TAs or for their assertion would also be 'informative' wink, but I think they will just 'stonewall' her.

zzzzz Sat 27-Feb-16 19:11:41

I don't have any research but ds had the same TA year on year and I think it was a very bad idea (sorry, I know unhelpful but I couldn't read and not say). The model he has now is BRILLIANT (basically a job share)). So he started 2.5 days with each but now has the latter part of the week with 1 (fantastic) TA and mornings mon to wed with another, afternoons mon and ties with a third. The change helps him but the routine too. They all bring different experience so he gets a lot of good.

PolterGoose Sat 27-Feb-16 19:15:30

Guardian article here has some links to research about efficacy of TAs for SEN support generally.

To an extent it depends what the TA is for, if it's supporting the curriculum then a new TA each year who's experienced at that year/key stage is probably beneficial, but for more social and emotional support I can see that consistency would be better.

This is why I'm finding secondary TA/LSA support so much more effective and efficient. The education needs are separated in a way from social and emotional, so ds has mostly one TA doing in-lesson background support and he has another who is his 'mentor' and then others run specific interventions, but because the SEN team are a proper team they all know him and his needs. At primary I found that TAs were often kept out of the loop, didn't attend inset day training, were very much at the beck and call of teachers rather than answerable to the Senco.

zzzzz Sat 27-Feb-16 19:41:21

The TA makes all the difference.

pandyandy2 Sat 27-Feb-16 19:52:01


I do have a child with SEN but have ironically also worked as a TA for 10 years and have been a 1-1 support for several individual children across that time period.

I personally feel that the best outcomes for the child, (if supported full time,) come from job shares. Ie one TA morning, one TA afternoon or one TA 2.5, the other 2.5.

I feel if one TA is with the child all the time, dependency can occur and other staff don't get to know the child very well, yet if two TA's are involved, information is pretty easy to share and the child is exposed to different personalities.

I do though agree that changing of TA's each year isn't ideal as it takes a long time to get to know a child and all their individual targets, strengths and weakness well and even if the same strategies are being used, each TA will inevitably implement slightly differently. To me a change evey few years ie key stage 1 to key stage 2 is more ideal (however I also know that this doesn't take into account illness, maternity leaves etc.)

So in an ideal world job share on a key stage 1 then key stage 2 basis.

Please remember complete personal opinion but I hope that helps xxx

Coffeemachine Sat 27-Feb-16 21:52:52

I think it all very much depends on the TA. We had a few over the years and the inconsistency we had in terms of quality of support is terrifying.

zzzzz Sun 28-Feb-16 09:49:08

coffee actually makes the point very well. ds1s TA he had for 3 years was fantastic for the first two (but he was only there for part of the week, and I think early years was easier for him/them anyway), but as he spent more time in school the week was just too long 1:1 for him.

He does require quite hands on support though and PDA while not really his vibe is very much how he presents when bored/stressed and as he is a creature of habit he is likely to build more and more negative parts of the day into his timetable unless there is "change".

I guess what I am saying is that if I was pushing for best support for mine it would take the form of, 2 TAs job sharing in two chunks of the week, and if possible that I was part of the interviewing stage of hiring them. This is crucial IMO to the relationship between TA/school/parent (and was suggested by our VERY sensible HT not me).

What COULD be improved in our school is that they do substitute TAs to cover sickness/absence and not tell me which can make things more tricky. At the moment some of the TAs are more in tune with ds than others but I don't have any that are actively abrasive (and we have shock before), so we are very happy.

When dd1 was little we had a very wise and loving nursery teacher. Dd was struggling with reading at school but reading easily at home. I went in and explained that the lady she did reading with at nursery, while lovely, was obviously not getting the real dd, (I wanted them to swap to the teacher she found easier to talk to for reading). She said something which has stayed with me. She said that dd needed to learn how to read and interact with all sorts of people and that while it was hard for her that didn't mean she should avoid it or that they should just steam roller on. She said that what dd needed most was to succeed with this teacher and that that rather than reading better was the important target. She was right.

What our children need is resilience. They need to trust adults to help them. They need to know that THEY are the ones succeeding, and for children that need 1:1 support succeeding with more than one TA is I think the best we can do for them. So while I DON'T agree with the schools rather clunky clumsy rationale that "using one TA breeds dependence", I do think more than one is preferable.

Youarentkiddingme Sun 28-Feb-16 10:21:35

Someone very wise said to me recently that all the training and experience in the world doesn't matter if the person started with bad practice and continues that way.

So the difficulty with one continuous TA is that they may never change what they do and the child may always be with someone who doesn't get the best from them.

By having a bank of staff (as zzzzz said) the child begins to trust other adults and do things for a self sense of acheivement rather than for reward from that adult.

Communication between the staff is often the factor that determines whether the support is a success or not. Sharing practice is very well known to produce best possible outcomes. Especially as what works for one child doesn't work for the next.

Any TA who will learn with the child and learn about the child will be worth their weight in gold.

I agree though the the set up needs to be a routine if the child needs to know who will work with them when for anxiety reasons.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 28-Feb-16 14:23:36

Personally I thinknit depends entirely on the child!

One yr I worked alongside another 1:1 and between us we supported 3 children (they were part time). All of the children were pre verbal although one communicated via symbols!

One of the children was unphased by the swapping of support between the 2 of us but the other 2 much less so! On communicated by facial expression and one of us was much better at reading him he also played one of us up terribly at meal times!
The other little one was better for the other 1:1 much more responsive and able to access more of the curriculum when supported by that person!

We were very lucky to be in a position where we could work in a flexible way and I dont think any of the 3 children were over reliant on either of us!

Tambaboy Sun 28-Feb-16 15:21:00

DS has 2 TAs that job share. I think it works really well for him.

The SENCO said to me years ago that they don't like the same TA always supporting the same child as apparently the child becomes too reliant on that person and it's also very hard for the TA to be with the same child year after year, as there is the risk of them getting burnt out (or words to that effect).

zzzzz Sun 28-Feb-16 15:24:59

all support needs to take into account the specific needs of the child. In general though I would say if 2 out of 3 people (or even just one to be honest) can provide adequate support for a child to eat sensibly then the staff who aren't managing to allow that child to eat without issue are the ones who need to adapt. Just saying "well he only eats well for XXXX" and avoiding adapting is very poor IMO and nothing to do with dependence and everything to do with rigidity in the adults.

zzzzz Sun 28-Feb-16 15:28:45

Sorry pressed send prematurely

This is one of the reasons having more than 1 TA is good for ds. It means less can be written off as "undo able" and part of his disability.

I think it's a bit more fun for the TAs too to have more people to share triumphs and conundrums with smile

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Feb-16 08:24:25

NAS advice to schools is that the same LSA is not always used for all support in all contexts so that the DC don't become anxious when that particular person is not present. Hence the issue of dependence on an individual.

Schools otoh seem to think this means that DC should not have 1:1 support per se but should only have access to the class TA. This is about money. The issue of dependence can be dealt with by job sharing 1:1.

zzzzz Mon 29-Feb-16 08:54:09

A good ta is trained to avoid dependence

signandsingcarols Mon 29-Feb-16 19:33:07

This has been really useful, thanks guys for all your input, I think reading back that I wasn't clear to begin with, I didn't mean one TA rather than two, more a specialist than a general worker.... I too think that a job share would actually be best, but it isn't so much only one person that he needed, rather he needed a bank of people who could work with him, and if that wasn't going to happen then at least one, who could build up skills, not a constant round of un trained staff who needed to be re-taught each year what it was needed working on....

The ex school will only employ TAs who will work as one to one or class TA, they have to be willing to do either, (even if the funding is for a specific statemented child) and I really believe it is because it suits their plans to have that flexibility. Parents never get any input or say in the matter. (It also allowed them to remove ds's TA to send on an outing with a completely different year group, technically the class TA then became 'his' TA and the class had no TA... (of course she did both in practice sad)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now