Grace Searle, Teaching Assistant, Burley Oaks Primary School (part of Bradford Council).

Grace Searle started employment as a Teaching Assistant at Burley Oaks Primary School in West Yorkshire in 2017, and in December that year, started a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.

Burley Oaks Primary is an advocate of apprenticeships, and considers it an effective pathway for staff to support their career development. The school felt that offering Grace an apprenticeship would effectively support her new role, and help her grow and perform to the best of her ability.

In turn, Grace was keen to do an apprenticeship to give her experience of working life, earn a salary while learning and gaining a qualification, and potentially progress to higher level roles.

Tailored training funded by the Apprenticeship Levy

Burley Oaks Primary is part of Bradford Council so the training was fully funded by the Council’s Apprenticeship Levy. In addition to the funding, the advantage of an apprenticeship is that it can be tailored to both individual and organisational needs. The school offers apprenticeships as they can train and develop new and existing staff in line with the ethos of the school.

Greatly improved confidence and organisational skills

Apprenticeships combine practical on the job training with real-world work, so Grace was able to be in work every day.

She has been supported by a Skills Coach from day one who visits her on site to ensure minimum disruption to the school.

Jen Briedis, Grace’s Line Manager has found that Grace’s confidence has greatly improved during her training and has developed excellent organisational skills.

“Grace is an excellent apprentice who truly works hard. She has an amazing relationship with all of the staff and pupils, and is a motivated, valued and productive addition to the team.”

Progression to higher levels

Grace completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship in just 12 months and developed a wide range of key skills, industry knowledge and work experience during this time.

So much so that her role within the school evolved and it was felt by all that it was appropriate for her to progress to the Level 3 Apprenticeship in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools. She is currently progressing excellently and is due to complete her training at the end of 2019.

Through her progression to this higher level it has already been noted that Grace has a much greater understanding of the Early Years sector and of her role as a Teaching Assistant.

Invaluable support and advice

Grace has been supported by a Skills Coach, Julie Oddie throughout her programme and feels that her help and advice has been invaluable. She says:

“My apprenticeship has given me the perfect platform to start a career in an area I’m passionate about. Having my Skills Coach, Julie, at hand throughout the programme has been a great help and hugely reassuring. She is always only a phonecall or email away, responds to my queries quickly and is always able to answer any questions or concerns I have”.

Julie Oddie, GP Strategies Skills Coach comments:

“Grace is a motivated learner who completes all the work set on time and to a very high standard. She works very well within her team and has gained knowledge of supporting her colleagues with the children’s learning, assessment and procedures. I wish Grace all the very best of luck in her career and have no doubt she will successfully progress to higher levels and continue to be an asset to the school.”

Further information

Find out more how GP Strategies’ Childcare and Education apprenticeships can benefit your business.




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