Staff at Manor Green Special School in Maidenhead have been signing up to study apprenticeships thanks to partnership working between the school and the GMB union.
A learning agreement between the school and the union has been in place since 2013 which has resulted in various learning promotions, especially level 2 distance learning and since last year also apprenticeships.
GMB Southern Region Project Worker Agnieszka Zamonski explained how learning for union members had progressed at the school:
I introduced the provider, CSM Training, to the employer, then together we attended a school's training day in September last year to promote the apprenticeships training provison."
There was a lot of interest in the scheme and 13 members of staff, mainly Teaching Assistants, enrolled as apprentices studying on two schemes – the Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce and the Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools. Learners were inducted in November.
Agnieszka said that the process of enrolling apprentices had been very positive and the school have backed the scheme from the start:
They have been very supportive and offered time off for learner inductions, then time off to study towards the qualification.
A meeting room has been booked out regularly for staff and trainers to use for feedback, planning and 1-2-1 knowledge sessions. Also the school has given access to IT equipment so staff can work on their e-portfolios."
Angela Coulson is Talent Development Officer at Manor Green School and echoes Agnieszka’s comments, finding working in partnership with the union had a positive impact on learning for staff.
The GMB introduced us to CSM Training who have taken the lead in the training requirement for the school for level 2/3. CSM, who have been amazing to work with. They presented at a inset day back in September 2016 to support staff.
This lead to 13 people starting apprenticeships. They are all enjoying the programme and feedback has been good. All are processing well, Alva the assessor is very organised and keeps the leaners on track with their programme.
Angela has seen lots of benefits for the school in having staff on apprenticeship schemes, and added:
I have always been a huge advocate of the apprenticeship programme, staff are more confident, proactive and want to work towards a tangle qualification and long term upskilling the workforce.
For the school this is just the start, and thanks to the initial introduction from the GMB, they look forward to continue working with CSM in the future."