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Beaumont College. Raising the Game: Lessons Learnt from Observing Learning Support Staff. Beaumont College. Who are we?.

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Beaumont college
Beaumont College

Raising the Game: Lessons Learnt from Observing Learning Support Staff

Beaumont college1
Beaumont College

Who are we?

  • Beaumont College is an independent specialist college, founded in 1977 in Lancaster and offers both residential and day programmes to Learners aged between 18 and 25 with a broad range of physical and learning disabilities.

  • There are currently 19 members of Learning Support staff, supporting the teaching and learning of the College Curriculum.

Beaumont college2
Beaumont College

The Curriculum

  • The curriculum offers a range of opportunities for learners to achieve internally recognised certification and acquire externally accredited qualifications that we provide by nationally recognised awarding bodies and are part of foundation learning.

  • We deliver accredited qualifications in

  • Functional Skills English, Maths and ICT

  • Certificate in Effective Augmentative and Alternative Communication

  • Personal and Social Development

  • Conservation

  • Arts Award

Beaumont college3
Beaumont College

Whole Organisational Approach

  • We adopt a ‘Whole Organisational Approach’ to teaching and learning

  • Having a ‘Whole Organisation Approach’ means that staff are also encouraged and enabled to raise their own standards, making us a highly competent workforce for supporting our Learners in every aspect of their College career.

Beaumont college4
Beaumont College

An exemplary Learning Support workforce

  • …….

  • 12 are qualified teachers

  • 12 have degrees

  • 5 have other subject specialist qualifications

  • 2 have a Learning Support Certificate

  • As a Learning Support team, we are exemplary practitioners.

  • This is evident in our statistics of how many staff members hold real and relevant qualifications which go beyond the realms of our job description and requirements.

  • Of 19 members of Learning Support, looking at their highest level qualification….

Beaumont college5
Beaumont College

Observation of Teaching and Learning: Learning Support Workers

  • How we responded:

  • The College SMT worked collaboratively with other Independent Specialist Colleges from the North West to draw up an OTL (Observation of Teaching and Learning) grid to use when observing members of the Learning Support team.

said in our most recent inspection (December 2009):

“Teachers provide very clear guidance for learning support workers and direct their work well. Most learning support is highly effective and appropriate. However, a minority of support workers do not adequately follow the directions provided for them.”

Beaumont college6
Beaumont College

Observation of Teaching and Learning: Learning Support Workers

  • Performance Criteria:

  • 1.Time Management and Planning

  • 2. Health and Safety

  • 3. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • 4. Knowledge of Learner

  • 5. Independence

  • 6. Professional Response

  • 7. Communication

  • 8. Management of Behaviour

  • 9. Recording and Reflection

  • The session was observed in conjunction with

  • The OTL Timeline Narrative (as witnessed by two impartial observers)

  • OTL Evaluation Grid

  • Session Plan (as planned by the session Tutor)

  • Scheme of Work (for the course)

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Beaumont College

Observation of Teaching and Learning: Learning Support Workers

Beaumont college8
Beaumont College

Observation of Teaching and Learning: Learning Support Workers


  • 15 observations were undertaken in June 2010 and of those 13 (87%) were good.

  • Many of these also contained outstanding practice.

  • 2 (13%)  were outstanding.


  • Learning Support workers felt equal to tutors. They were being given feedback about their practice

  • Problems were flagged up

  • Exemplary practice was highlighted

  • Tutors felt supported

  • Learning Support Workers asked for more frequent observations, alongside Tutors

  • Learning Support were able to give feedback to their observers about how it felt to be observed

  • Learning Support colleagues felt valued

  • Having access to a grid which outlines Best Practice was proving vital to colleagues who wanted to be able to map their standards.

Where do we go from here
Where do we go from here?

  • Observation of Teaching and Learning will soon be rolled out to all members of the support team.

  • Documentary evidence will be collated and used in appraisals, supervision meetings and where necessary during job interviews.

  • Where flagged, staff training will continue, strengthening the workforce.

  • The College now has two Specialist roles: Literacy and Numeracy, which are extension of the current Learning Support role. This has solidified and enhanced the Skills for Life team, raised awareness of embedding Literacy and Numeracy across the Curriculum whilst offering support to learners and colleagues alike.