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Title: Learning for excellence : professional learning for learning support assistants within further education
Author: McLachlan, Benita
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 5446
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2012
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The 1980s saw an increase in learning support assistants (LSAs’) in colleges for further education to support post-sixteen learners with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD). LSAs’ were appointed on an ad hoc basis with little or no experience, or relevant qualifications to deliver support in ‘inclusive’ vocational classrooms. The Workforce Development Plan in 2004 acknowledged this phenomenon and advocated that occupational standards be developed. Two years later, in October 2006, the first National Occupational Standards (NOS) for college LSAs was launched but it did not include an official training framework for their professional learning and although there are some training structures in place, this still remains the case today. Learners with LDD are, therefore, still supported by untrained LSAs’ who are not professionally equipped to deal with the particular challenges they present. Educators like myself who work alongside LSAs’ in colleges, must seek to naturalistically explore professional learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills. Such professional learning opportunities should reflect the creative and dynamic contribution college LSAs’ bring to inclusive classrooms and, thereby, not only improve the quality of the support LSAs’ give but the overall integrative, ethical and non-discriminative ethos of a college. With this knowledge, I developed and implemented an Enhanced Learning Support Assistant Programme (ELSAP) for the professional learning of volunteer LSA participants with the aim of improving their knowledge and skills to deliver a more meaningful education for postsixteen learners with LDD. For the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, professional learning for LSAs’ needs to occur systemically over time and be integrated within the multilayered context of a college to allow dynamic and reciprocal influences to make transformative connections. Critically, my action research study strengthens the connection between socio-political theory and practice within the sociology of disability education on moral, ethical and human rights grounds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: inclusive education ; further education ; learning support assistants ; professional learning ; action research ; qualitative research