Professional Learning for Educational Support Staff

Across the wide spectrum of schools, it is often – and indeed mostly – the case that support staff are under-valued and largely invisible.  Changing this culture starts from the top of the school with the Principal and the leadership team.  I was commissioned by the leaders at St Mary’s, a small primary school, to work with the school’s team of support staff consisting of 10 people who were all women and mostly part time.  This program of professional learning was very practical and, in large part, about giving this group of employees a voice and greater agency.  Spread over 3 sessions of an hour each and highly conversational, the team gradually grew in confidence to understand the importance of their roles to the school as a whole and to student learning specifically.

The anticipated outcomes were:

  • The ability of support staff team members to explain and advocate for the value of their roles
  • Improvements in the language used by teaching staff when speaking about support staff, so that the amount of casual and unthinking belittling was greatly reduced.