Evaluating a Peer Mentor Scheme for HLTAs

S. Graves, M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Developing supportive relationships in the workplace has been a key component of the induction of teachers into professional practice and peer mentoring has been used effectively at this developmental stage. However, no such structure has been available to Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants working in schools and any mentoring they do receive tends to be incidental, unplanned and undertaken by teacher colleagues rather than peers. In terms of developing the school workforce and ensuring that all school staff have access to appropriate support for learning in the workplace, there are issues of how the distinct but complementary role of the TA/HLTA in the Remodelled School Workforce can be supported and developed. This study seeks to evaluate a locally devised formalised peer-mentoring scheme for Teaching Assistants (TAs) who are seeking to gain Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status. The scheme was developed in response to a perceived need for support for TAs aspiring to HLTA status to be provided by peers who not only understood the complexities and scope of their role, but also understood the requirements for gaining HLTA status. In particular the study seeks to determine if training and working as a mentor impacts on workplace learning and the status and the professional identity and standing of HLTAs within schools both from their own and their employers perspective. By adopting a case study approach this study focuses on 40 HLTA mentors who were trained to mentor TA colleagues in maintained primary and secondary schools in the North West during 2006/7 and reports findings from their and their employers’ perspectives. The theoretical framework within which this study is being investigated includes views of learning in the workplace (Boud & Solomon,2001; Symes & McIntyre, 2000; Eraut, 1994; Solkin, 2006; Beaney 2006), notions of professional identity (Ozga & Lawn, 1981; Eraut, 1994; Englund, 1996; Bottery, 1998; Dillabough, 1999; Hargreaves, 2000), the concept of the learning organisation and learning networks (Senge, 1992; Day & Hadfield, 2004; Gronn, 2000) and the idea of mentoring as professional development for the mentor (Dymock, 1999; Billet, 2000; Darwin, 2000).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventBritish Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference - Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20086 Sept 2008


ConferenceBritish Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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