ABSTRACT

Traditionally, teachers have tended to work alone in classrooms, but with increasing numbers of Teaching Assistants (TAs) in both primary and secondary schools the ability to work collaboratively with other adults in the classroom is likely to become a generic teaching skill. This point is signalled in revisions to the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (TTA 2002). Whilst many teachers are quite used to planning in teams, the delivery of the curriculum in the classroom is still very much under the control of the individual teacher. The new requirements imply that teachers will need to develop new working practices and protocols if real partnerships between colleagues are to become a reality. For those schools allocated additional human resources through the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Grant (EMTAG), the management and effective use of additional staff is essential to raising the achievement of minority ethnic pupils. However, there are few models of good practice available for colleagues to emulate. In early-years classrooms where the employment of nursery nurses alongside teachers is commonplace, working practices rarely utilise the skills and abilities of both 'partners'. Indeed, in his study of working relations within early-years contexts Yeomans (1989) describes relationships as a 'partnership of unequals', and Robins (1998) has gone even further to suggest that the expertise of nursery nurses is so marginalised they are the 'invisible professionals'. Given these findings, there is clearly a need for schools to devise strategies to maximise the effectiveness of collaborative work between adults in the classroom. In the final analysis effects will be measured by the extent to which the learning and achievement of pupils is enhanced.