Who does what will vary from school to school depending on the needs of the school community, staff skills, and of course the available funding.
Knowing what support is available and who you can go to with questions or concerns can really make a difference to your child’s enjoyment of school. You'll often find a staff list on the school website along with other important information like: what to do if your child is unwell, the curriculum and what your child will be learning, class pages (that’s where you’ll usually find homework), school dinners, clubs, Parent Council and PTA updates. Here's a quick look at who does what:
Senior Leadership Team (SLT)
Accountable to the Governing Body for the leadership and management of the school. The team includes the Headteacher or Principal, Deputy Head or Vice Principal and other key teaching staff. Each member of the team has specific responsibilities.
Teaching Assistant and Learning Support Assistant (TA and LSA)
Schools are not required to employ TAs or LSAs but many do. Both play an important role in children’s learning (though they are not a replacement for a trained teacher). Main duties are to support children with their learning (often providing one-to-one support) and support the teacher. They might help with marking, record keeping, displays and equipment for learning, school outings, listening, reading, and pastoral care. The difference between a TA and LSA is that typically the LSA role is more likely to focus on the one-to-one support with pupils that may have special educational needs. On the other hand, the LSA role could also be to support children who need more challenging work than the rest of the class.
Supports the social and emotional health and wellbeing of children at school. Hopefully your child’s school blends pastoral care throughout their teaching, they may also have a dedicated pastoral care team either led by a teacher (often with responsibility for inclusion), or as a specialist role. Pastoral care puts the pupils needs at the heart of how the school operates so they can have the best experience possible. It can also help pupils' understand their own wellbeing and caring for themselves later in life.
SENCO: The Special Educational Needs Coordinator
SENCOs work in partnership with the families of children with SEN to make sure they get the support they need at school and that any plans or provision agreed are carried out. A member of the SLT may have SENCO responsibilities at your child’s school, or it could be a stand-alone role.
Extends pastoral care to parents and carers. Parent support advisers, family liaison or education welfare officers can help you with any issues you may have supporting your children at home and in school. Should you have a concern, whether personal or school-related, family support staff are there to help families feel listened to and share support and advice. They are a brilliant way to encourage a strong relationship between home and the school to benefit the pupils. Some area they may help with include: resolving poor attendance, helping families understand the benefits they are entitled to, arranging alternatives for excluded pupils, making home visits to organise ongoing support, and sending communications to parents.