Headlines: January 11th, 2007



School support staff are to benefit from a specially-developed online guide, which will help their managers to plan and implement training for them in language, literacy and numeracy skills. The Skills for Life planner has been launched by the Training and Development Agency for Schools and for the first time brings together easy-to-access training information.

The system, which is available at http://www.tda.gov.uk/sflplanner has a ‘dip in and out’ format, with printable checklists, template forms for skills analysis, suggested questions for training providers and advice on reward and recognition. It also looks at ways of raising awareness of Skills for Life initiatives, including the business benefits, securing funding and evaluating success.

It has been developed by a range of experts including teachers, school leaders and learners. It is divided into four key sections, beginning with information to persuade staff and school leaders to identify learning and skills of the school as a whole and of individual staff. It also provides information on planning learning, including deciding on programmes that best suits learners’ and the school’s needs. There are also tools for evaluation.

Jill Staley, director of the TDA’s wider workforce programme, said around half a million support staff worked in England’s schools and contributed to their institution’s success in raising standards. She said they all deserved an opportunity to brush up or develop their own key skills so they could be even more effective in helping pupils. Bill Rammell, the Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning, said learning had a positive overall effect and was often a springboard to other opportunities both in and outside the workplace.