Schools and community groups both have staff and volunteers who, themselves, need to learn.  Joint training would reduce the costs and enable informal sharing of knowledge and expertise across organisations. Specialist support could be cascaded and valuable information gained on both sides in, for example, areas like Speech and Language and in educating children with autistic spectrum conditions.  We believe a spirit of professional generosity on the part of teachers would be repaid by access to the know-how of the network of support in the community that helps, and understands, individual children.  So, for example, teaching staff could gain access to experience and expertise that they would not be able to get from traditional training courses.

 

What’s stopping us?

We think the barriers to sharing access to training between schools and community groups are: that training opportunities are often in short supply; that coordination is difficult (without the kind of information sharing we have highlighted elsewhere); and that professionals are not always confident that people outside their professionalism can be learnt from, or can learn effectively with them, or that they can pass on training effectively.

 

What might help us?

Identifying training needs and planning how to address them jointly would help overcome these barriers and provide a spur to information sharing between schools and community groups.  In particular, planning ahead – rather than last minute invitations to take part in training – would enable best value.  A training plan could result from ‘speed dating’ sessions involving teachers and staff and volunteers from services which area supporting children and young people in the community. Enabling teachers and teaching assistants to talk, with professional generosity about the value of what they are able to learn from the groups and networks that support children’s learning and development outside school, would help to confirm the benefits of doing so to others in the profession.

 

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