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A call to support classrooms in Portsmouth was answered as a group of training providers and school staff joined forces to encourage people to become a teaching assistant at an event on Tuesday 1 November.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative, invited experts from the City of Portsmouth College and The Learning Place to discuss careers in the classroom.

Apprenticeships, training courses and volunteering opportunities were part of the conversation in the hopes of inspiring attendees to support children and young people.

The pandemic has meant more people have chosen to leave the sector due to a change in personal circumstances or taking early retirement. A new generation of support staff are required to help pupils reach their potential.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“When you choose to support children and young people, you will be changing their lives and supporting their education in unique ways. ┬áThe role is rewarding but challenging. We are looking for the right people who are resilient and have patience to persevere.

“This event was a great way for people to speak directly with teaching assistants who offered a realistic picture from inside the classroom.”

97 people attended the event across two sessions where short presentations and a question and answer session provided a source of inspiration for those wanting to become a teaching assistant.

Schools in the city require individuals to be qualified up to level two in English and maths. If people do not have those qualifications, adult education providers, City of Portsmouth College and The Learning Place can help.

Cheryl Head, programme lead for apprenticeships and community learning at Portsmouth City Council said:

“It was fantastic to see so many people engaged in becoming a teaching assistant and wanting to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in schools across the city.

“If you’ve had time away from work, looking to change careers or trying to find a role that offers more flexibility, an apprenticeship is a good option that enables you to earn while you learn.”

Those in attendance were able to view learning support vacancies on the jobs board as well as speak to Trafalgar School who promoted specific roles.

The next information event will take place on Tuesday 28 February at Central Library from 10am. For more information, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/TA.