London Metropolitan University Research Institutes
 

 

Investigating the roles and effectiveness of learning support workers in the Learning and Skills Sector

Funded by:

the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA)

Timescale:

April 2005 - March 2006

Summary:

This proposal aimed to provide coherent and systematic information about the current use of learning support workers in the Learning and Skills sector. The investigation covered all types of providers in the Learning and Skills sector and involved managers, teachers and learners as well as the Learning Support Workers themselves. The range of methods used included survey, interview and documentary analysis. The main aims were to clarify roles and definitions, management and working practices, measures of effectiveness currently in use and perceptions of the LSWs' value and relationships with others.

Aims:

  • The overall aim of this project was to investigate the roles of learning support workers, the functions they fulfil and the contributions that they make to improving access to and success in learning.

The aims of the research were to:

  • Investigate the nature of the work of learning support workers and their effectiveness in a range of contexts in the Learning and Skills sector;
  • Understand current practices relating to the recruitment, training and allocation of learning support workers;
  • Evaluate methods being used to ascertain the effectiveness of learning support work and perceptions of its value.

The objectives were to:

  • Establish the range of definitions of learning support work, and the functions of these staff;
  • Ascertain numbers of those employed in these capacities across the range of educational settings in the Learning & Skills sector;
  • Elaborate models of best practice in relation to the use of learning support workers and in relation to methods of establishing their effectiveness and identifying benefits;
  • Make recommendations for changes to policy and practice.

Outcomes:

The project resulted in:

  • A full account of current learning support provision in the L&S sector, including a typology indicating levels and varieties of learner support in the Learning & Skills sector;
  • A summary of existing evidence relating to the effectiveness of learning support;
  • Proposals and recommendations for appropriate methods of assessing the effectiveness and benefits of this provision;
  • Models and examples of best practice in relation to the functions and activities of learning support workers in the Learning and Skills sector;
  • Recommendations for policy-makers and practitioners for changes to policy and practice in relation to learning support.

The final report has now been published by the Learning and Skills Network. To obtain a copy please follow the hyperlinked reference via the publications section below.

Publications:

Project team:

Jocelyn Robson
Bill Bailey, University of Greenwich
Heather Mendick

Contact:

Jocelyn Robson - j.robson@londonmet.ac.uk





 

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