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23 year old James is a Teaching Assistant apprentice through Inspire ATA, where he has his placement at Thomas Bewick School, a specialist school for autistic children and young people in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The school caters for children and young people aged 4 -19 years with a range of abilities and differences associated with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and all pupils have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).

During his university studies in Education and Sports he had the opportunity to work with SEN students, and from there, decided upon a career in SEN teaching.

In a recent meeting with his tutor, James shared his story.


“Starting an apprenticeship seemed like the best start for the career path I wanted to be on. I really wanted to work within the SEN space after having some experience of working with SEN children whilst at university.


The main benefit of doing an apprenticeship is the hands-on experience you receive. As an apprentice, you feel like you are really part of the team. I love being a part of Thomas Bewick as they are like a family to me. What I enjoy most about my role is working with lots of different children. Working with SEN means no two days look the same.

The skills I have learnt through my apprenticeship include dealing with SEN students and learning to remain calm in those situations. I have also learnt to be very patient, and this helps me in all areas of his life. After my apprenticeship I would hopefully like to stay and continue working at Thomas Bewick school as I enjoy it so much.” James, SEN Teaching Assistant Apprentice

Rhianne is James’ mentor and she said “James is an extremely talented and valuable member of our Thomas Bewick team. He fits in so seamlessly that people often forget that he is an apprentice who just started in September. James has a number of responsibilities within school and excels at them all. He leads an English group in which he has the care and patience needed to help pupils learn phonics. He also has developed a great rapport with many of our pupils, not just in his class, but around the school, acting as a positive role model for our young boys in particular.

James is extremely friendly, enthusiastic and willing to get involved in just about everything. He is very reliable and will always help out in very difficult situations and always ensures the safety of the pupils under his care before he does. James is a well-liked and popular member of staff and is very easy to work with. He follows direction well and is also keen to bring an innovative approach to creating a classroom environment that is conducive to the student’s learning goals. He works in a two person team with teacher Graham and supports him with numerous tasks, ranging from daily classroom activities to lesson prep and much more. James embodies our Prosper Learning Trust values of aspiration, integrity, kindness and resilience. A great example of where James has showed resilience is his relationship with a particular student who showed challenging behaviours during transition times. James will often sit and talk with the student and where necessary would use appropriate behaviour management techniques. He is keen to learn and always responds well to constructive feedback.”

What amazing feedback!


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