The Teaching Assistant College Blog

Teaching Assistant training and accredited qualifications. Working with schools to improve practice with teaching assistants. Supporting teaching assistants to be creative in their learning support.


What does a school mentor do?

One of the first questions we are asked when someone is looking to enrol is 'What does the School Mentor do?'

The main role of your School Mentor is to provide support where your Personal Tutor may not be able to.

This could include:

  • Answering setting specific questions (for example, if you had a question about a school policy)
  • Helping you to find opportunities to cover practical criteria
  • Providing you with a wide range of opportunities to be involved in activities with the children
  • Enabling you to make suggestions concerning your role, and to develop and improve your practice
  • Supporting you through the course by asking how you’re getting on and being available should you have any questions

The main component of the School Mentor, however, is to conduct observations of your practice. Each of the practical units on your course requires that a minimum of 1 unit per criteria be observed. Your School Mentor will need to write observation reports and send these to your Personal Tutor, who will upload them to your ePortfolio. We would also need to see copies of their CV and teaching qualification.

How do the observations work?

Your Personal Tutor will provide your School Mentor with all the information and documentation they need to conduct the observations in line with awarding body requirements.

Throughout the duration of your course, your School Mentor will conduct approximately four to six 15 – 20 minute observations of your practice (although this may be slightly more of less, depending on how many criteria are covered). It is recommended that you are observed supporting a variety of activities, as well as being out on the playground to get a thorough overview of your practice. When these observations are conducted is decided between you and the School Mentor, as long as they are all completed by your overall end date.

Your School Mentor will need to sign your Learning Agreement and we will need to ask for their contact details. Your School Mentor can contact your Personal Tutor at any time should they have any questions.

If you are based in the UK and would like to upgrade to a TA College observation at any point, you can contact your Personal Tutor or the office.

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