Success Stories: Hannah Maclean, Level 3 Teaching Assistant

Hannah Maclean is currently working on her Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship at Tor Bridge Primary School. She has also previously completed her Level 3 School Sports Assistant Apprenticeship at the school.

Hannah originally wanted to enter the Army and progressed through the rigorous application process. However, on one of the health tests, she was unfortunately found to have a heart murmur and was unable to take her application any further. Instead of giving up, Hannah thought about the key aspects involved in the army that she loved, such as an active lifestyle and leadership, and realised that Sports Education would be a brilliant alternative.

Since joining Tor Bridge Primary, Hannah has made a real difference to the school and goes above and beyond what is expected of her.

“I’ve been involved in introducing a new Fitbit programme at the school to help encourage active and healthy lifestyles. I organised giving pupils Fitbits to monitor the number of steps they did per day and ran competitions around them, such as which class could do the most steps, and who could beat the teachers. The children are now constantly moving to try and increase their step count! I also introduced a certification process, awarding the best-behaved class whilst walking to PE to improve behaviour, and also awarding pupils who achieve a new skill in a PE lesson.

Through sports, Hannah has made progress with SEN children. “I lead a dedicated Motor Skills Group, aiming to improve the children’s balance, agility and co-ordination. I’m also helping the school in its application for the Plymouth School Sports Platinum Award, by organising supporting evidence.”

As Hannah’s Sports Assistant Apprenticeship came to an end in April 2019, the school are now supporting Hannah through her Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship, so that they can keep her at the school.

“In the mornings, I work as a Teaching Assistant in Year 4. My responsibilities include marking books, leading one-to-one Maths, guided handwriting and reading sessions, as well as intervention work and preparing resources for the class. I’m also working closely with a SEN pupil. When I first started, the student knew no multiplication, so I designed a personalised multiplication table for him to suit his needs and he is now confident with a range of timetables. It’s great to see his progress! In the afternoon, I still lead PE classes throughout the school.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship; it is extremely rewarding to help children develop their skills and watch them succeed. The apprenticeship has been a brilliant way to learn, as you get thrown in at the deep end with on-the-job training, but it means you obtain so much experience quickly. I have a great relationship with Skills Group and Torbridge Primary has been amazingly supportive – I feel like one of the team. My advice for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would just be to do it!”

Yvonne Doyle, PE Co-ordinator at Tor Bridge Primary, comments: “If I had to sum up Hannah in a couple of sentences I would say that she is an extremely hard working and conscientious young lady, who is full of good ideas and has the drive and determination to implement them. She works well with any adult or child she is with and has been a totally valued member of our team. She has made a real difference to the lives of some of our children and to do that as a first year apprentice is impressive.”

Well done Hannah!

I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Vanessa, my trainer. You have made my journey so much easier, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been amazing and helped me to achieve my qualification. You’ve guided me through every step of the way, I really appreciate it, Vanessa, you have been my rock.

Katie Shorland, Level 2 Hairdressing

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School