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Teaching assistant apprentice Kim is top of the class at functional skills

Kim Allen

We caught up with Kim Allen, a level three teaching assistant apprentice on placement at Telford Langley school to discuss her studies, what she likes about the programme and her secret to getting the college’s highest ever functional skills marks.

Kim wanted to further herself as a teaching assistant and, after researching the different options available, she decided an apprenticeship with Telford College was the right choice for her. “I feel I’ve learnt so much more than I could have on an online course – I’m more of a hands-on learner and being in the environment I’m training for is crucial.

“I really like studying here at Telford College. I wanted to be in a college environment and Telford College was the best provider offering a teaching assistant apprenticeship. If I’d have worked from home doing a similar qualification, I’d have been too easily distracted and I’d fall behind. I feel supported with face-to-face learning I have here and having such friendly staff on hand to help me is comforting.

“Telford Langley school has been really welcoming to me, it’s a fantastic environment to work in. Most of my work has been in the SEN department and I get to work with a lot of different characters, from the quiet and shy students to the loud and energetic students.

“I get the opportunity to work one-to-one with a student as well who is awaiting diagnosis for a learning difficulty and at the end of term, he got me a bunch of flowers for helping him with his work. I also get to help across a whole range of subjects, I love helping in English and art lessons.”

Kim also achieved the highest mark ever by a student at Telford College in functional skills Maths. “I was shocked when I found out I’d done so well! I really enjoyed the course and Ben made it easy to access. He taught me these alternative ways of working out maths on the spot and it made so much more sense to me than when I was taught previously in school. I also took some of my work into my placement to challenge students and it really motivated them to study harder.”

Ben Hughes, learner manager for maths said “Kim worked so hard towards her functional skills maths and English, she attended the 3-day course and was focused and determined to develop her skills and confidence.

“She scored over 90% on all her functional skills maths and English exams at Level 2. She always made sure that she asked questions to develop her understanding and showed resilience especially with the problem-solving skills in maths.”

Kim’s son, Jesse, is also a Telford College student and won an outstanding achievement award whilst studying engineering. Kim said “It’s so nice, I was preparing for my functional skills exam and being able to just sit with my son on campus helped to calm my nerves.” Her husband, Craig, is also studying at Telford College, working to achieve his GCSE maths.

Outside her studies, Kim is a keen crafter, specialising in crocheting, knitting and making bobble hats, as well as visiting comic conventions with her family and going on walks.

Kim says she wants to continue being a teaching assistant after her end point assessment, with aspirations to study at degree level in child psychology.

“Kim is a supportive and motivated team player who is so keen to learn.” said Sue Williams, business programme manager for Telford College’s early years department. “Her placement is going extremely well, she’s fantastic working with students and the school value her as a real asset.”

“Kim’s functional skills are so crucial to her passing her end point assessment. Her professionalism and passion for helping others really makes her stand out as a model apprentice.”

Find out more about our teaching assistant apprenticeship or our functional skills.