Spotlight on Talent – Abbie Rolleston
Studied: Level 2 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship
Progression: Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship Standard
When at the age of 17, Abbie Rolleston decided she wanted to work in an education setting, she took it upon herself to make this happen. She began by making enquiries to local schools and hoping that someone would take a chance on her. Her efforts paid off.
Three years later, she is well into her apprenticeship journey at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Sutton Coldfield. Here, she is enjoying a busy career inspiring and supporting 5-8- year-olds in class.
Abbie is a fantastic example of someone who enjoys her job so much that she doesn’t feel like she comes to work.
“I just love children,” said Abbie. “It’s incredibly rewarding watching them learn, develop and build confidence and knowing that I’ve played a small part in that.”
Abbie has progressed from a Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning Apprenticeship on to a Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship through Walsall College. She has received support from a trainer/assessor throughout her apprenticeship journey.
Her role at the school has continually grown during this time. Abbie has gained experienced of working with nursery children as well as pupils in Year 1-4. Abbie has also provided one to one support to SEND students.
“Every child has different needs and abilities. It’s important to recognise this and be flexible with your teaching and learning approaches,” said Abbie. “Constant communication with teachers is an essential part of this too.
“These are all things I’ve learned on the job, so now they’re second nature to me.”
Hands on learning became Abbie’s preference when she realised A Level studies weren’t for her and that she much preferred being in a workplace, interacting with different people. Spending time with her young nieces also sparked her interest in teaching.
Abbie’s first step was to send letters out to all schools within a five-mile radius, asking them if they had vacancies. When St Anne’s responded, she contacted Walsall College who kickstarted her Apprenticeship.
“Earning and learning has suited me and the career path I’m on,” added Abbie. “I’ve gained confidence every time I’ve prepared lesson plans and worksheets, helped to deliver things in class and mark students’ work. Supporting the children of key workers during the pandemic lockdowns has helped me a lot too.”
Abbie continues to relish the opportunities to improve her skills through her apprenticeship and is considering the possibility of teacher training in the future.