Teaching assistants (also known as TAs or classroom support assistants) are adults who support teachers in the classroom. Teaching assistants’ duties can vary widely from school to school, ranging from providing administrative and classroom support to providing targeted academic support to individual pupils or small groups.
Search terms: support staff; adult support staff; teaching assistants; associate staff; classroom assistants; auxiliary teachers; teachers’ aide; education paraprofessional
A number of systematic reviews of the impact of support staff in schools have been conducted. However, there are no meta-analyses specifically looking at the impact of TAs on learning. Overall the evidence is limited.
Additional Cost Information
The average cost of employing a teaching assistant, including salary and on-costs, is estimated at about £18,000. Overall, costs are estimated as high.
- Alborz, A., Pearson, D., Farrell, P., Howes, A.
- The impact of adult support staff on pupils and mainstream schools open_in_new
- Technical Report. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPICentre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.
- Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Koutsoubou, M., Martin, C., Russell, A. and Webster, R., with Rubie-Davies, C.
- The impact of support staff in schools. Results from the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff project. (Strand 2 Wave 2) (DCSF-RR148) open_in_new
- London: Department for Children, Schools and Families
- Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C., Russell, A., & Webster, R.
- The impact of support staff on pupils’ ‘positive approaches to learning’ and their academic progress open_in_new
- British Educational Research Journal,37(3), 443-464
- Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown, P., & Martin, C.
- The role and effects of teaching assistants in English primary schools (Years 4 to 6) 2000–2003. Results from the Class Size and Pupil–Adult Ratios (CSPAR) KS2 Project open_in_new
- British Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 5-26
- Bowyer-Crane, C., Snowling, M. J., Duff, F. J., Fieldsend, E., Carroll, J. M., Miles, J., & Hulme, C.
- Improving early language and literacy skills: Differential effects of an oral language versus a phonology with reading intervention open_in_new
- Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(4), 422-432
- Brown, K. J., Morris, D., & Fields, M.
- Intervention after grade 1: Serving increased numbers of struggling readers effectively open_in_new
- Journal of Literacy Research, 37(1), 61-94
- Burgoyne, K., Duff, F. J., Clarke, P. J., Buckley, S., Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C.
- Efficacy of a reading and language intervention for children with Down syndrome: a randomized controlled trial open_in_new
- Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53(10), 1044-1053
- Butt, R. and Lowe, K.
- Teaching assistants and class teachers: differing perceptions, role confusion and the benefits of skills-based training open_in_new
- International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(2), 207–219
- Duff, F. J., Fieldsend, E., Bowyer-Crane, C., Hulme, C., Smith, G., Gibbs, S., & Snowling, M. J.
- Reading with vocabulary intervention: Evaluation of an instruction for children with poor response to reading intervention open_in_new
- Journal of Research in Reading, 31(3), 319-336
- Ehri, L. C., Dreyer, L. G., Flugman, B., & Gross, A..
- Reading Rescue: An effective tutoring intervention model for language-minority students who are struggling readers in first grade open_in_new
- American Educational Research Journal, 44(2), 414-448
- Farrell, P., Alborz, A., Howes, A. & Pearson, D.
- The impact of teaching assistants on improving pupils' academic achievement in mainstream schools: a review of the literature open_in_new
- Educational Review, 62.4 pp 435-448
- Gerber, S.B., Finn, J.D., Achilles, C.M. and Boyd-Zacharias, J.
- Teacher aides and students’ academic achievement open_in_new
- Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23.2 pp 123-143
- Gorard, S., See, B. H., Siddiqui, N.
- Switch-on Reading Evaluation Report and Executive Summary open_in_new
- EEF, London
- Gray, C., McCloy, S., Dunbar, C., Dunn, J., Mitchell, D., & Ferguson, J.
- Added value or a familiar face? The impact of learning support assistants on young readers open_in_new
- Journal of Early Childhood Research, 5(3), 285-300
- Hatcher, P. J., Goetz, K., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Gibbs, S., & Smith, G.
- Evidence for the effectiveness of the Early Literacy Support programme open_in_new
- British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(2), 351-367
- Mecrow, C., Beckwith, J., & Klee, T.
- An exploratory trial of the effectiveness of an enhanced consultative approach to delivering speech and language intervention in schools open_in_new
- International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 45(3), 354-367
- Mercer, C. D., Campbell, K. U., Miller, M. D., Mercer, K. D., & Lane, H. B.
- Effects of a reading fluency intervention for middle schoolers with specific learning disabilities open_in_new
- Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 15(4), 179-189
- Miller, S. D.
- Partners-in-reading: Using classroom assistants to provide tutorial assistance to struggling first-grade readers open_in_new
- Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 8(3), 333-349
- Moore, W. and Hammond, L.
- Using education assistants to help pave the road to literacy: Supporting oral language, letter-sound knowledge and phonemic awareness in the pre-primary year open_in_new
- Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 16(2), 85–110
- Morris, D.
- Using Noncertified Tutors to Work with At Risk Readers: An Evidence-Based Model open_in_new
- The Elementary School Journal, 106(4), 351-362
- Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D.
- The effectiveness of the use of learning support assistants in improving the mathematics achievement of low achieving pupils in primary school open_in_new
- Educational Research, 45.3 pp 219-230
- A Randomised Trial of Catch Up Numeracy® Evaluation Report and Executive Summary open_in_new
- EEF, London
- Ritter, G.W., Barnett, J.H., Genny, C.S., & Albin, G.R.
- The Effectiveness of Volunteer Tutoring Programs for Elementary and Middle School Students: A Meta-Analysis open_in_new
- Review of Educational Research, 79 (3), 3-38
- Savage, R., & Carless, S.
- The impact of early reading interventions delivered by classroom assistants on attainment at the end of Year 2 open_in_new
- British Educational Research Journal, 34(3), 363-385. (Follow up of 2003 study)
- Savage, R., Carless, S., & Stuart, M.
- The effects of rime and phoneme-based teaching delivered by learning support assistants open_in_new
- Journal of Research in Reading, 26(3), 211-233
- Swann, W., & Loxley, A.
- The impact of school‐based training on classroom assistants in primary schools open_in_new
- Research papers in education, 13(2), 141-160
- Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A.
- Repeated reading intervention: Outcomes and interactions with readers' skills and classroom instruction open_in_new
- Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 272
- Vadasy, P. F., Sanders, E. A., & Tudor, S.
- Effectiveness of paraeducator-supplemented individual instruction beyond basic decoding skills open_in_new
- Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(6), 508-525
Summary of effects
|Single Studies||Effect size||FSM effect size|
|Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Koutsoubou, M., Martin, C., Russell, A. and Webster, R., with Rubie-Davies, C. (2009)||
|Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C., Russell, A., & Webster, R. (2011)||
|Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown, P., & Martin, C. (2007)||
|Brown, K. J., Morris, D., & Fields, M. (2005)||
|Ehri, L. C., Dreyer, L. G., Flugman, B., & Gross, A.. (2007)||
|Gerber, S.B., Finn, J.D., Achilles, C.M. and Boyd-Zacharias, J. (2001)||
|Gray, C., McCloy, S., Dunbar, C., Dunn, J., Mitchell, D., & Ferguson, J. (2007)||
|Hatcher, P. J., Goetz, K., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Gibbs, S., & Smith, G. (2006)||
|Mecrow, C., Beckwith, J., & Klee, T. (2010)||
|Mercer, C. D., Campbell, K. U., Miller, M. D., Mercer, K. D., & Lane, H. B. (2000)||
|Moore, W. and Hammond, L. (2011)||
|Morris, D. (2006)||
|Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2003)||
|Savage, R., Carless, S., & Stuart, M. (2003)||
|Vadasy, P. F., Sanders, E. A., & Tudor, S. (2007)||
|Indicative Effect Size||0.08|
The right hand column provides detail on the specific outcome measures or, if in brackets, details of the intervention or control group.