​School survey: 80% of all leaders have read EEF’s Teaching Assistants guidance; 95% of those have found it helpful

This week, the Department for Education published its latest School Snapshot Survey, including responses from 802 school leaders, asking about the EEF guidance report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants:

In 2015 the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) released guidance on ‘Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants’. In this wave of the School Snapshot Survey, primary and secondary school leaders were asked whether they were aware of the guidance, if they had read the guidance, and for those who had read it, how useful it was.

Leaders showed a high level of awareness of the EEF guidance, with close to nine-in-ten (87%) leaders reporting to be aware of it, with 92% of those having read the guidance (or four-in-five (80%) of all leaders).

Leaders who had read the guidance were also asked how helpful they found it. Almost all leaders reported that they found the guidance to be helpful (95%), with two in five finding it ‘very helpful’ (40%) and just over half finding it to be somewhat helpful (56%). One in twenty-five (4%), found it to be not be very helpful, and fewer than 1% of leaders reported that it was not helpful at all.


Other findings from the survey include:

Leaders at schools with the highest proportion of FSM pupils. Leaders in schools with the highest proportion of FSM pupils were significantly more likely to be aware of the guidance (92%) and to have used the guidance (88%) than those with the lowest proportion of FSM pupils (77% and 71% respectively).

Leaders of schools based in Yorkshire in Humber had heard of the guidance (98%) and read it (91%), compared with the average (87% and 80% respectively).

This latter finding is similar to the independent evaluation of the EEF’s campaign to support schools implement our Teaching Assistants guidance in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, published in 2019, which reported: '... before the start of the TA campaign, 85% of schools in Lincolnshire responding to both the pre-campaign and post-campaign surveys had read the EEF report … [this] increased to 90% in the post-campaign survey, an increase of five percentage points.' (p.46, independent evaluation report)

Now read: Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants - what have we learned so far about supporting schools to put evidence into action? by EEF senior associate Prof. Jonathan Sharples, reflecting on the campaign: what we did; what we learned; and asking "What's next?"