Teaching assistants: ​EEF publishes updated guidance to support schools achieve greater impact

380,000 teaching assistants (TAs) are employed across the country, at an annual public cost of some £5 billion, but previous research had shown that in many schools they were not being deployed in ways that improve student outcomes. Indeed, for students from poorer backgrounds the impact of TAs was too often negative.

However, EEF trials have demonstrated that, when they are well-trained and used in structured settings with high-quality support and training, TAs can make a noticeable positive impact on pupil learning.

To support schools in achieving this, in 2015 the EEF published its first guidance report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants. Written by the EEF's Prof. Jonathan Sharples, together with Rob Webster and Prof. Peter Blatchford, both at the UCL Institute of Education, it made seven clear and actionable recommendations.

Since then, the EEF has added a number of resources to support the implementation of this guidance report. This new material has now been incorporated online to bring the guidance up-to-date. It can be freely read and downloaded here.

‘Evidence into Action’ - new EEF podcast focuses on ‘Making the Difference for Disadvantaged Pupils’

‘Evidence into Action’ - new EEF podcast focuses on ‘Making the Difference for Disadvantaged Pupils’ Download PDF get_app

EEF announces new addition to the Research Schools Network

EEF announces new addition to the Research Schools Network Download PDF get_app

EEF in the News: “The fund has been a lifeline and still is to this day”  - Sunday Times reports back on our £1.3 million Christmas appeal

EEF in the News: “The fund has been a lifeline and still is to this day”  - Sunday Times reports back on our £1.3 million Christmas appeal Download PDF get_app

New: EEF publishes Evidence Review on Mathematical Teaching in the Early Years and Key Stage 1

New: EEF publishes Evidence Review on Mathematical Teaching in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: How to foster independent study in Key Stage 3

EEF Blog: How to foster independent study in Key Stage 3 Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Pop Quiz - What’s the best way to start a lesson?

EEF Blog: Pop Quiz - What’s the best way to start a lesson? Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: Practical strategies for embedding high-quality Social and Emotional Learning skills

Guest Blog: Practical strategies for embedding high-quality Social and Emotional Learning skills Download PDF get_app

EEF in Tes: ‘Coping with Covid: 5 tips for improving pupil behaviour’

EEF in Tes: ‘Coping with Covid: 5 tips for improving pupil behaviour’ Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: 6 approaches schools can use to provide practical science opportunities in this ‘new normal’

Guest Blog: 6 approaches schools can use to provide practical science opportunities in this ‘new normal’ Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Teacher Choices Trials - our new approach to researching questions teachers want answers to

EEF Blog: Teacher Choices Trials - our new approach to researching questions teachers want answers to Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: New resources for tackling scientific misconceptions

EEF Blog: New resources for tackling scientific misconceptions Download PDF get_app

Early Career Framework Early Roll-out

Early Career Framework Early Roll-out Download PDF get_app

EEF email series - Improving Early Maths

EEF email series - Improving Early Maths Download PDF get_app

Early Years and Key Stage 1 Mathematics Teaching

Early Years and Key Stage 1 Mathematics Teaching Download PDF get_app

Four new EEF evaluation reports published

Four new EEF evaluation reports published Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: Why digging a little deeper into educational research matters

Guest Blog: Why digging a little deeper into educational research matters Download PDF get_app

National Tutoring Programme launches in schools

National Tutoring Programme launches in schools Download PDF get_app

1,100+ schools and nurseries sought for EEF evaluations of eight projects aiming to close the disadvantage gap

1,100+ schools and nurseries sought for EEF evaluations of eight projects aiming to close the disadvantage gap Download PDF get_app

Building evidence infrastructure is a global good

Building evidence infrastructure is a global good Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: How to use reading as a starting point for learning this year

EEF Blog: How to use reading as a starting point for learning this year Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Reflections of a SENCo – the importance of a whole school approach to supporting pupils with SEND

EEF Blog: Reflections of a SENCo – the importance of a whole school approach to supporting pupils with SEND Download PDF get_app

Online tutoring helps disadvantaged pupils during lockdown, study finds

Online tutoring helps disadvantaged pupils during lockdown, study finds Download PDF get_app

EEF email series - Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning

EEF email series - Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: Practical, evidence-based tips to embed metacognitive strategies into your classroom practice

Guest Blog: Practical, evidence-based tips to embed metacognitive strategies into your classroom practice Download PDF get_app

Stop and Think: Learning Counterintuitive Concepts (regrant)

Stop and Think: Learning Counterintuitive Concepts (regrant) Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Classrooms look very different this year. Here are 5 research resources to support teachers in adapting your practices

EEF Blog: Classrooms look very different this year. Here are 5 research resources to support teachers in adapting your practices Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: One-to-one support for pupils with SEND - a case study in how specialists and TAs can work together

Guest Blog: One-to-one support for pupils with SEND - a case study in how specialists and TAs can work together Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Getting to grips with reading comprehension strategies

EEF Blog: Getting to grips with reading comprehension strategies Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Three crucial questions for schools wanting to support the impact of teaching assistants

EEF Blog: Three crucial questions for schools wanting to support the impact of teaching assistants Download PDF get_app

Prof Becky Francis in Tes: ‘How to access subsidised tutoring for your school’

Prof Becky Francis in Tes: ‘How to access subsidised tutoring for your school’ Download PDF get_app

Cognitive science approaches in the classroom

Cognitive science approaches in the classroom Download PDF get_app

EEF in Tes: ‘Coping with Covid - Reading key to closing learning gap’

EEF in Tes: ‘Coping with Covid - Reading key to closing learning gap’ Download PDF get_app

EEF commissions new research on the impact of Covid-19 school and nursery closures

EEF commissions new research on the impact of Covid-19 school and nursery closures Download PDF get_app

EEF Guide to Supporting School Planning, 2020-21

EEF Guide to Supporting School Planning, 2020-21 Download PDF get_app

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2

Update to be published in Autumn 2020

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2 Download PDF get_app

Impact of Covid-19 school closures and subsequent support strategies on attainment and socioemotional wellbeing in Key Stage 1

Impact of Covid-19 school closures and subsequent support strategies on attainment and socioemotional wellbeing in Key Stage 1 Download PDF get_app

Impact of Covid-19 disruptions in primary schools: attainment gaps and school responses

Impact of Covid-19 disruptions in primary schools: attainment gaps and school responses Download PDF get_app

Impact of Covid-19 on primary school starters

Impact of Covid-19 on primary school starters Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: What are effective Learning Behaviours - and how can we develop them in our pupils?

EEF Blog: What are effective Learning Behaviours - and how can we develop them in our pupils? Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Three practical approaches to help pupils learn from mathematical mistakes

EEF Blog: Three practical approaches to help pupils learn from mathematical mistakes Download PDF get_app

Six recommendations for improving Social and Emotional Learning

Six recommendations for improving Social and Emotional Learning Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Handbooks for Humans – 5 simple ways to use stories to deepen children’s social and emotional learning skills

EEF Blog: Handbooks for Humans – 5 simple ways to use stories to deepen children’s social and emotional learning skills Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Tackling Misconceptions in Science by Using Good Diagnostic Assessment

EEF Blog: Tackling Misconceptions in Science by Using Good Diagnostic Assessment Download PDF get_app

Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1

Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 Download PDF get_app

New EEF rapid evidence assessment on remote professional development

New EEF rapid evidence assessment on remote professional development Download PDF get_app

Sign up to get latest EEF news by email

Sign up to get latest EEF news by email Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Do years in the profession make you a better teacher?

EEF Blog: Do years in the profession make you a better teacher? Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Eight recommendations to support 5-7 year-olds’ literacy

EEF Blog: Eight recommendations to support 5-7 year-olds’ literacy Download PDF get_app

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1

Eight recommendations to support the literacy of 5-7 year-olds

Improving Literacy in Key Stage 1 Download PDF get_app

Chief Executive’s Letter: Back to school - how the EEF is supporting schools in the academic year ahead

Chief Executive’s Letter: Back to school - how the EEF is supporting schools in the academic year ahead Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Five-a-day - achieving effective learning behaviours within our classrooms

EEF Blog: Five-a-day - achieving effective learning behaviours within our classrooms Download PDF get_app

Foreign language learning and its impact on wider academic outcomes: a rapid evidence assessment

Foreign language learning and its impact on wider academic outcomes: a rapid evidence assessment Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Five evidence-based strategies to support high-quality teaching for pupils with SEND

EEF Blog: Five evidence-based strategies to support high-quality teaching for pupils with SEND Download PDF get_app

Early years support for schools

Early years support for schools Download PDF get_app

EEF welcomes Government support for evidence-based early years programme

EEF welcomes Government support for evidence-based early years programme Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: ‘Back to School’ - Meaningful and Manageable Assessment

Guest Blog: ‘Back to School’ - Meaningful and Manageable Assessment Download PDF get_app

School Planning Guide 2020-21

Practical, evidence-based guidance to support schools in the busy and unpredictable year ahead.

School Planning Guide 2020-21 Download PDF get_app

Introducing ‘The EEF Guide to Supporting School Planning: A Tiered Approach to 2020-21’

Introducing ‘The EEF Guide to Supporting School Planning: A Tiered Approach to 2020-21’ Download PDF get_app

Nuffield Early Language Intervention FAQs

Answers to common questions about accessing the Nuffield Language Intervention in 2020-21.

Nuffield Early Language Intervention FAQs Download PDF get_app

Early years support for schools

Opportunity for primary schools to receive EEF Promising Project, Nuffield Early Language Intervention, at no cost.

Early years support for schools Download PDF get_app

Professor Rob Coe: Assessing learning in the new academic year

Professor Rob Coe: Assessing learning in the new academic year Download PDF get_app

Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) - Development of an Online Training Model

Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) - Development of an Online Training Model Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: How to use evidence when you’re time-poor

EEF Blog: How to use evidence when you’re time-poor Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: The Pupil Premium and school segregation – an opportunity for FE?

EEF Blog: The Pupil Premium and school segregation – an opportunity for FE? Download PDF get_app

Internal Equity, Diversity and Inclusion monitoring form

Internal Equity, Diversity and Inclusion monitoring form Download PDF get_app

Review of attainment measures in literacy, mathematics and science

Review of attainment measures in literacy, mathematics and science Download PDF get_app

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

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

Remote Professional Development

Rapid evidence assessment summarising the efficacy of remote professional development (PD) approaches.

Remote Professional Development Download PDF get_app

Two new EEF evaluation reports published, focused on early language development and improving Key Stage 4 science

Two new EEF evaluation reports published, focused on early language development and improving Key Stage 4 science Download PDF get_app

Research on the impact of school closures: call for proposals (closed)

Research on the impact of school closures: call for proposals (closed) Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Getting transition right (part 2 of 2) – how my school is applying evidence to promote positive learning behaviours

EEF Blog: Getting transition right (part 2 of 2) – how my school is applying evidence to promote positive learning behaviours Download PDF get_app

Helping Home Learning Talk with TRUST simple infographic translations

Helping Home Learning Talk with TRUST simple infographic translations Download PDF get_app

Helping Home Learning Read with TRUST simple infographic translations

Helping Home Learning Read with TRUST simple infographic translations Download PDF get_app

7 top tips to support reading at home translations

7 top tips to support reading at home translations Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Getting transition right (part 1 of 2) – four practical, evidence-based strategies to support pupils moving from Year 6 to Year 7

EEF Blog: Getting transition right (part 1 of 2) – four practical, evidence-based strategies to support pupils moving from Year 6 to Year 7 Download PDF get_app

Systematic review of evidence on Continuing Professional Development: call for proposals

Systematic review of evidence on Continuing Professional Development: call for proposals Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Assessing learning in the new academic year (Part 2 of 2) – how school leaders can best support pupils to regain lost learning

Prof. Rob Coe looks at the role of quality assessment in helping teachers understand how best to help your pupils regain any learning lost during Covid-19 school closures.

EEF Blog: Assessing learning in the new academic year (Part 2 of 2) – how school leaders can best support pupils to regain lost learning Download PDF get_app

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion monitoring form

The EEF is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion monitoring form Download PDF get_app

EEF Blog: Assessing learning in the new academic year (Part 1 of 2) – three key questions for school leaders to consider

Prof. Rob Coe, looks at the different purposes of assessment to help teachers and school leaders think through what you want to put in place for the autumn.

EEF Blog: Assessing learning in the new academic year (Part 1 of 2) – three key questions for school leaders to consider Download PDF get_app

Chief Executive’s Letter: The National Tutoring Programme is a huge opportunity to support schools and pupils

Chief Executive’s Letter: The National Tutoring Programme is a huge opportunity to support schools and pupils Download PDF get_app

Covid-19 support guide for schools

Guide designed to help teachers and school leaders support their pupils

Covid-19 support guide for schools Download PDF get_app

​£350m National Tutoring Programme launched to support pupils in schools across England

​£350m National Tutoring Programme launched to support pupils in schools across England Download PDF get_app

National Tutoring Programme

Supporting schools to address the impact of Covid-19 closures on pupils’ learning.

National Tutoring Programme Download PDF get_app

Guest Blog: How can we support social and emotional learning during school closures?

Guest Blog: How can we support social and emotional learning during school closures? Download PDF get_app

Chief Executive’s Letter: Covid-19 has created the test of a generation

Chief Executive’s Letter: Covid-19 has created the test of a generation Download PDF get_app

Online tuition pilot launched as new EEF analysis finds school closures could undo recent progress on closing the attainment gap

Online tuition pilot launched as new EEF analysis finds school closures could undo recent progress on closing the attainment gap Download PDF get_app

Best evidence on impact of school closures on the attainment gap

Rapid evidence assessment examining the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap.

Best evidence on impact of school closures on the attainment gap Download PDF get_app

EEF publishes new evaluation reports, including pilot of early years app and school improvement programme

EEF publishes new evaluation reports, including pilot of early years app and school improvement programme Download PDF get_app

The EEF’s evaluation of Achievement for All: answers to key questions for teachers and school leaders

The EEF’s evaluation of Achievement for All: answers to key questions for teachers and school leaders Download PDF get_app

Supporting schools with evidence – EEF timeline

Supporting schools with evidence – EEF timeline Download PDF get_app

School Closures Rapid Evidence Assessment

School Closures Rapid Evidence Assessment Download PDF get_app

Using meta-analysis to explore the transferability of education mid-range theories to Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger

Using meta-analysis to explore the transferability of education mid-range theories to Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger Download PDF get_app

In addition, this week the EEF launched a new 11-week email series based on the guidance report – more than 800 people have so far signed up to receive the report in bite-sized chunks direct to their inbox. You can subscribe free here:

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