Teaching assistants improve pupils’ results, studies show

The Guardian's Sally Weale reported on our new evaluation reports, quoting Sir Kevan as well as Russell Hobby and a representative from the DfE.

Teaching assistants, whose contribution to learning has been called into question in recent years, have been shown to improve pupils’ attainment, two studies show.

Schools spend £4bn a year – or 10% of the total education budget – on 24,000 TAs, but some headteachers have cut back on numbers after previous research raised doubts about the impact of TAs on learning.

The latest research, however, shows that when TAs are used in a focused way – to deliver structured, high-quality support to small groups or individual children – pupils make an additional two to four months’ progress.

Evaluation of the two studies was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) charity, which says there is compelling evidence that should help shape the the way TAs are used in schools to ensure they improve pupils’ results.

Sir Kevan Collins, EEF chief executive, said: “Teaching assistants have been much maligned in recent years and many schools have scaled back on their employment to cut costs. But today’s results prove that when they’re used to deliver small-group interventions, they can have a great impact on pupils’ attainment.

Read the full article here