Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants

The EEF is working to support schools unlock the potential of their teaching assistants.

Previous research had shown that in many English schools teaching assistants are not being used in ways that improve pupil outcomes. However, recent research demonstrates that when they are well trained and used in structured settings with high-quality support and training, teaching assistants can make a noticeable positive impact on pupil learning.

The best available evidence on teaching assistants is presented in a new report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, published in Spring 2015.

A pack of free practical resources have been created to help schools implement the recommendations in the Making best use of Teaching Assistants guidance report. They have all been developed in collaboration with schools over the last five years. The resources either relate to specific recommendations in the report, or different stages in a suggested process that schools can use to reframe and rethink their use of teaching assistants (see ‘Acting on the evidence’ process). The icons in the right hand corner of the resources relate to particular recommendations in the guidance report or stages in the implementation process. 

We encourage you to read the guidance report in detail then work through the supporting resources in the order suggested.

Guidance report

The guidance report was published in Spring 2015 and sent to every school in the UK. The EEF funded a regional campaign in Yorkshire, details of which can be found  here. The guidance report makes actionable recommendations based on evidence. 

  1. Updated: 8th February, 2016

    1. Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants

    303 KB pdf - TA_Guidance_Report_MakingBestUseOfTeachingAssisstants-Printable.pdf

    A printable version of the guidance report

  2. Updated: 8th February, 2016

    2. Summary Of Recommendations

    27 KB pdf - TA_RecommendationsSummary.pdf

    A poster summarising the seven recommendations in the guidance report

  3. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    3. Ten reasons to improve the use of TAs

    87 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_10_Reasons_Why.pdf

    A poster on the importance of improving the use of Teaching Assistants

Resources relating to the 'Acting on the evidence' school improvement process

  1. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    4. 'Acting on the evidence’ process

    101 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_Acting_on_Evidence.pdf

    Refer to this school improvement cycle to manage changes in TA deployment and use. Contains key principles to support successful implementation.

  2. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    5. A self-assessment guide

    438 KB pdf - TA_RAG_self-assessment.pdf

    Assess current practice and monitor progress against the report's recommendations using the Red Amber Green (RAG) ratings.

6. Online audit surveys - survey teachers, TAs and senior leaders anonymously for their perspectives on your school's current use of TAs. 

  1. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    7. TA observation schedule

    121 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_Observation_Framework.pdf

    Collect data to aid your understanding of how TAs are deployed in classrooms across the school.

  2. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    8. Visioning exercise

    95 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_Visioning_Exercise.pdf

    Create a clear vision for your TA workforce. Define what great TA deployment and practice will look like in your school.

  3. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    9. Action planning template

    97 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_Action_Plan.pdf

    Structure your thinking around reframing the use of TAs, and develop action plan points to realise your vision.

  4. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    10. TA policy update

    239 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_TA_Policy_Template.pdf

    Create a policy articulating a shared understanding of TA deployment, use and training in your school.

Resources relating to recommendations in the guidance report

Recommendations I and II - Deployment of TAs in classrooms

  1. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    11. Teacher-TA agreement template

    325 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_Teacher_Agreement.pdf

    Support staff to develop and specify their coordinated, but differentiated, roles during lessons.

Recommendation III - TA's interactions with pupils

  1. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    12. Scaffolding framework

    435 KB pdf - EEF_-_TA_Supplementary_Scaffolding_Framework.pdf

    Help TAs scaffold pupils’ learning and encourage independent learning.

Recommendations V, VI and VII - TAs delivering targeted, structured interventions

  1. Updated: 29th September, 2016

    13. Interventions health check

    584 KB pdf - TA_Health_Check.pdf

    Consider how TA-led interventions are being delivered in your school in line with the research.

  2. Updated: 30th September, 2016

    14. Evidence-based TA-led literacy and numeracy interventions

    544 KB pdf - TA_Supplementary_TA_Interventions.pdf

    Adopt evidence-based TA-led interventions that have previously been shown to impact positively on pupil attainment.