Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants Campaign

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

380,000 teaching assistants are employed across the country, at an annual cost of some £5 billion; but previous research has shown that in many English schools teaching assistants are not being used in ways that improve pupil outcomes.

However, recent research (including seven EEF-funded projects) demonstrates that when teaching assistants are well-trained within structured settings with high-quality support, they can make a positive impact.

This work is informing a £5 million EEF investment, focused on primary schools in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

1. Practical guidance: the EEF published its first guidance report, Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, in 2015. In 2016, we partnered with the TES to produce an online course for senior leaders in schools taking them through this guidance. Using a combination of text, video, curated links and downloadable documents, it aims to provide a clear understanding of what the guidance advocates, and how to make change happen in schools.

2. Local advocacy: the EEF worked with seven local advocate-partners in Yorkshire to provide support and training to up to 1,000 primary schools. This work completed in summer 2016. In Lincolnshire, rather than appointing local advocates, the EEF played a facilitation role within existing networks. Our Research Schools Network, launched in October 2016, is using the guidance report to deliver training to neighbouring schools.

3. Programmes support:To date £4.9 million has been committed – most of it on grants, but also including the guidance report, advocacy, and evaluation – to reach around 900 primary schools. Most of the EEF trials funded as part of the campaign will finish delivering to schools in July 2017.

Evaluating the Campaign

Sheffield Hallam University and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have evaluated the Campaign. A report integrating the findings from the process and impact evaluation, as well as the findings from the campaign in Lincolnshire, are available here.