The Guardian is reporting that two new studies suggest teaching assistants have been shown to improve pupils’ attainment (after earlier research cast doubt on their impact).
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.
“With so many teaching assistants employed across the country, schools now have compelling evidence to make sure they’re using their own teaching assistants in ways that really improve results…”
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This research is a pivotal contribution to a critical debate: do the billions invested in teaching assistants make a real difference? The answer according to the EEF is yes, if schools deploy and support them properly…”
Read more detail on the studies from the Education Endowment Founcation at: ‘Compelling evidence’ to make sure £4bn spent annually on TAs is used to improve results
Read or download the EEF guide to the 7 steps to making the best use of TAs:
Your thoughts on the studies, the results, or the guidance from the EEF on the best ways for schools to use teaching assistants?
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