Education Committee web forum: Teaching Assistants

The Education Committee invites views on the strength of the evidence in relation to the current policy on Teaching Assistants, their deployment and impact.

Thank you for all comments submitted to the ‘Evidence Check’ forum. The forum is now closed. Comments received will help the Committee evaluate the evidence received from the Department for Education.

The Committee will use the comments to select topics for one-off oral evidence sessions in early 2015.


Please read the Department's evidence on Teaching Assistants:

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16 Responses to Teaching Assistants

Julie Nash says:
December 04, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Deployed effectively, there is no doubt in my mind that Teaching Assistants can have a massivly positive impact on the progress of our most vulnerable children; allowing them to access the curriculum and feel confident that they are moving forward. By sitting beside children and using quality coaching and questioning techniques, our SEND students have made significant progress over time. In addition, a TA's ability to guide learning, whilst maintaining a distance to support the building of resilience, is invaluable. The key is ensuring the quality of the TA appointed.
Sally Bates says:
December 04, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Teaching Assistants are a very important part of our school team.
They play a vital role in ensuring that our SEN children access learning in a mainstream school. They also ensure that children who do not have SEN are able to focus on their learning, with a teacher , without being disrupted by our SEN or behaviorally challenged children. As a community school, non-selective, we want to ensure that all local children are able to learn in a local school.
Our TAs also work within classes to help support the learning of groups of children. Each TA has appraisal targets relating to pupil progress and this is monitored by their line managers. TA support is used to implement a wide range of teaching strategies that have been proved to raise standards. We have evidence for this and see this approach as critical in "narrowing the gap" in large classes.
Senior TAs are part of our leadership team and make a valued contribution. Within the school team TAs take part in residential trips and run after-school clubs. They are highly skilled and provide bespoke learning in areas such as ICT, library skills and are very effective in communicating with some members of our parent group.
Louise Adams says:
November 21, 2014 at 06:40 AM
Something is very wrong with the education system if a fully qualified teacher can not teach children on their own. Special needs children are the only ones that need extra support and this is the only area TAs should be placed.
Marnie says:
November 19, 2014 at 07:06 PM
TAs have been instrumental in supporting my two Sen children however even though children have a statement of supported hours and the funding associated with this schools use child specific support and deploy it elsewhere to save money. Such as class ta or one ta supporting 2 statemented children at the same time which is not what the funding is intended for. There is a lack of accountability within schools about what support they offer and how it is delivered.
Clare Newman says:
November 19, 2014 at 03:29 PM
At primary level I found the TA worked very well with my SEN child. However at senior school, there seems to be no method of checking on the work of the TA, they seem to be left to help whoever shouts loudest and not the statemented child. Also there seems to be no structure for reporting back to the SENCo exactly with whom and what work they have done in each lesson. No one seems to check that they are supporting the correct child - not just the disruptive one in the class - in the correct way and the areas of help covered. Surely it wouldn't be difficult for the TA to write who they helped and why at the end of each lesson and hand to the SENCo. Without this the class teacher and SENCo may think a child is doing well when in fact they are struggling and the TA is doing the work.
Julie Kent says:
November 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM
In my local school the reception teacher is also the SEN co-ordinator who has duties outside her classroom. This week she is not present in the class which is being led by a HLTA and a university student on placement. There are several very young 4 year olds (summer borns) in this class as the school puts pressure on families to adhere to a single point entry. This in spite of the fact that there is, on site, an outstanding (ofsted judgement) pre-school led by two graduate EYP's and staffed by well-qualified and experienced early years staff. I wonder why the belief is so strong that school is the best place for very young 4 year olds when this sort of thing happens? A teaching assistant (TA) even one with higher level qualification is not a qualified teacher and very rarely will have any early years experience or qualifications. A knowledge of child development, attachment theory, social and emotional development and behaviour management is essential, particularly when there are not the ratios of children to adults applied as in pre-school and nursery classes. Many schools do not regard the reception class as a priority or as important when considering staffing, yet it is the most important stage for laying down sound foundations for life-long learning.