teaching assistants

This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by review groups linked to the EPPI-Centre. Systematic reviews of both quantitative and qualitative studies have investigated the effect of paid adult support in classrooms. One review used the term 'paid adult support'; another used the term 'teaching assistants' (TAs).

There is a widely held belief that teaching assistants (TAs) lighten teachers’ workloads, support learning and increase the level of pupil engagement, thus securing inclusion for pupils with special needs and raising standards. The National Agreement on workforce reform sets out plans to free teachers to focus on teaching and learning, and to develop the roles of TAs in schools; new teachers need to be prepared for working as part of a team. This requires information about the current roles of teaching assistants, and where they are most effective.

The initial review question used to explore and map the research literature was: What is the impact (both measured and perceived) of training on primary and secondary Teaching Assistants (TAs) and their ability to support pupils’ learning and engagement?
This systematic review was published by EPPI-Centre in 2007. Systematic reviews aim to find as much as possible of the research relevant to the particular research questions, and use explicit methods to identify what can reliably be said on the basis of these studies.