Teaching assistants (also known as TAs or classroom support assistants) are adults who support teachers in the classroom. Teaching assistants’ duties can vary widely from school to school, ranging from providing administrative and classroom support to providing targeted academic support to individual pupils or small groups.

Search terms: support staff; adult support staff; teaching assistants; associate staff; classroom assistants; auxiliary teachers; teachers’ aide; education paraprofessional

Puntuación de la evidencia

A number of systematic reviews of the impact of support staff in schools have been conducted. However, there are no meta-analyses specifically looking at the impact of TAs on learning. Overall the evidence is limited.

Información coste adicional

The average cost of employing a teaching assistant, including salary and on-costs, is estimated at about £18,000. Overall, costs are estimated as high.


1 - Alborz, A., Pearson, D., Farrell, P., Howes, A.

The impact of adult support staff on pupils and mainstream schools

Technical Report. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPICentre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.



2 - Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Koutsoubou, M., Martin, C., Russell, A. and Webster, R., with Rubie-Davies, C.

The impact of support staff in schools. Results from the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff project. (Strand 2 Wave 2) (DCSF-RR148)

London: Department for Children, Schools and Families



3 - Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C., Russell, A., & Webster, R.

The impact of support staff on pupils’ ‘positive approaches to learning’ and their academic progress

British Educational Research Journal,37(3), 443-464



4 - Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown, P., & Martin, C.

The role and effects of teaching assistants in English primary schools (Years 4 to 6) 2000–2003. Results from the Class Size and Pupil–Adult Ratios (CSPAR) KS2 Project

British Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 5-26



5 - Bowyer-Crane, C., Snowling, M. J., Duff, F. J., Fieldsend, E., Carroll, J. M., Miles, J., & Hulme, C.

Improving early language and literacy skills: Differential effects of an oral language versus a phonology with reading intervention

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(4), 422-432



6 - Brown, K. J., Morris, D., & Fields, M.

Intervention after grade 1: Serving increased numbers of struggling readers effectively

Journal of Literacy Research, 37(1), 61-94



7 - Burgoyne, K., Duff, F. J., Clarke, P. J., Buckley, S., Snowling, M. J., & Hulme, C.

Efficacy of a reading and language intervention for children with Down syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53(10), 1044-1053



8 - Butt, R. and Lowe, K.

Teaching assistants and class teachers: differing perceptions, role confusion and the benefits of skills-based training

International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(2), 207–219



9 - Duff, F. J., Fieldsend, E., Bowyer-Crane, C., Hulme, C., Smith, G., Gibbs, S., & Snowling, M. J.

Reading with vocabulary intervention: Evaluation of an instruction for children with poor response to reading intervention

Journal of Research in Reading, 31(3), 319-336



10 - Ehri, L. C., Dreyer, L. G., Flugman, B., & Gross, A..

Reading Rescue: An effective tutoring intervention model for language-minority students who are struggling readers in first grade

American Educational Research Journal, 44(2), 414-448



11 - Farrell, P., Alborz, A., Howes, A. & Pearson, D.

The impact of teaching assistants on improving pupils' academic achievement in mainstream schools: a review of the literature

Educational Review, 62.4 pp 435-448



12 - Gerber, S.B., Finn, J.D., Achilles, C.M. and Boyd-Zacharias, J.

Teacher aides and students’ academic achievement

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 23.2 pp 123-143



13 - Gorard, S., See, B. H., Siddiqui, N.

Switch-on Reading Evaluation Report and Executive SummaryEEF, London



14 - Gray, C., McCloy, S., Dunbar, C., Dunn, J., Mitchell, D., & Ferguson, J.

Added value or a familiar face? The impact of learning support assistants on young readers

Journal of Early Childhood Research, 5(3), 285-300



15 - Hatcher, P. J., Goetz, K., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Gibbs, S., & Smith, G.

Evidence for the effectiveness of the Early Literacy Support programme

British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(2), 351-367



16 - Mecrow, C., Beckwith, J., & Klee, T.

An exploratory trial of the effectiveness of an enhanced consultative approach to delivering speech and language intervention in schools 

International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 45(3), 354-367



17 - Mercer, C. D., Campbell, K. U., Miller, M. D., Mercer, K. D., & Lane, H. B.

Effects of a reading fluency intervention for middle schoolers with specific learning disabilities

Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 15(4), 179-189



18 - Miller, S. D.

Partners-in-reading: Using classroom assistants to provide tutorial assistance to struggling first-grade readers

Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 8(3), 333-349



19 - Moore, W. and Hammond, L.

Using education assistants to help pave the road to literacy: Supporting oral language, letter-sound knowledge and phonemic awareness in the pre-primary year

Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 16(2), 85–110



20 - Morris, D.

Using Noncertified Tutors to Work with At Risk Readers: An Evidence-Based Model

The Elementary School Journal, 106(4), 351-362



21 - Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D.

The effectiveness of the use of learning support assistants in improving the mathematics achievement of low achieving pupils in primary school 

Educational Research, 45.3 pp 219-230



22 - NFER

A Randomised Trial of Catch Up Numeracy® Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

EEF, London



23 - Ritter, G.W., Barnett, J.H., Genny, C.S., & Albin, G.R.

The Effectiveness of Volunteer Tutoring Programs for Elementary and Middle School Students: A Meta-Analysis

Review of Educational Research, 79 (3), 3-38



24 - Savage, R., & Carless, S.

The impact of early reading interventions delivered by classroom assistants on attainment at the end of Year 2

British Educational Research Journal, 34(3), 363-385. (Follow up of 2003 study)



25 - Savage, R., Carless, S., & Stuart, M.

The effects of rime and phoneme-based teaching delivered by learning support assistants

Journal of Research in Reading, 26(3), 211-233



26 - Swann, W., & Loxley, A.

The impact of school‐based training on classroom assistants in primary schools

Research papers in education, 13(2), 141-160



27 - Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A.

Repeated reading intervention: Outcomes and interactions with readers' skills and classroom instruction

Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 272



28 - Vadasy, P. F., Sanders, E. A., & Tudor, S.

Effectiveness of paraeducator-supplemented individual instruction beyond basic decoding skills

Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(6), 508-525


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