How Teaching Assistants support the school outside the classroom


Teaching assistants have a pivotal role to play in school settings across the country, helping children to learn and develop as much as possible.

They account for more than a quarter of the education workforce in England according to official government data, with the full time equivalent of around 265,000 staff – a figure that has remained fairly constant since 2015.

In addition to providing valuable support to teachers within the classroom, a TA can provide plenty of assistance outside of it too…

Targeted support

Many teaching assistants in both primary and secondary schools provide targeted support for pupils outside of the classroom.

This can either be done during lunch or other breaks or by withdrawing pupils from lessons to enhance their learning.

Commonly, such approaches are used to support pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and educational, health and care (EHC) plans.

If these interventions are used, a TA can expect to provide anything from additional numeracy and literacy support, to lesson recaps, sensory assistance and any other guidance a pupil needs.

Extra help for teachers

Collaboration between teaching assistants and teachers is vital to providing the best possible learning environments for pupils, which means planning has a key role.

Teachers may opt to include TAs in their lesson planning, as this can ensure they are aware of the topics to be discussed and should ultimately help to boost attainment.

Reading these materials and understanding them will often be done outside of the classroom, and TAs who actively look to advance their knowledge will benefit both themselves, their school and pupils they support in the long run.

Other support roles

In addition to time in the classroom, teaching assistants may also be deployed in a supervisory role within the school.

This might include providing lesson cover and lunchtime supervision for some pupils while overseeing after-school clubs, sports events and school trips.

All of these actions help to provide a greater breadth of experiences for pupils, helping to enhance their understanding of subjects and boosting their health and wellbeing.

It’s important to note that the specific roles of a TA could vary wildly from school to school, although they should not be expected to do something if they are not qualified or knowledgeable.

Teaching assistants can also support their schools by following all of the necessary policies and by actively promoting positive messages around equality, diversity and inclusion.