Why Teaching Assistants are so important to children and their development


Teaching assistants have a key role to play in making a positive difference in classrooms up and down the country.

Students can thrive in a safe, nurturing and happy environment, and creating this relies on support both in and out of the classroom.

Teaching assistants provide this help, enabling pupils to reach their potential, at both the top and bottom ends of the learning spectrum, across primary, secondary and SEN education.

Here we’re delving a little deeper to discover just why teaching assistants are so important to children’s development.

The teaching assistant workforce

More than 460,000 full-time equivalent teachers work in England’s schools, according to the latest school workforce data from November 2020, and they’re supported by more than 271,000 full-time equivalent teaching assistants.

These staff are employed in regular schools and in SEN education to provide support in lessons to both groups and individuals.

Many will often work closely with teachers to support the delivery of lessons, and may also assist with planning and other elements to ensure that all pupils, and especially those with SEN, are catered for.

Such support helps to reduce stress among teachers and can help to limit disruption in the classroom too, creating a better learning environment for all.

Helping pupils to reach their potential

For pupils in SEN education, teaching assistants help them to make the most of whatever learning opportunities are on offer.

They are best placed to structure tailored interventions and to discuss topics with pupils to ensure they understand what they are learning.

Various research from the Education Endowment Foundation has suggested that these types of structured intervention can result in three or four months of additional academic progress among pupils with SEN.

Working in small groups for part of a lesson is most beneficial as it can help to connect a child with their learning and can encourage them to push themselves further to reach their potential.

Spotting those that need support

If children are struggling in the classroom with certain topics then teaching assistants are often best placed to notice.

Where children are not getting involved in class activities, possible have low self-esteem or are being disruptive, they can provide encourage and guidance.

In primary school settings, teaching assistants play a key role in the transition into secondary school too, helping to motivate them and prepare them for what to expect.

A teaching assistant can also provide support in secondary school settings, helping those who need to better their understanding and motivating those with high attainment to maximise their ability.

Ultimately this helps to drive better results for pupils, so if you enjoy working with children and want to help them achieve their potential, a teaching assistant could be just right for you.

Support outside the classroom

As well as help in the classroom, teaching assistants have a vital role to play in children’s development out of it too.

They may be asked to attend meetings within the school and to assist with parent’s evenings and other events.

On top of this, they help to make school trips and other activities possible, further enhancing the learning potential of pupils in the process.

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