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Teaching assistants improve pupils' results, studies show

Research says students make additional two to four months’ progress when small groups get structured help from assistants.

Teaching assistants, whose contribution to learning has been called into question in recent years, have been shown to improve pupils’ attainment, two studies show.

Schools spend £4bn a year – or 10% of the total education budget – on 24,000 TAs, but some headteachers have cut back on numbers after previous research raised doubts about the impact of TAs on learning.

The latest research, however, shows that when TAs are used in a focused way – to deliver structured, high-quality support to small groups or individual children – pupils make an additional two to four months’ progress.

Evaluation of the two studies was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) charity, which says there is compelling evidence that should help shape the way TAs are used in schools to ensure they improve pupils’ results.

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