The impact of training on teaching assistants' professional development: opportunities and future strategy

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This paper draws from a study into the impact of training for teaching assistants (TAs), additional adults deployed to support children and teachers, in one urban local educational authority in England. The objectives of the study, commissioned by the local educational authority, were to identify training and professional development for TAs and to determine the impact of training on children’s achievement and TAs’ professionalism so as to inform future strategy for the content and delivery of continuing professional development for TAs. The evidence gathered through questionnaires and interviews suggests that the training is varied, localised and dependent on in-school factors. Furthermore, while training has the greatest impact on the personal sense of achievement of TAs, it seems to have little or no impact on their career progression, pay and job recognition. With regard to the impact on children’s learning, TAs and line managers are positive about the effectiveness of training; however, lack of systematic monitoring and accountability are barriers to TAs’ career progression and effective deployment. Despite the good intention of past reforms, the evidence shows that the training for TAs is still ‘a patchwork quilt of provision … about which there is continued and serious concern’ (Cajkler et al. 2006, p. 30).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages17
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • future strategy
  • professional development
  • teaching assistant
  • training
  • workforce reform


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