Using your teaching assistants effectively

Get to grips with where best to place the teaching assistants (TAs) in your school to reduce teachers' workload and maximise pupil outcomes.

Last reviewed on 8 April 2024See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 8461
  1. In lessons: TAs should complement teachers, not replace them
  2. Outside the classroom: use TAs for short, sustained interventions 
  3. Before and after lessons: TAs can complete non-teaching tasks to reduce teachers' workload
  4. Find out how your TAs are spending their time
  5. Encourage teachers and TAs to communicate responsibilities
  6. Train TAs to maximise their effectiveness
  7. Clearly define the role in job descriptions 

In lessons: TAs should complement teachers, not replace them

Pupils should receive high-quality teaching to address their needs and struggling pupils should have as much time with the teacher as other pupils.

Rotate roles – the teacher works with 1 group on a task and the TA works with another. The next day, they rotate roles so all pupils get equal access to the teacher  Get involved with whole-class delivery – e.g. use TAs to write answers on the whiteboard, or demonstrate equipment. This will allow the teacher to maintain eye contact with the class  Provide 'teacher triage' – the TA identifies pupils who need further help with a task and flag this to the teacher  Prepare pupils for learning – the TA helps pupils prepare and get focused for the lesson Focus on additional objectives – the TA can guide pupils on supplementary whole-class

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