Teaching assistants: role and responsibilities

Understand the regulations around teaching assistant (TA) roles and responsibilities, including ‘specified work’, and learn about deploying TAs effectively using research from the DfE.

Last reviewed on 12 January 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 5638
  1. What work can TAs do?
  2. What responsibilities can TAs take on?
  3. Can TAs cover lessons?
  4. How to deploy TAs effectively

What work can TAs do?

Maintained schools

Teaching assistants (TAs) are ‘persons who may carry out specified work under supervision’ in schools under the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012. This means they can:

  • Plan and prepare lessons and courses for pupils
  • Deliver lessons to pupils
  • Assess and report on pupils’ development, progress and attainment

But they can only do this ‘specified work’ as long as they meet all of these conditions, as set out in the schedule to the regulations (paragraph 6):

  • They carry out the work in order to assist or support a qualified teacher or ‘nominated teacher’
  • They are subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified or nominated teacher as part of arrangements made by the headteacher
  • The headteacher is satisfied that they have the required skills, experience and expertise

An instructor with special