Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants in Primary Schools
A Practical Guide for School Leaders
Drawing on the lessons from one of the world’s leading research and development efforts involving teaching assistants (TAs), this book is the authors’ most authoritative text yet on how to design a whole school plan to improve TAs’ deployment, practice and preparedness, and put it into action. The authors use robust theories and original research to explore an innovative and integrated approach to making the most of TAs, and recognising the valuable contributions they make to the classroom and the school.
Structured around a unique and empirically sound conceptual framework, this book provides essential principles, practical tools and workable strategies, developed through collaboration with hundreds of UK schools. It focuses on ensuring TAs can thrive in their role, and presents the tools and techniques needed to do so accessibly, and is illustrated with case studies on school and classroom practices.
Essential reading for all primary school leaders and SENCOs responsible for training and managing TAs, this book is also a useful resource for teachers and teaching assistants looking to optimise the TAs’ contributions.
Used in combination with The Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Effective Interaction, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants in Primary Schools is a comprehensive and unrivalled guide to supporting school workforce improvement.
Table of Contents
1. The Case for Change: Why Primary School Leaders Need to Rethink the Role and Contribution of TAs 2. Setting Your Vision 3. Implementation Journeys: The Most Important Chapter of this Book 4. Reviewing Current Practice 5. Supplementing, Not Replacing, the Teacher: Deploying TAs Differently 6. TAs’ Interactions with Pupils: Scaffolding for Independence 7. The Preparedness of TAs: Improving their Readiness for the Role 8. Maximising the Impact of Structured Interventions Delivered by TAs 9. Conclusions TA Deployment Summary Teacher-TA Agreement Template
Rob Webster is an Associate Professor at UCL Institute of Education, London. He researches and writes about special educational needs and inclusion, and he developed the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants programme.
Paula Bosanquet is a Senior Teaching Fellow in special educational needs at UCL Institute of Education, London. A former primary teacher, she has worked extensively as a trainer with teaching assistants, schools and local authorities.
Sally Franklin was a Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education, London, and now works as a SEND consultant, supporting schools in the UK and internationally.
Matthew Parker was a Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education, London, and now works as a school improvement consultant and expert advisor for inclusion.
"Any leader looking to maximise the impact of teaching assistants in their school should read this book immediately. Reassuringly, there are no ‘silver bullets’ or quick fixes, but instead countless practical strategies underpinned by years of detailed research. Rather than simply providing a list of ‘what works’, the authors go deeper and show how schools have made these changes work. Crucially, they clearly understand schools, and are realistic about how lasting change can be brought about. I have no doubt that this book will quickly be seen as the definitive guide to deploying teaching assistants effectively." - James Bowen, Director of Policy, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Director of NAHT Edge
"Never before has it been more important for senior leaders to strategically and effectively deploy teaching assistants. This excellent book provides an essential and accessible summary of key evidence and research with practical recommendations for busy school leaders. The journey to maximising the impact of TAs lies within!" - Maria Constantinou, Co-Headteacher, St Mary’s CE Primary School, Barnet, London
"Rob Webster and the MITA team have had a profound impact on TA deployment and practice across the country. This book will be no less transformative. Drawing on the latest research, with accessible and practical examples throughout, it should be mandatory reading for all primary school leaders." - David Bartram OBE, Director, Prescient Education Ltd
"Primary schools invest a huge amount of time and money into teaching assistants, and rightly so. But do schools and school leaders make the most of this investment? This book is the most authoritative review I know of how to harness the talents and potential of this crucial part of our school workforce. Rooted in research and lessons learned from the large scale and respected MITA programme, it draws together key principles for success, offering really helpful examples of these principles being applied in a range of contexts. The authors are at pains to point out it not a manual; rather, it is a set of ideas that school leaders can implement in a way that works in their context. There is a deep acknowledgement running through the book that strong change processes are crucial here: the what and the how both matter. I cannot recommend this rich resource highly enough." - Andy Buck, CEO, Leadership Matters
"Based on leading research, Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants in Primary Schools is a practical and extremely relatable insight into how schools have successfully developed and embedded the valuable contribution of TAs. This book is the ultimate read for any primary school leader looking to develop a whole school approach to effective TA deployment. Superb!" - Natalie Packer, SEND Consultant and former adviser, SENCO and primary headteacher
"As Daniel Willingham says: "Our brains privilege story." This valuable addition to the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants library sees Rob and the MITA team expertly narrate authentic school experiences of leaders, bringing evidence alongside the strategic deployment of TAs in their schools. The insights generated and shared in this great book reflect and tell the real stories of in-school implementation. The journeys continue..!" - Andy Samways, Director of Unity Research School