Teaching Assistants in United Kingdom

  • 09 Pages
  • Published On: 02-12-2023


Ideally, a teaching assistant means a person who helps teachers to reinforce what the teacher had introduced a new lesson to their students. Teaching assistants usually familiarize themselves with the material the students are learning in-class sessions. They typically review with the teacher what the teacher is likely to give his learners to understand and adequately explain the information to learners clearly. They may also help learners with research skills; help tutors by grading tests, assignment checking, and recording learners' attendance.

In the United Kingdom UK, the number of teaching assistants in schools has recorded an increasing rate (Graham et al., 2020). However, there is a contradiction because there lacks clarity about responsibilities being undertaken by such staff. In this essay, I will be reporting findings from a study investigating how learners understand a teaching assistant's roles and by teaching assistants themselves.


Over the last couple of years, there have been notable risers in the number of teaching assistants employed in primary schools and English classes. Since 1998, the number of special education needs awarded to primary school learners in mainstream schooling has increased rapidly; hence, increased absorption of teaching assistants. Typically, a statement is a document that sets out learners, special education needs, and any extra needed assistance that a child should be given. It further affords an institution funding, targeting that a child gets the support they need to learn. From 1998 to 2011, pupils who possessed a statement increased from one hundred and forty-three thousand to two hundred and twenty-four thousand, one hundred and ten. Even though that number of statements has remained constants, the number of teaching assistants has increased (Lundberg et al., 2019)

Several keys and interconnected literature bases require little investigation in response to overarching research doubts for this study. For instance, to what extent has the management of teaching assistants done to motivate learners' social inclusion identified with special education needs in mainstream primary-level schools. In the first literature, this paper will be examining the responsibilities of the teaching assistants at the primary level. Secondly, this section will be cross-examining the recent structure of teaching assistants and their influence, especially on roles. Lastly, this section will explore the current literature related to pupils' social inclusion characteristics identified by special education needs.

According to Sciberras (2020), the essential purpose of such a review is the term teaching assistants, and it explains all support staff who in one way or another help learner with studies. They may include Higher Level Teaching Assistants, HLTAs, and Cover Supervisors. Besides teaching assistants, TA undertakes a wide variety of roles within distinct responsibilities, and this section will further explore the term role through my writing. Hence, there are specific similarities between a TA's functions, making comparisons to be completed and rearranged fruitfully under one position. It is most suitable because it is an essential requirement for many primary schools. This is also appropriate due to all primary schools' necessity to design specific legal job elaboration for any TAs in their institution, including prioritizing teachers' assistant roles.

According to Knopf (2006), he argues that a literature review outlines and explains the structure of writings about a particular topic. Besides, the literature argues that training assistants' responsibility is somewhat different at the secondary level. A more significant variance influences this in classroom passage (O'Sullivan, 2010).

This paper will also be discussing the literature concerning the first of the three bases pertinent to my essay. While discussing the nature of the teaching assistants' responsibility in primary level mainstream in the UK, this section will focus on their roles and dynamics. According to Pallas et al (2019) advancements of teaching assistants’ role is an organ there. They further argued that tasks customarily assigned to teaching assistants are generally completed within the scheduled school program's constraints.

In primary school, teaching assistants usually have two prominent roles, helping the principal class teacher and providing a back up to children in learning. Over a period, teaching assistants' roles have evolved to comprise complex functions that are too complex to achieve in a given schedule. Functionally, a system of critical work of teaching assistants would be applied. Still, over a couple of critical of years, their role has intensified and reformed to incorporate small groupings of laborers and any other willing teacher-like personnel. Besides, the qualifications that a teaching assistant must hold have increased while the role available to them have remained the same where most of the teaching assistants are employed at levels one and two.

Teaching assistants as a profession has undergone many changes over time. For instance, learners are naturally diverse. Students usually learn at unique paces, possess distinct characters, and typically get educated in their manner (Boarin et al., 2020). Nowadays, teaching assistants are most probably expected to serve more students from different settings, engage learners who are either young or older than they are in the past.

There is also diversity in language. For example, in the UK, approximately 50 percent usually speak limited English while a proportion of twenty percent speaks basic Spanish. A teaching assistant handling these groups of students has to make instructions that are accommodative to all students. Few teachers can speak Spanish. Hence, it is a challenge.

In special educational needs have also recorded a slight reform or diversity. Inclusion of learners with disabilities into classrooms, mixing them with students who are not disabled is another factor that has led to variety in special educational needs. Other countries such as Canada have passed legislation that will guarantee free and better education for children with disabilities (Veriava et al., 2020). In this case, a person with a disability is any learner who has any disability whether the impairment can be seen or not. It further recognizes that such students require a special kind of treatment to grasp something in a classroom.

Many teaching assistants think that using computers and the internet as resources for teaching and learning is the exact definition of technology. Pedro et al (2019) argues that continued usage of these two tools has led to increased available information to learners. With advanced technology, accessing a piece of updated data is more straightforward; you can also access any subject on the internet, even with well-illustrated pictures or video. However, due to many reasons, advancements have not always been incorporated into teaching assistants' activities very fully (Kalender et al., 2019). This is because of insufficient computers for teaching. For instance, in some cases, you will find like ten students sharing one computer hence teaching a practical concept is a burden to teaching assistants. Many schools have a poor internet connection; thus, it is challenging TAs to teach their students to utilize the internet. Many schools are not able to purchase updated computers; therefore, they rely on old computers. According to Hargreaves & A (2020), public accountability has led to maximum high-stakes testing utilization. All learners in a region with strong responses for students who would like to further their education undertake trials.

There are several policies and regulations on teaching assistants (Joyner et al., 2018). The following are some of the professional teaching assistants' limitations published in the year 2016 by a group of experts and teachers. They should always have proper and learned regard for activities, regulations of the institution in which they are assigned as professional comrades of staff. They should also be committed to improving their practice through awareness and oneself analysis. They should also develop and maintain an efficacy association with the society of that school.

They are usually expected to share roles by ensuring that their comprehension and knowledge are relevant and advanced. They are further encouraged to associate with school leaders and other concerned stakeholders to better their effectiveness. A teaching assistant should always exploit opportunities so that they can acquire needed skills and experience. A teaching assistant should always respect the responsibilities of other staff. They should also accept that the opinion of everyone counts. They should be willing to work as a team with different school kinds of staff. They should be aware of their responsibility to share their understanding, which will always help them plan and make decisions (Squazzoni et al., 2020). They should be able to work with other comrades such as classroom teachers and specialist advisory teachers (Jandrić et al., 2020).

In conclusion, teaching assistants have greatly influenced the education sector. Due to their unwavering support, the education department has recorded an improvement. There are several suggestions that this paper will outline to help to solve some challenges as experienced by teaching assistants in their profession. To solve language diversity problems, this paper will encourage the concerned stakeholders always to regroup specialized foreign language TAs and other professionals. The TAs and teachers always have a planned program of assignments and lessons that their learners can easily digest. Both teachers and their TAs still maintain a record of the fundamental goals of learning of the scheduled calendar (Nickell, 2020). School management to organize for small contribution events that will raise money used to purchase many computers. This will reduce the unusual sharing of study computers in the library. Teachers ensure that their internet is well connected for smooth learning—schools ensure that their computer resources are updated frequently.

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