Research evidence can’t offer certainties, but it can help school leaders make better decisions.
Public service union UNISON, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the National Education Trust (NET) and Maximising Teaching Assistants have published a set of Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants.
Originally commissioned by the Dept for Education in October 2014, the release of the draft standards was twice delayed before the Secretary of State decided not to publish them at all.
Following this decision in October 2015, representatives from a number of organisations interested in promoting the professional work of TAs, asked for and were granted permission by the DfE to endorse and publish the standards in place of the government.
The TA standards are non-mandatory and non-statutory, but they sit alongside the statutory standards for teachers and headteachers. They help to define the role and purpose of TAs to ensure that schools can maximise the educational value and contribution of adults working with pupils.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the school leaders' union NAHT, said:
"School leaders will welcome this publication, which helps to clarify and solidify the role of teaching assistants as a profession. Teaching assistants are an increasingly important part of the education workforce when effectively deployed".
The TA standards are additionally supported by recommendations made in the Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants guidance report, published by the Education Endowment Foundation.
One of the report's authors, Maximising TAs Lead, Rob Webster, added:
"These standards will be welcomed by school leaders and TAs alike. Taken together with our evidence-informed guidance, schools now have a comprehensive set of practical frameworks and actionable recommendations for transforming the way TAs are deployed and supported, and to help them thrive in their role".
The TA standards published in June 2016 were developed following the hard work of the original review team, led by Dame Kate Dethridge. Details of the original panel's remit and members can be found here. The draft of the TA standards was developed by UNISON, NAHT, NET and Rob Webster and Paula Bosanquet from Maximising TAs, in consultation with the London Leadership Strategy and schools-based practitioner, Maria Constantinou.