Counting the cost of building an army of TAs

Much of the extra cash that was injected into schools was spent on teaching assistants – but are they value for money?

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Few predicted the explosion in the number of teaching assistants that began two decades ago. But it has had a dramatic and lasting effect on the school workforce, and on schools’ budgets.

Between 1997 and 2010, the number of teachers rose by 12 per cent – but teaching assistants more than tripled (from 60,000 to more 190,000). And an analysis for Tes by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows how the army of TAs continued to expand even after school funding started to dry up.

But was this the right area of education for government and schools to invest in?

On paper, the evidence basis for ...

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