Pupils in England who receive intensive help from teaching assistants make less progress than their classmates, according to startling new findings from a government-funded, five-year study carried out by London University's Institute of Education. It examined test results from more than 8,000 pupils in 153 primary and secondary schools and found that in English, between 2005 and 2008, pupils who had the most support from teaching assistants made about a year's less progress than those who received the least support. Despite huge investment in school support staff in England, which reached pound;4.2 billion last year, the Government acknowledges that the effective use of teaching assistants remains "patchy".
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