Although I am always pleased to see praise of support staff, I am also annoyed when the salary details quoted are for full-time equivalents. Many people fail to appreciate that TAs are classed as part-time workers and therefore the advertised pay is pro rata.
Under the conditions of my contract, your quoted average of #163;17,000 would be reduced to term time only (44 out of 52 weeks) and further reduced to account for part-time hours: 27 hours over five days would be normal. This equates to approximately #163;10,000 a year. A TA works out of love for the job, rather than for the salary.
A teaching assistant in a secondary school in Somerset.