http://www.theguardian.com/educatio...ssistants-improve-pupils-results-studies-show Teaching assistants, whose contribution to learning has been called into question in recent years, have been shown to improve pupils’ attainment, two studies show. Schools spend £4bn a year – or 10% of the total education budget – on 24,000 TAs, but some headteachers have cut back on numbers after previous research raised doubts about the impact of TAs on learning. The latest research, however, shows that when TAs are used in a focused way – to deliver structured, high-quality support to small groups or individual children – pupils make an additional two to four months’ progress. What a surprise. Mrs P and I are gobsmacked.