Helen Ward reported in the TES on the Education Endowment Foundation’s first evaluations, with new evidence on the impact of teaching assistants.

Children struggling with reading and maths make significant progress when given as little as 30 minutes’ individual attention a week by a teaching assistant, research has revealed.

Primary school students who received two 15-minute maths sessions a week made three months more progress over the course of a year than their classmates, according to a study published today by England’s Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Children who were helped with their reading for 20 minutes a day for just 10 weeks made similar progress. One school reported that the reading ages of its students leaped by as much as four years in 10 weeks.

The positive findings come after previous large-scale studies declared that teaching assistants made no difference to student attainment and could have a negative impact when working with lower attaining children.

Dr Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said the evaluations were the first step in creating an evidence base to improve results. “In the past, many schools have struggled to train and support teaching assistants in ways that benefit children, particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” he said.

“These studies suggest some promising ways to change that. The results show that when a group of schools come together to test something, we can generate knowledge that is hugely valuable to all schools.”

Read the full article here.

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