Between inclusion and improvement: evidence and the politics of teaching assistants in England

Susann Hofbauer, Peter Kelly, Anna Beck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In England's education policy agenda, improving the quality of teaching is more than achieving educational standards, international excellence or reducing the performance gap. An essential aspect is the provision of support through teacher assistants. They have become increasingly important as a result of the inclusion policies since the 1970s and the efforts to reduce workload in the 2000s. Educational researchers have broadly evaluated the use and effectiveness of teaching assistants. This research particularly highlighted the negative effects of teacher assistants on the academic achievement of pupils with special educational needs. A further study problematised the use and pedagogical arrangement of teaching assistants and included consideration of whether they are needed. It is shown that the production and reception of 'evidence' can become directly relevant to practice. Beyond that, however, ‘evidence’ also legitimises educational policy decisions, which can lead to an increased pressure for justification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVermessen? Zum Verhältnis von Bildungsforschung, Bildungspolitik und Bildungspraxis
EditorsDavid Kemethofer, Johannes Reitinger, Katharina Soukup-Altrichter
Place of PublicationMunster
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
EventÖFEB Kongress 2019 - Linz, Austria
Duration: 17 Sep 201920 Sep 2019


ConferenceÖFEB Kongress 2019


  • evidence-informed politics
  • toolkits
  • teacher assistants
  • English education policy

Cite this