Teaching assistants' views on their preparedness for teaching, following evidence-based changes to their role in school.

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores TAs’ views on preparedness for teaching; their views were sought following the implementation of evidence-based changes to their role in school. The way TAs are deployed in their role is an area of significant interest to this study and there is growing research that references changes most likely to support their effective deployment. Significant research examples that explore the views of teachers in their role exist, however, the views of TAs, in ways that they are deployed and prepared is less well understood.
Using an interpretative, qualitative approach this thesis explores TAs’ views from semi-structured interviews. Analysis of the data was made using a thematic analysis process to identify key themes from the TAs’ voices through the interviews. TA 1 to TA 12 is used to represent the 12 TAs who took part in the research. This study showed that, despite additional planning, liaison and feedback time there were occasions where the structures put in place had limited effect on TAs’ preparedness. Equally significant are findings that preparedness very much depended upon class teachers being on board with the process; if the liaison and planning time was undermined it subsequently led to the TAs being unprepared for their role. The study found that TAs were keen to keep and maintain relationships rather than report precisely what they had done or know. I also found that TAs often absorbed the time and space issues and sorted them out in the background, resulting in these issues failing to be addressed at a systemic level. Additionally, TAs sometimes used a more informal style of language to describe their experiences and roles in school; this may have had the effect of closing their voices down.
In response to these findings, implications for their management in school are explored, and ways of addressing identified issues are discussed so that TAs’ deployment is as effective as possible for the children’s learning. These outcomes, that elicit the TAs’ voice of their lived experience of the evidence-based changes made, add important information to what we already understand about the deployment of TAs to best effect their preparedness for their role.
Date of Award19 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorSally Neaum (Supervisor) & Clive Hedges (Supervisor)

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