I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

Teaching Assistants ‘unsung Heroes’ Of Pandemic, Study Shows

According to a recent study by UCL Institute for Education, teaching assistants have been the unsung heroes throughout the pandemic. More than half of teaching assistants stepped up during school lockdowns to facilitate classes while teachers catered to remote learning. The report relied on data from over 9,000 teaching and classroom assistants across the UK, which revealed the crucial role TAs played in keeping schools open during the pandemic. Furthermore, 88% of TAs supported vulnerable and key worker children, with 51% managing a whole class or bubble on their own.

During lockdown, almost half of teaching assistants covered staff absences and enabled schools to stay open for vulnerable and key worker children. The UCL survey highlights that TAs were key in helping children learn from home and provided targeted support while picking up on the needs of individual children, especially for those working in early years and special schools. This group often found themselves in risky situations as they had close contact with children without personal protective equipment.

Despite being among the lowest paid workers in the UK, with a median income less than £14,000, TAs shouldered much of the responsibility for keeping schools open. The study found that 44% of TAs developed new digital skills during the pandemic, while a quarter of them had taken on new responsibilities without additional training.

The report’s authors indicated that TAs in schools have been crucial during the pandemic, and it would have been difficult to manage without them. The authors also noted that TAs worked hard, with increased workload during winter lockdowns resulting from the legal requirement to provide remote education to all children learning at home. Furthermore, increased stress and anxiety occurred due to TAs juggling many different tasks.

Unison head of education, Jon Richards, said that TAs played a crucial role in keeping schools running through the pandemic, and staffing ratios have been increasing, which led to an increase in workload for lower-grade employees, who are poorly paid. To help these employees, they need to be adequately trained and fairly remunerated for their work.


  • emmetthouse

    Emmett House is a 29 yo school teacher and blogger who is passionate about education. He has a vast amount of experience in the field and is always eager to share his insights with others. Emmett is a dedicated teacher who truly cares about his students' success. He is also an expert on using technology in the classroom, and is always looking for new ways to engage his students.

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