Deans Lecture Series 2016 #1: Peter Blatchford

Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants: Lessons from the UK

Melbourne Graduate School of Education Dean's Lecture presented by Peter Blatchford, UCL Institute of Education.

Over the last 15 years, teaching assistants/aides have become a central part of United Kingdom schools, and now comprise a quarter of the schooling workforce. Assistants often provide one-on-one and small group support for low attaining pupils and those with special educational needs. However, results from the large-scale five-year Deployment and Impact of Support Staff project directed by Professor Blatchford, showed that pupils who received the most teaching assistant support consistently made less progress than similar pupils who received less support.

Professor Blatchford will detail the project's results, which will have had a big impact on the deployment of teaching assistants in the United Kingdom and shown the need to fundamentally rethink their role and maximise their impact. He will raise clear implications for policies of inclusion for school leaders, and issues about the role of classroom talk in scaffolding learning.