PublicationsSystematic reviewsPaid adult supportPaid adult support - teacher
The impact of paid adult support on the participation and learning of pupils in mainstream schools. Teacher perspective

The views expressed in this review are my own. While writing I have in mind my Learning Support teacher colleagues, SENCOs, senior staff responsible for whole school inclusion issues and all my class teacher colleagues dealing with inclusion issues at 'the chalk face' . I am also thinking of teachers working on postgraduate studies/continuing professional studies within their schools and in association with higher education institutions.


This report documents the findings of a 'systematic review of international literature… focusing on the key question of whether and how support staff in classrooms have an impact on pupil's learning and participation in schools and classrooms'. The results of this comprehensive, detailed survey are then presented as a series of four 'clusters'- each cluster exploring a dimension of the elusive notion of the 'impact' of classroom support. Full details and value ratings of the texts which lead to the chosen clusters are given in the second section of the report together with detailed research methodology. The length of the bibliography illustrates just how extensive this review of the literature has been.


After reading an article which stemmed from this review in Support for Learning recently, (Howes, 2003) I was thrilled to be able to read the original piece of work. It is a gift to all those many researchers working away in schools trying to assess the affect of classroom support. It is a very thorough review indeed and the bibliography will prove to be a very good starting point for many a busy researcher.

From the viewpoint of those involved in special educational needs (SEN) management in schools, there are a number of important issues raised regarding the management of this burgeoning number of support staff in schools:

  1. Effective use of teaching assistants (TAs) - the review presents the range of TA activities in schools.
  2. Assessing the 'impact' of these TAs and other paid adult support.
  3. Management of the paid adult support in schools - there is a useful discussion of the pros and cons of a variety of strategies found in the literature.
  4. Training and continuing professional development (CPD) for Paid Adult Support.

The details of the literature covering these areas will prove very useful to those looking to make informed management decisions in schools.

The whole report is meticulous in its detail and as a result is a very lengthy. Those looking for a summary of the findings will find most of what they need in the results and conclusions sections detailed on pages 3-10. The bibliography is on pages 54 to 61.


Howes, A (2003) Teaching reforms and the impact of paid support on participation and learning in mainstream schools. Support for Learning 18: 147-153.

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