NEU advice for head teachers, teachers, teaching assistants, governing boards and employers

In October 2014, the Department for Education (DfE) set up an independent panel to draw up new standards for teaching assistants.

Back then, the DfE were extremely upbeat about the need for teaching assistant (TA) standards to complement those for teachers, saying “it is timely to establish new standards for all TAs in schools that reflect the diversity of the existing schools landscape and encompass wide-ranging responsibilities in a self-improving system”.

However, despite the draft standards being completed, the DfE decided not to publish them stating that

“schools are best placed to decide how they use and deploy TAs, and to set standards for the TAs they employ.”

All concerned, including the unions, were extremely disappointed with this decision, and the underhand way in which it was announced in a written response to a parliamentary question from an opposition education spokesperson. There was no consultation or communication with members of the panel.

In spite of the Government’s back-tracking on the standards, the unions representing support staff decided to issue the teaching assistant standards, and to urge all stakeholders to promote and adopt them, as appropriate.

Who is this advice for?

This guidance is for: 

  • teaching assistants, teachers and headteachers
  • governing boards and employers 
  • local authority support services

These new standards should be applied to all teaching assistants in schools, working at all levels.  

Support staff
Professional standards for teaching assistants

Unions representing support staff have issued these teaching assistant standards for all stakeholders to promote and adopt.

These new standards should be applied to all teaching assistants in schools, working at all levels. 

Further information

Teaching assistant deployment
Education Endowment Foundation (2015). Guidance report: Making effective use of teaching assistants

Standards for higher level teaching assistants

Teaching assistants – careers, training and development

Teachers’ standards

Head teachers’ standards