In this chapter, we shall see that there is a general lack of preparedness for both teachers and TAs, on both these aspects, and this contributes to our explanation of why TA support negatively affects pupils’ academic progress. The DISS project results show that teachers lack training on how to organise and manage TAs, even though more and more are involved directly in their training and line management. The problems in finding enough time for planning and feedback, especially in secondary schools, add to the difficulties faced in terms of the day-to-day preparedness of TAs and the teachers who deploy them. This general picture is not only in line with most other studies (e.g. Butt and Lance 2005; Howes et al. 2003; Lee 2002), but extends them; for example, in this chapter we will see how TAs’ goodwill (described in the previous chapter) is essential in allowing time for teachers and TAs to meet. As we develop the second expression of day-to-day preparedness, we will note how subject and pedagogical knowledge are important aspects of what it means to be a ‘prepared’ TA, ready and equipped to support pupil learning in everyday classroom conditions. The data in this chapter is drawn largely from responses to the teacher and support staff questionnaires (SSQ) (see Table 4.1). The survey data provide the broad detail, but
our deeper understanding of how preparedness impacts on TAs’ effectiveness in teaching and learning contexts is developed by drawing on the rich case study data. We will look at the two forms of preparedness in turn, beginning with training for TAs.