chapter  3
10 Pages

Characteristics of TAs and their conditions of employment

In this chapter we provide information on the characteristics of TAs and other support staff, and their conditions of employment, during the period 2003 to 2008, when the school workforce remodelling and teacher workload reduction policies were implemented in English and Welsh schools. We begin by presenting a new typology of support staff, which, compared to previous categorisations, more accurately reflects the effect the workforce reforms have had on shaping new and existing support roles. We go on to provide some broad descriptors of support staff characteristics, in terms of their number, gender, age and ethnicity, and then we will begin to concentrate our focus on one category of support staff: teaching assistants. We will look at data on the qualifications and experience of TAs, before looking at elements of their conditions of employment (e.g. pay and appraisal), and how this affects how they feel about their job. This chapter will conclude by examining TAs’ hours of work – both paid and unpaid – which, together with the findings on TAs’ qualifications, provide the first component of the WPR model, which we use to explain the findings on TA impact described in Chapter 2. Table 3.1 shows the sources of data on which we draw for this chapter: the Strand 1 surveys (of which there were three biennial waves) and the more fine-grained data from the Strand 2 case studies.