Teaching on the cheap? Two in five TAs cover at least five hours of lessons a week

"I'm having to cover an average of 3 to 4.5 days a week on a regular basis. This is partly because of the lack of funds to employ the extra staff needed or a supply.”
Image: Adobe Stock

New evidence shows the extent to which teaching assistants are being asked to cover lessons and manage classes due to teacher shortages.

Survey findings (Webster, 2024) involving almost 6,000 teaching assistants in England and Wales finds that 39% are covering classes for at least five hours a week; a further 15% say they are leading full classes for at least 11 hours a week.

The study finds that 45% of the respondents are covering more classes this year than last, with many not simply supervising lessons, but delivering teaching.

National guidance states that support staff should not “actively teach” any classes they cover, but 75% of the teaching assistants said they have ended up teaching rather than supervising.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here