ASCL comment on NFER report on teaching assistants leaving to work in better paid roles

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which shows that teaching assistants are taking second jobs or leaving education to work in better paid roles.
“School leaders are fully aware of how valuable teaching assistants are. They provide vital support to teachers in the classroom, as well as to pupils who require additional help. As this report makes clear, the problem is that school budgets are under huge pressure and it is very difficult to afford the costs of paying for teaching assistants. When ASCL surveyed more than 700 school and college leaders last year, 92% of respondents reported difficulties in recruiting support staff. As worrying as this figure is, it is simply a result of education not being adequately resourced to the extent that teaching assistants can easily earn more money elsewhere. The problem is likely to have only got worse in the last year as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
“There is a crisis of recruitment and retention across the education sector and support staff are just one part of this. Schools need to be given funding to enable them to pay all members of staff appropriately for their work. Until this happens, education will continue to lose leaders, teachers and support staff to other industries.”