Pen Portrait: Jenni Bartlet

Studying for my Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies has been a tough but rewarding journey.  It has allowed me to gain a wealth of knowledge to help support my role as a parent and a higher level teaching assistant. But more importantly gaining a degree has allowed me to become a great role model for my children.


Over the last decade the composition of the teaching assistant workforce has changed dramatically (Morris, 2009). There is an abundance of research that depicts the effectiveness and impact of the teaching assistant. However, limited research has been conducted into the qualifications and personal benefits of academic development among teaching assistants. This research project focused primarily on the historical and changing context of the role of the teaching assistant and the benefits of additional qualifications on the teaching assistants themselves. It acknowledges the benefits for both the setting and pupils.

This project investigated the levels of qualifications held by teaching assistants and how qualifications were viewed by teaching assistants and settings. Findings identified that there is limited career progression for teaching assistants despite 91% of the workforce sample holding a level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or above. 21% of these hold a full BA Honours degree.

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