Support for students with special needs in primary schools can be provided by the employment of a teacher assistant. Using a participant action research and observation methodology, this case study examines the role of a teacher assistant in a regional primary school in New South Wales, Australia, to identify the effectiveness of this approach to student learning support. The study records the changing role of the teacher assistant, as the teacher assistant becomes increasingly involved in supporting general class programs in numeracy and literacy, and is used more widely in the classroom with other children and non- teaching-support activities. The case study identifies the need for professional development, including pedagogical training, for teacher assistants, if they are expected to undertake duties beyond the original duties of supporting children who have targeted funding to support their special learning needs. The study also finds that school practice audits need to anticipate the need for review of teacher assistant role statements.
Chaseling, M, Preston, J, Brown, L & Boyd, WE 2013, 'Teacher assistants support our students, but who supports our teacher assistants?', Special Education Perspectives, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 55-64.