Teaching assistant apprentices? English TAs' perspectives on apprenticeships in schools

Paul H Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This article explores teaching assistants’ (TAs) perceptions of suggestions that English schools should encourage large numbers of ‘low-achieving’ school leavers to become apprentice teaching assistants. It reports on a piece of qualitative research that aimed to capture teaching assistants’ views of these proposals. Semi-structured interviews were utilised to enable 44 TAs to express their views. These individuals were all enrolled on a foundation degree programme at a new university in the North of England. The findings of this research suggest that established teaching assistants’ reactions to apprenticeships are likely to promote a learning environment where an already restricted form of apprenticeship experience will be subject to further constraint. This article highlights the risks that vocational education and training (VET) of this type poses in terms of reproducing gender and class-based inequalities. It further maintains that diluting the meaning of apprenticeship learning to meet ambitious governmental targets potentially endanger the integrity of this form of learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367-380
    JournalJournal of Vocational Education & Training
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2010


    • apprenticeships
    • teaching assistants
    • workforce remodelling
    • work-based learning
    • youth training
    • social reproduction


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