There has been a significant increase in the number of teaching assistants (TAs), employed by schools in England: from 60,600 full-time (FTE) assistants in 1997 (TDA, 2008) to almost 160,000 in 2010. These figures mean that TAs make up nearly one third of the school workforce. Factors contributing to this increase include the implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (DfES, 1998, 1999), the ‘Raising Standards and Tackling Workload' agreement (DfES, 2003), the wider inclusion in mainstream schools of pupils with special educational needs and the requirement of schools to provide extended provision (Ofsted, 2010) in the form of breakfast and after-school clubs.Ofsted (2010) reported that TAs commonly worked with lower-attaining pupils or those most likely to disrupt the lesson. These were also the pupils likely to be withdrawn from classes for specific intervention programmes. As a result, lower-attaining pupils spent considerably less time than other pupils being taught by a qualified teacher.