01 June 2023

Review and refine roles, responsibilities, and expectations with staff and community

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Reviewing how teacher aides can support learning and wellbeing and improve attainment throughout the school’

Set a clear purpose

Set a clear purpose

Align the role of TAs explicitly with the vision of your school.

...rigorously define the role of teaching assistants and consider their contribution in relation to the drive for whole-school improvement.

These decisions on deployment are the starting point from which all other decisions about teaching assistants flow.

Jonathan Sharples, Rob Webster, and Peter Blatchford

Make explicit the value TAs bring

Make explicit the value TAs bring

Be specific about value teacher aides bring to your school, their roles and responsibilities, and how you will support them in their work.

Make expectations transparent

Make expectations transparent

The main role of a teacher aide is as an aide to a teacher or teachers.

Teacher aides assist teachers by carrying out a considerable range of tasks and roles including:

  • learning support
  • behaviour management
  • supporting student presence, social engagement, and peer interaction
  • supporting health procedures
  • assisting with physical positioning
  • administration.

A teacher aide may also be part of an individual student’s support team.

This team (family/whānau, teacher, RTLB, specialist, SENCO, and others)  collaborates to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a student. The teacher aide, guided by the teacher, actively supports the implementation of this plan.

Establish role clarity

Establish role clarity

Teachers have full responsibility for the inclusion, well-being, learning, and behaviour of all the students in their class. They are responsible for the planning, implementation, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of all students’ learning and behaviour.

Teachers are the leaders of all the adults in their class. They are responsible for structuring, guiding, and supervising the work of teacher aides. They neeed to regularly observe and give constructive feedback to teacher aides.

Learning decisions are made by the teacher, not the teacher aide. Teacher aides add value to, and do not replace, teachers.  They are part of the collaborative team around a student. They are not the team or the plan for a student.

Source: Teacher aides: Draft practice guidelines

Teacher aides: Draft practice guidelines

Clarify what TA funding covers

Clarify what TA funding covers

Avoid ambiguity by increasing transparency.
  • Teacher aide funding is a contribution towards learning and support for students.
  • Schools can use teacher aide funding flexibly to support the well-being, learning, and inclusion of students.
  • It is important that time is made available for teachers and teacher aides to regularly meet, train, plan, monitor, and evaluate together within a teacher aide’s hours.

Useful resources

Useful resources


The role of the teacher’s aide: Information for parents and caregivers

Read time: 4 min

This information sheet for NZ parents explains the role of teacher aides in schools.

Download PDF

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Review and refine the TA's role and responsibilities”:

Return to the guide “Supporting effective teacher aide practice ”