Rose, R. and O'Neill, A. (2008) The changing roles of teaching assistants in England and special needs assistants in Ireland: a comparison. REACH: Journal of Special Needs Education in Ireland.22(1), pp. 48-58. 0790-8695.
When reporting on those conditions which they perceive as necessary for the inclusion of students with special educational needs, teachers often refer to the importance of additional adult support. The deployment of teaching assistants in England and special needs assistants in Ireland has been regarded as an important factor in supporting national policies for inclusion in both countries. This paper reports on research which through survey and interview methods investigated the working practices of these colleagues and discusses the different approaches to their deployment in schools. It is suggested that whilst there are clear distinctions between the role of the teaching assistant in England and the special needs assistant in Ireland, both play a distinct and essential role in the development of inclusive schooling. The paper considers how two distinctive models of classroom support have emerged and the different ways in which they impact upon inclusion. Consideration is given to the changes which are taking place in the development of classroom teams and the ways in which this may impact upon current and future inclusion agendas