This article discusses the interim findings of a three-year ongoing research study that investigates the professional roles and personal experiences of teaching assistants who are also doing a Foundation Degree. We explore the perceptions of teaching assistants to question the official rhetoric and almost mandatory optimism surrounding Foundation Degrees and the skills culture promoted by the government in England. We show that Foundation Degrees are not necessarily regarded as `real degrees' by those who undertake them and they can be seen in an instrumental way that resonates with information, training and doing, rather than with knowledge or education. In making our analysis we also note that across groups of both primary and secondary teaching assistants there was a level of disillusionment regarding notions of professionality, status and views on becoming a teacher following a Foundation Degree. This rejection of teaching as a potential career was accompanied by a tangible resistance to the present emphasis on standards and standardized models of curriculum delivery.
- lifelong learning
- professional development
- standards agenda
- support staff
Dunne, L., Goddard, G., & Woolhouse, C. (2008). Teaching assistants' perceptions of their professional role and their experiences of doing a Foundation Degree. Improving Schools, 11(3), 239-249. https://doi.org/10.1177/1365480208098175