Educational paraprofessionals: underpaid, undervalued and now over here

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Educational paraprofessionals have had an increased presence in English state schools since the first decade of the 21st century, but research has been limited in terms of who undertakes paraprofessional roles, what they entail and how such work is perceived by others. This paper compares one such paraprofessional role, the learning mentor, with the ‘community agent’, found in the United States of America during the 1960s. It identifies a number of similarities around the lived experience of this work in terms of status, career progression and policy assumptions about the efficacy of these roles. It argues that a historical analysis is invaluable in gaining a more complete understanding of how such roles have an air of impermanency, are subject to the vagaries of policy but nevertheless continue to be recycled as a limited and partial response to deepening social and educational inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-216
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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