So you want to work as a Teaching Assistant!

Many people like the idea of working with children and young people and like the idea of working school hours to fit in with their own family and home commitments. The role of a TA is very demanding and does require a certain set of personal skills and qualities as well as appropriate qualifications. Often you will be employed to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as this can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. SEND can affect their behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends and need some extra 1-2-1 support to help them settle into the classroom. You may support children with reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia and require specialist support to reduce the impact this makes to their learning. Some children struggle with their concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD and need constant 1-2-1 support to keep them focused and remain on task. Some TA’s support children with a physical disability where they may require some personal care in addition to learning support.

In some cases if child has SEN if he or she has much more difficulty learning than others of the same age, or a disability that makes it hard to benefit from the facilities generally available in local schools they may attend a Special School. Special education provision is ‘additional to or different from’ what is usually provided for children of that age. As a Teaching Assistant you may be required to provide 1-2-1 Support for a child with a special need or disability in this type of setting.

What does the role of a Teaching Assistant involve?

Teaching Assistants support students in many environments from nurseries, primary, secondary and special schools. Supporting the teaching and learning of the students lies at the heart of the role of the TA and day to day duties could include some or all of the following:

  • getting the classroom ready for lessons and clearing away afterwards
  • listening to children read or reading to them
  • helping children who need extra support
  • helping teachers prepare materials that match development needs
  • supervising group activities, including outings and sports events
  • helping teachers manage class behaviour
  • looking after children who are upset or unwell
  • leading classes with help from the teacher
  • Assist with some lesson planning under supervision of the Teacher
  • Assist with the supervision of pupils out of lesson times, including before and after school and at lunchtime
  • Accompany teaching staff and pupils on visits, trips and out of school activities as required
  • You will have a strong personality and be able to ‘think on your feet’ during high-pressure situations.
  • Supervise and provide particular support for pupils, ensuring their safety and access to learning activities.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of Individual Education/Behaviour Plans and Personal Care programmes
  • Establish constructive relationships with pupils and interact with them according to individual needs.
  • Promote the inclusion and acceptance of all pupils
  • Encourage pupils to interact with others and engage in activities led by the teacher
  • Set challenging and demanding expectations and promote self-esteem and independence
  • Provide feedback to pupils in relation to progress and achievement under the guidance of the teacher

What personal skills do you need as a TA?

You will need the ability to build good relationships with children, teachers and parents and have excellent organisational, planning and IT skills. You will also need to have the ability to manage children and cope with challenging behaviour! In addition to holding excellent people skills, you will be required to support teachers with display boards and lesson planning so the ability to work creatively in order to design materials and activities is essential. Above all else you will need a sense of humour!

What Qualifications/Experience will I need to work as a TA?

  • At least 12 months’ work experience as a TA or Learning Assistant
  • GCSE in Maths and English at Level c or above
  • Level 2/3  in Childcare or equivalent qualification

What Compliance checks will I need to undertake before I work as a TA?

As you will be working with children and young people you will be subject to some specific checks under the DFE’s rules of compliance when working in the education sector. These checks include an ID and eligibility to work in UK, a work history and reference check for the last 2 positions you have worked in and a DBS Check to ensure that you hold no criminal convictions that would stop you from working with children. You would also need to show proof of your childcare or TA qualifications.

Still interested?

If you feel that working as a Teaching Assistant is still for you and you would like to pursue a career in this area then you are in the right place! We support qualified TA’s gain supply and permanent work in Cumbria through our education recruitment service and also offer apprenticeships in the sector for those people who are yet to hold the relevant qualification. If you would like more information about either of these routes then please get it touch today on 01228 530554 to find out more. Alternatively email lyndsey.sisson@system-people.co.uk