In this article we look at how relevant qualifications help with job search
As a teaching assistant you’ll support teachers and help children with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. Your exact job will depend on the school and the age of the children.
Your job can include:
– Getting the classroom ready for lessons
– Listening to children read, reading to them or telling them stories
– helping children who need extra support to complete tasks
– helping teachers to plan learning activities and complete records
– supporting teachers in managing class behaviour
– supervising group activities
– looking after children who are upset or have had accidents
– clearing away materials and equipment after lessons
– helping with outings and sports events
– taking part in training
– carrying out administrative tasks
You’ll also support children with particular needs, working with them individually or in small groups.
In some schools you could have a specialism, such as literacy, numeracy or special educational needs (SEN). If you are bilingual, you might do more work with children whose first language is not English.
At secondary level, you’re likely to concentrate on working with individuals and small groups and, depending on the subject, you may help with ‘practicals’, for example in science.
Teaching assistants are also called classroom assistants or learning support assistants.
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
As a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) you’ll have more responsibility. This can include:
– working alongside teachers to support learning activities
– helping to plan lessons and prepare teaching materials
– acting as a specialist assistant for particular subjects
– leading classes under the direction of the teacher
– supervising other support staff
– You’ll also assess, record and report on the progress of children you work with.
– Working hours and conditions
Full-time teaching assistants work up to 40 hours a week, during term time, with a typical day starting between 8.30am and 9.15am and finishing around 3.15pm to 4.30pm.
You might also take part in other activities such as school outings, staff meetings and training, which could mean working extra hours. Many teaching assistants work part-time.
You would work either in the classroom, or with individual children or small groups in a separate room nearby.
Salaries for full-time teaching assistants are between £13,000 and £18,000 a year.
Salaries for full-time HLTAs can start from £16,000 to £21,000 a year. Senior HLTAs can earn from £21,000 to £25,000. This will vary depending on the Local Education Authority (LEA) and the responsibilities of individual jobs.
There is no national pay scale and wage rates are set by each LEA. Teaching assistants who work part-time, or are paid only for term-time, earn a proportion of full-time rates. This is known as pro rata payment.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Individual schools set their own entry requirements and decide which qualifications and experience they want. You can get an idea of what you’re likely to need by looking at jobs advertised locally or by checking your LEA’s vacancies online.
Previous qualifications in nursery work, childcare, playwork or youth work can be useful for finding work. If you have enough experience of working with children or can show employers that you have the right personality and potential, they may take you on and train you on the job. Volunteering to help in a local school for a few hours a week is a good way to start.
The following qualifications are also available for those not yet employed in the role, and for those just new to the job, whether paid or volunteering:
– Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
– Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
Most paid jobs will require you to have qualifications in literacy and numeracy at GCSE or equivalent.
Before you can begin working with the children, the school will carry out enhanced background checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).