How to Become a Teaching Assistant

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Teaching Assistants play a vital role in school classrooms. It can be a highly rewarding and varied role, which sees you supporting children and young people and making a real difference to their lives.

If you are thinking about becoming a Teaching Assistant in Wiltshire or BANEs, but are unsure of what steps to take, this blog outlines the key responsibilities, duties and requirements to becoming a TA.

What do you do as a TA?

The responsibilities of a TA are many and varied, but here we have outlined the main responsibilities:

  • Supporting the Class Teacher to set up lessons and activities throughout the day.
  • Supporting groups or individual children with their learning during lessons
  • Taking groups of children out of class to deliver guided sessions.
  • Working alongside the teacher to manage behaviour of children.
  • Running interventions with children identified by teacher and SENCO
  • Hearing children read and supporting the with decoding words and comprehension.
  • Leading small phonics groups
  • Keeping records of assessments and reporting to teacher
  • Giving emotional support to children that are unsettled coming into school or during the day.
  • Liaising with parents
  • Printing resources, trimming worksheets, and creating engaging class displays.

Types of Teaching Assistant

Generally speaking, there are two types of Teaching Assistant (TA) role:

General Class TA

These roles tend to be based in one class supporting the class teacher and a variety of children in the class.

1:1 SEN TA

A 1:1 SEN TA’s main responsibility is to support an individual child who is likely to have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This means supporting that child to access the curriculum during lessons, running interventions and keeping track of the child’s targets.

Currently, the demand for 1:1 SEN TA roles tend to be higher than for General Class TAs. It is also worth noting that often General Class TAs will also work with SEN children while they wait for their EHCPs.

How to become a Teaching Assistant?

Most TA roles will require you to have GCSEs in English and Maths or equivalent qualifications in numeracy and literacy. This is vital as you will need to be confident when supporting pupils with their learning and explaining concepts.

If you have never worked with children or young people before, it is important to gain some volunteering experience. This allows you to get an idea of the school environment, role and see if it is right for you.

There are also several specific Teaching Assistant qualifications available. These are not essential, but can be beneficial in offering you a deeper understanding of chid development, behaviour management and SEND that will be help prepare you for the role. These qualifications also help you to stand out when applying for a role, as it demonstrates commitment and a solid background knowledge. Wiltshire College have a number of courses that are suitable for Teaching Assistants here.

Relevant skills and qualities

  • Adaptability: adjust easily to changing tasks and schedules.
  • Friendly, Outgoing, and Enthusiastic: a welcoming and lively approach.
  • Calmness Under Pressure: thrive in stressful situations, staying composed.
  • Strong Communication: proficient in both written and verbal communication.
  • Quick Thinking: capable of making swift decisions on the spot.
  • Empathetic and Attentive: caring demeanour with excellent listening abilities.

Securing your first TA job

There are many options when it comes to obtaining your first TA job. If you are new to the career, Apple A Day can support you by introducing you to local schools, explaining your experience and requirements. As well as long-term and permanent TA positions, we can also offer shorter contracts which allow new TAs to experience a variety of schools and year groups. This can be useful at the start of your career, as it allows you to better understand your preferred setting or specialism.

If you’d like our support securing your first position, then complete our application form or contact us to discuss options. Many of us have worked as teachers within schools in Wiltshire, so can offer insight and advice into the role of a TA.

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