A teaching assistant’s (TA) main roles involve supporting children with their learning as well as supporting the class teacher with anything they may need. More precisely, they’ll help set up equipment and prepare the classroom, tidy up, support children with additional needs, assist the teacher with marking and a range of other tasks.
Now, you may be considering a career in education and wondering how you can become a teaching assistant. Below you’ll find a guide on the skills and qualifications you’ll need as well as what you can do to increase your chances of securing a role.
As basic entry requirements, you’ll usually need GCSE grade 9 to 4 (equivalent to A* to C) in both English and Maths, as well as basic literacy and numeracy skills for entry-level positions.
Although qualifications or a degree aren’t necessary to become a teaching assistant, they can be advantageous, as they demonstrate a level of competence and skill.
Some qualifications recommended by the prospects.ac.uk website to provide you with understanding of the sector as well as the skills you’ll need to work with children in a school include:
· Level 1 Award in Preparing to Work in Schools
· Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
· Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
There are other options, including apprenticeships where you will be working in a school during your training and be paid a salary.
It is important to note that each school sets different entry requirements, so make sure to check the vacancies to find out if you have what they are looking for.
As you’re working with children, you will need to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, also known as a criminal record check.
Working with children requires a range of skills, the most common being:
· a professional attitude
· good communication skills
· literacy and numeracy
· a willingness to learn
· basic IT skills
Having some experience under your belt prior to working as a teaching assistant will give you the confidence and understanding of what it takes to succeed in your role.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to acquire experience. Contact schools in your local area and enquire about volunteer work. Explain your career goals as well as what you’d be interested in supporting; this can be after school clubs, literacy lessons…
Childcare, tutoring and youth work are all valuable forms of experience. If you have done any of these in the past, make sure to add it to your CV as it shows schools that you have previously worked with children and that you are able to handle the responsibilities that come with working with children.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Once you secure a role you will usually undergo training courses to build on your skills and knowledge. They are great for understanding how to deal with and approach situations you may find yourself in.
When you register with us at Envision Education, you gain access to 14 great CPD courses which will develop your knowledge of particular areas and boost your confidence in difficult situations. They are normally worth £144.50, but are completely free for our candidates!
Hopefully you now have a better idea of what you need to become a Teaching Assistant. If you’re interested in becoming a TA but don’t know where to start, get in touch with us on 0208 771 1138 or take a look at our website for more information.