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8 months ago by Adam Haggag

How to become a Teaching Assistant with no experience

Serious Primary School Teacher Helping Girl Cope With Her Task

Interested in becoming a Teaching Assistant but not sure where or how to get started? Teaching Assistant’s play a crucial role in the learning and development of children and are vital in supporting and helping teachers manage their classroom.

This blog will tell you everything you need to know on becoming a Teaching Assistant, including the responsibilities, the qualifications you may need as well as the average salary and working hours. We’ll even show you how to start applying!

Roles and Responsibilities

Overall, the responsibilities of a teaching assistant are very similar wherever you go. They can however vary slightly depending on your status, experience and the needs of the school you work in.

For the most part, you’ll:

·         Prepare the classroom for lessons

·         Deliver learning activities in a one-to-one setting or in small groups

·         Support teachers with behaviour management of pupils

·         Make sure students are engaged throughout the lesson

·         Assist with events and outings

·         Take care of pupils who may have been hurt or had an accident

·         Prepare resources and other administrative tasks

·         Clean up after lessons and ensuring the classroom is tidy

There are more responsibilities you may need to undertake working as a TA, however, these are the ones you will generally carry out on a daily basis.

Working in a primary, secondary or SEN (Special Educational Needs) school will also affect the responsibilities you carry out. Often times, SEN is more demanding and you may be working in smaller classrooms or one-to-one, supporting a child based on their learning needs.

 

Qualifications you need

This is one of the first questions people have when looking to start their career as a Teaching Assistant. There is no straight answer, as this can depend on the school and other factors.

The only qualifications you initially need to become an entry-level TA are GCSE’s in English and Maths. This is mainly needed to demonstrate you have basic literacy and numeracy skills. You do not necessarily need a degree or a course, however they do come in handy and will make you more employable. Experience with children, whether it’s childcare, tutoring or youth work can also be beneficial.

If you’d like an introduction to the education sector, then consider one of these courses below which will prepare you and provide you with the knowledge needed to work with children in a school setting:

·         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.

Schools set their own requirements for vacancies, so make sure you take a look at each one carefully to see what they are looking for.

 

Becoming a TA

Becoming a TA is not always straightforward, as there are several routes you can take. We break down a few below:

·         College

College courses are popular options for those who want to gain a better understanding as well as gain a qualification. To be accepted into these courses, you are likely to need at least 2 GCSE’s. This number increases depending on the level of the course you decide to take.

These courses often take around 12 to 15 months to complete and involve a mix of practical and theoretical learning.

Visit the National Careers page to find courses available in your area.

·         Apprenticeships

With a Teaching Assistant apprenticeship, you can start work in a classroom setting almost immediately.

With an apprenticeship, you’ll be carrying out the general responsibilities of a TA, gaining hands-on experience, whilst also studying the equivalent of one day a week.

They last approximately 18 months and you’ll be earning money whilst learning. Salaries are above minimum wage, with an approximate starting salary of £15-19k per year.

·         Training on the job

You can sometimes secure a role and then complete training through your employer. Schools generally invest in TA training, equipping their teaching assistants with the necessary skills to handle learning difficulties and special educational needs.

 

Becoming a TA with no experience

It is possible to secure a role as a Teaching Assistant with little to no experience. You will however have to demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm and positivity so schools can see you commitment. There are ways to show these skills, including:

·         Completing courses (such as CPD Courses) – click here to see the list of CPD courses we offer candidates who register with us

·         Gain babysitting and childcare experience – preferably not family related as schools will ask you for a professional reference

·         Volunteer in a local school – click on the following link to find out why volunteering is a great way to start out

 

Salary

Teaching Assistant salaries vary depending on the role responsibilities and the educational setting (primary, secondary, SEN). The ‘Prospects’ website displays TA salaries as seen below:

·         Starting salaries for full-time level 1 TAs are generally around £18,300.

·         Level 2 TAs with more responsibilities can expect to earn between £18,800 and £19,000.

·         Experienced TAs, those with a level 3 qualification, or those with increased responsibilities can earn anywhere between £19,260 and £25,000.

Take-home pay is often lower as many TAs work on term-time or part-time contracts. Most schools follow the local government pay scale for support staff.

Use these figures as a guide, as they can range based on a variety of factors.

 

Working Hours

Working hours vary slightly by school, but for the most part you’ll be expected to work Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4pm.

Early mornings or late afternoons may be required if you are carrying out activities such as after school care or breakfast clubs. Additionally, you may need to work past your typical hours during trainings and parents evenings’.

Taking time off during term is often restricted, but half-terms and summer holidays are yours to enjoy.

Contracts can vary depending on whether you work part-time or full-time, as well as short-term contracts through education recruitment agencies. Our candidates normally start on short-term contracts which then lead to full-time employment in a school.

 

How can I start applying?

After reading this, you now have all the necessary information to decide whether a career as a Teaching Assistant is the one for you. If that’s the case, you’ll be wondering how to start searching for jobs.

It’s as easy as taking a look at our jobs page to find work in your local area! You can apply directly or give us a call on 0203 771 1138 to register with our agency.

Agencies make the job search easier for you. After registering, you will interview with one of our Resourcing Consultants who will find out more information about your experience and preferences. From there, we’ll clear you for work and place you in one of the many schools we work with across London & the Home Counties. Follow this link to learn more about our registration process!

If you’re unsure about using a recruitment agency, find out why using one is the best way to secure a job.