Teaching assistants

1. Overview

Training and progression


There are many qualifications for teaching assistants (TA's). They include:

  • Modern Apprenticeships
  • National Vocational Qualifications
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant Status

Some go on to become qualified teachers.

Higher Level Teaching Assistant Status (HLTA)

HLTA are senior support staff with a greater responsibility. HLTA is a status, not a qualification. You must have

  • at least two years experience as a teaching assistant (TA) (or in a related post)
  • a Level 2 qualification in literacy and numeracy

You can find a test centre on the website of Learndirect.

Progression from TA to teacher

A TA role can be a useful step to becoming a fully qualified teacher. Many schools and academies recruit TA's with degrees to train them to become a teacher. A number of universities offer in-service degrees to become a TA.

More details on becoming a teacher can be found on our page:

Becoming a teaching assistant

Being a teaching assistant (TA) can be a very rewarding job.

TA's (teaching assistants) have an important role supporting teaching and learning in the classroom.

For example, they use specialist learning skills to support pupils and teachers to create high quality learning environments, help prepare lessons, and support pupils with their leaning, under the direction of the teacher.

For information on pay scales, visit our jobs pages.

TA's who have a degree may be able to progress to teacher training.

How can I gain experience or qualifications in order to become a TA?

Schools often have voluntary positions for people to gain classroom experience. Many volunteers also do the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. This replaced the Level 2 NVQ in Supporting Teaching and Learning.

To do the course you need to volunteer at least 15 hours a week in school. You’ll need the school’s support so you can meet the requirements of the qualification.

To find out about the qualification, contact:

What qualifications do I need to become a TA?

You don’t need formal training or qualifications to apply for teaching assistant posts. But experience of working or volunteering with children is an advantage.

You must be numerate and literate. It helps to have Level 2 qualifications in numeracy and literacy, such as GCSEs grade A to C (or equivalent). Some schools might also want a qualification, such as the Level 2 Certificate or NVQ mentioned above.

If you don’t have Level 2 numeracy and literacy qualifications, you can take them as an adult for free. Find your nearest study centre.

How do I find a TA job?

  • Find vacancies online – they’re listed under job type ‘support staff’ on our Jobs pages.
  • Check the local press – schools may advertise vacancies.
  • Contact local schools. You can find details of schools in East Sussex.
  • Progression from a TA