1. Becoming a teaching assistant
The role of teaching assistant (TA) can be very rewarding and for parents has the added bonus that the job fits in with school hours. Depending on the post, together with your qualifications and experience, full time pay can approach £18,000 pro-rata per year, although most support staff work part time.
Teaching assistants (also known as classroom assistants) have an important role in schools supporting the work of teachers. The TA will work in class with pupils as well as helping with administrative tasks such as preparing teaching materials, photocopying and collecting dinner money.
See the BBC Schools page How do I become a Teaching Assistant?
How can I gain experience or qualifications in order to become a TA?
Schools often offer voluntary positions in which those interested can gain classroom experience and confidence with the intention of taking up a paid position in the future. Many volunteers also undertake the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which has replaced the Level 2 NVQ in Supporting Teaching and Learning.
To do this course you need to be volunteering a minimum of 15 hours a week in school. Before deciding to do this, you must first gain the support and agreement of the school as they need to provide appropriate opportunities for volunteers to fulfill all requirements of the training/qualification.
See the BBC Schools page Volunteering in your child’s school
What qualifications do I need to become a TA?
You do not need any formal training or qualifications in order to apply for teaching assistant posts. TAs sometimes take up positions without any particular training or experience. However, because the calibre of applicants for TA positions is increasingly high, experience of working with children or young people is an advantage, even if it is voluntary work.
Schools expect TAs to be numerate and literate, and it is advisable to have Level 2 qualifications in numeracy and literacy, such as GCSEs grade A to C (or equivalent qualifications). Some schools might also want a qualification relevant to the occupation, such as the Level 2 Certificate or NVQ mentioned above.
If you don’t have Level 2 numeracy and literacy qualifications you can take adult qualifications for free. To find out your nearest study centre visit the Learndirect website.
To find out about training providers for the QCF Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools you can contact:
Sussex Downs College
How do I find a TA job?
See our page on Vacancies for teaching assistants.
Standards and Learning Effectiveness Service
Phone: 01323 463030