How To Become A Teaching Assistant
Training to be a teaching assistant or TA is a good option for anyone who enjoys working with children and is passionate about helping young people to realise their potential.
Teaching assistants help the teacher concentrate on the teaching. Working alongside a teacher, your role could include setting up equipment, putting up displays, focussing on individual children who are struggling or working with a small group on a particular project.
You could also help out at events like sports days or end of year shows. Some teaching assistants have a particular specialism, such as a second language or helping children with a special need or disability.
Literacy and Numeracy (GCSE or equivalent)
At present, there is no required qualification to work as a TA. Many TAs start out by volunteering. However, there are several recognised qualifications for TAs at Level 2 and Level 3 from a range of awarding bodies, including:
• City & Guilds
• Pearson (formally Edexcel)
You could also consider an NVQ Teaching Apprenticeship
Other Qualifications Needed
Ideally, you will have some experience of volunteering in a school or have worked with children before you begin a teaching assistant course.
A good place to start is by talking to a head teacher who will be able to tell you if there are any opportunities to volunteer at their school, perhaps by listening to pupils read.
Local Education Authorities (LEAs) usually advertise vacancies on the job pages of their website.
Average Working Hours Per Week = 40
Common Working Pattern
Time Taken To Qualify
1 - 2 Years
What Next/Career Development
Opportunities for work exist in nurseries, infant and junior schools, secondary schools and independent schools.
Experienced TAs could progress to become a senior assistant or achieve Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA) status.
Some TAs go on to become qualified teachers.
Facts And Figures
• Typically, there is 1 TA per 1.4 teachers in primary schools. In secondary schools there is 1 TA per 6 teachers.
(Source: Times Education Supplement, 2013)
• 80% of teaching assistants are on term-time or casual contracts.
(Source: Unison, 2007)