If you’re already employed as a teaching assistant (TA), you’ll know there are certain traits employers will be looking for when advertising jobs. If you’re new to the field and are considering either training or volunteering, you’ll need to be clear on the tasks involved and also what qualifications may be required.
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In most cases, applying for a teaching assistant job takes care and a great deal of time. CVs are rarely accepted and schools now have a duty to ensure the best candidates are employed. Competition can sometimes be fierce, so you must ensure you stand out from the crowd. Before you apply for a job, think about the following:
- What exactly is the TA role you are applying for and what does it entail?
- What qualities/skills is the school looking for?
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What will the school be looking for in a teaching assistant?
Most TA roles will include some of the following traits, so have a think about them and whether you are suited to a role like this:
- Numeracy and literacy skills
- Excellent communications skills – writing and verbal.
- Enjoy working with children (consider what age group, if any).
- Maintain a positive ethos within the school.
- Commitment to equal opportunities.
- Understanding and good knowledge of children with developmental needs.
- Experience with students with learning difficulties(in some cases multiple learning difficulties).
- Can motivate children.
- Can work as part of a team and follow instructions.
- Ability to cope with students who have physical difficulties or challenging behaviour.
- Excellent punctuality and attendance.
- Ability to complete admin tasks.
Most TA job opportunities these days will require evidence of some of the above in the form of a Level 2 or 3 Certificate/Diploma qualification or by work experience at the very least.
What tasks will I be carrying out?
No two job specifications will be the same, but if you’ve been applying for TA roles regularly, you’ll notice a trend in typical tasks required. More specialist roles will require specific skills, but the example below will give you an idea. Can you see yourself being part of the team?
- Supervising outdoor/indoor play and recreation activities.
- Involvement with activities in the wider curricular (visiting swimming pools, sports centres etc)
- Helping to prepare classrooms, setting up equipment and sometimes preparing lessons with the teacher.
- Assisting children in wheelchairs if necessary.
- Observing students and communicating to the teacher.
- Recording progress of students as required.
- Preparing display material throughout the school.
- Participating in training.
- Promoting equal opportunities, positive behaviour and attitudes.
- Contributing to the preparation of teaching resources.
- Maintaining a safe and tidy environment.
Filling in the application form
Most TA jobs will require filling in a formal application form, which you can download or request via post.
- Before picking up a pen, read through the form to familiarise yourself with what is being asked of you.
- List on a separate piece of paper your experience and skills to use as examples of how you meet the requirements of the job.
- Make a draft of your answers beforehand.
- Focus on your strengths and not weaknesses.
- It is essential there are no spelling mistakes! Would you employ a candidate who can’t be bothered to check their spelling?
Can you answer this question, using examples:
“Drawing upon your experience, skills, abilities and qualifications explain what makes you suitable for this position?”
Typical job descriptions
As of autumn 2013, there are a vast number of TA roles being appointed. If you are looking to become a TA, it’s essential you familiarise yourself with the tasks at hand. There are many iterations of a TA’s job description, as many will be specific to the needs of the school, but listed below are recent examples:
Teaching assistant role example 1
The role below specifies a QCF qualification and offers part time or full time work within school hours. A QCF level 3 could be encouraged and paid for by this school as it promotes training, which is common for TA roles.
Salary: £11,500 – £15,500
Contract type: Full Time/Part Time
Contract term: Permanent
QCF Level 1 or Level 2 required
35 hours – Actual Salary Range from £13,500 – £15,500 pa (Term Time Only)
30 hours- Actual Salary Range from £11,500 – £13,500 pa (Term Time Only)
Are you a graduate or just looking for a great opportunity to work as part of a welcoming, talented and highly motivated team in London? We welcome applications from graduates wishing to gain experience in a school. All of our graduates have successfully gone on to PGCE courses.
We would like to appoint a member of staff with:
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- The ability to work as part of a team
- Excellent organisational skills
- Excellent networking skills
- A proactive approach
- Good numeracy and written skills
Not only do we offer the chance to work in a supportive role and put your ideas into practice, but also continued training.
Teaching assistant role example 2
This role is contractual, so not guarantee of a permanent role after the contract ends, but it means working with primary school children and requires an NVQ level 3 before applying. Contractual jobs can lead on to permanent roles if funding is available. They take career development into account, so the successful candidate can look into gaining the HTLA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) qualification.
Salary: £220 – £350 per week
Job Type: Contract
We would like to welcome an accomplished Teaching Assistant to apply for this role in Newcastle.
Our school encourages pupils to achieve well and leave well prepared for the future. They build on their excellent start in the nursery so that they reach standards that are above average in reading, writing and mathematics.
We are looking for Key Stage 2 Learning Support Assistants who will use their initiative and build up an excellent rapport with the children as well as staff within the school.
The successful candidate will:
- Support children throughout all areas of the curriculum
- Help pupils boost their learning
- Assist with preparation
- Liaise well with parents
- Maintain pupil records
- Provide extra support to children with special needs or those who speak English as an second language
- Uphold the rules of the school
You may also be required to undertake administration tasks such as handing out/collecting papers, photocopying, light marking and putting up/taking down displays
- Competitive rates for Teaching Assistants
- Continued career development
- Weekly pay
As DfE Quality Mark holders, we require all primary teachers to have a fully enhanced DBS check, minimum of two references plus a face to face interview.
You must hold a NVQ Level 3 or above for this role.
For teaching assistant jobs, visit the TES Connect website