Teaching assistants work alongside teachers in the classroom, providing support for anything from helping pupils to read and write to administrative tasks.
Aptitude, enthusiasm and ability to relate to children are essential for a career as a teaching assistant. Patience and positivity are also beneficial as many jobs involve working specifically with special educational needs (SEN) children.
Beyond basic numeracy and literacy skills, no set qualifications are needed to work as a teaching assistant. However any experience of working with children, voluntary or otherwise, and qualifications in childcare (such as an NVQ) will enhance employment prospects. All teaching assistant jobs are subject to enhanced Criminal Records Bureau clearance.
Salaries are set by local education authorities and vary from region-to-region but typically range from £12,000 - £16,000 for general teaching assistants. Career progression to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant is possible after several years experience. This brings increased responsibility in the classroom and salaries from £16,000-£20,000. Top up allowances are usually provided for all teaching assistants who work with SEN pupils.
Both full and part-time teaching assistant posts are available, on permanent and fixed term contracts. Typical vacancy sources include specialist recruitment agencies, local council websites and local newspapers.