- Support children and teachers to make sure learners are able to make the most of their education
- You'll need a caring and supportive nature and the ability to build good relationships with children, teachers, and parents
- Progress into teaching or other education and support roles
Teaching assistants provide support to teachers and learners in schools, helping to ensure that every learner is able to make the most of their education. Many teaching assistants specialise in extra areas of support, for example in languages, and physical or learning difficulties.
- Getting the classroom ready for lessons and clearing away afterwards
- Listening to children read or reading to them
- Helping children who need extra support
- Helping teachers prepare materials that match development needs
- Supervising group activities, including outings and sports events
- Helping teachers manage class behaviour
- Looking after children who are upset or unwell
- Leading classes with help from the teacher
Most teaching assistants work from around 8.30am to 3.15pm or 4.15pm, and you may be able to work part time. You may also need to attend meetings and training outside these hours.
Most teaching assistant jobs are based in nursery, primary and special schools, but you could also work in secondary or independent schools and academies.
You can apply directly for jobs through schools, local authorities and academy trusts. Each school sets its own entry requirements, though you'll usually need GCSEs in English and maths.
You'll also need the ability to build good relationships with children, teachers and parents, organisational, planning and IT skills, the ability to manage children and cope with challenging behaviour, and creativity to design materials and activities.
You can take a college qualification to get started, such as a Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, or a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education. You could also do a T level in education.
Or, you can get into this role through a teaching assistant advanced apprenticeship, or an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in supporting teaching and learning in schools.
You could get experience by volunteering in a local school or community organisation. This can sometimes lead to paid work or a chance to get relevant qualifications.
You'll also need to pass a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - your employer will normally arrange this for you.
With experience, you could become a senior assistant or apply for a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) role. You could also train as a teacher.