Are you interested in working in schools? Do you have a passion for helping students reach their potential? It sounds like a career in education would be ideal for you! Nevertheless, now you are looking into Teaching Assistant jobs, how do you go about becoming a Teaching Assistant with no experience?
Read on to find out!
What does a Teaching Assistant do?
There are currently 24,323 schools in the UK according to the Department for Education’s ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2019’ report. Of these, 16,769 are primary schools, and 3,448 are secondary schools. There are 2,319 independent schools and 1,044 special educational schools. These numbers are failing despite the shortage of educational facilities to keep up with our growing population. With class sizes increasing, teachers are struggling to find time to dedicate enough one-on-one support to students. This is why the role of a Teaching Assistant is vital to the successful running of the classroom.
Pupils must be guided and encouraged to reach their full potential. That is where your skills as a Teaching Assistant (TA) comes in.
Teaching Assistant duties may include:
- Encouraging young pupils while they read
- Supporting small groups of students in lessons
- Helping pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or English as a second language
- Supervising during school trips or sports days
- Preparing activities and learning materials for the day ahead
- Putting up displays and keeping the classroom tidy and disinfected
- Helping the Teacher with admin tasks such as marking students work
- As the classroom Teaching Assistant, you will have the opportunity to get involved at every stage of a lesson and make a noticeable difference throughout the day.
Seeing the children and young people you support, develop their skills and abilities over time makes careers in education uniquely worthwhile!
Learn more about the role of a Teaching Assistant here
How do I Become a Teaching Assistant, and what are the Teaching Assistant Qualifications I Need
Currently, in the UK, the only requirement for becoming a Teaching Assistant are GCSEs (or equivalent) of grade C or above in Mathematics and English.
This often means that there is competition for TA jobs, so making sure that you have the right certifications on your CV is essential. Also, check out our helpful guide
on making you CV noticeable to employees.
When hiring a new TA, schools prefer recent experience of looking after children of a school-age and any recent certifications to prove your experience in areas such as understanding autism, understanding children or young people's mental health and special educational needs (SEN).
How do I become a Teaching Assistant with no experience?
There are a few ways to gain the necessary experience to begin your journey to becoming a teacher; here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Find out what else makes a good Teaching Assistant
- Having your own kids counts! If you are already a parent, or you help a relative or friend by babysitting their kids, you can pop that down on your application as experience! No kids of your own? Score some major friend points by asking to help look after your friend’s children for a few months
- Volunteering at your local school during summer holiday activities, school outings or after school activities – If you have kids, ask if you can help during certain school events. With growing classroom numbers, teachers are grateful for any help they can get, and you will be able to build on that relationship when it is time to apply for a Teaching Assistant role
- Helping with local community activities and sports facilities, such as sports teams and dance schools – head over to your community hall to see what activities are available during the week and weekends and contact the various tutors to offer your help with the larger groups
- Assisting the local library with reading groups will help you gain many of the skills needed to be a Teaching Assistant - find your local library here.
- Helping out local families and children with online support will look great when it comes to applying for teaching roles. Look into advertising-free support in your local community to help out families struggling to teach their children from home. You can either make videos or helpful guides that the children can follow. Alternatively, go one step further and offer video calls with the families and offer your support or even present a full classroom-style lesson for the children. You will also be able to use this as a reference in the future.
- Teaching or coaching – are you skilled in areas such as music, sports, language or maths? You could tutor some pupils to gain experience while earning a few extra pounds while you are at it!
- Completing a work placement as part of a Teaching Assistant course – enrolling yourself on a course really shows schools you are committed to your career and you have the relevant experience needed to begin a successful career in the classroom.
What does the Teaching Assistant course cover?
Our comprehensive Teaching Assistant course covers the essential skills needed to begin your career in the education sector, including:
- TQUK Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in School
- TQUK Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Autism
- TQUK Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Children and Young People's Mental Health
There is also the option to upgrade your learning and earning potential with the additional qualification gained through our Professional Teaching Support course option:
- TQUK Level 2 Certificate in Special Educational Needs and Disability (RQF)
Upon graduating, you’ll feel confident looking for Teaching Assistant roles in a range of schools, knowing that you have the skills and knowledge needed to make a real difference to the lives of the pupils, the Teacher and become a real asset to the school.
Learn more about your journey to becoming a Teaching Assistant…