How to become a teaching assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

College

You can take a college qualification to get started, for example:

  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • T level in Education

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this role through a teaching assistant advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Volunteering

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.

Direct Application

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 grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths.

You'll also need to show that you can work well with children, teachers and parents. A qualification in nursery work, childcare, playwork or youth work will give you an advantage.

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Career tips

Many teaching assistants specialise in the kind of extra help they give, for example languages, behavioural, pastoral or special needs support.

Further information

You can find more on working as a teaching assistant from Skills for Schools.

You can also search for jobs through the Teaching Vacancies service.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding for building good relationships with children
  • excellent verbal communication skills for motivating children to learn
  • active listening skills to understand the childrens' needs
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change for working on different activities
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • help teachers prepare lesson materials and equipment
  • get the classroom ready for lessons and clear away afterwards
  • work with groups and individual pupils to make sure they understand their work and stay focussed
  • watch, record and report pupils' progress to teachers
  • supervise group activities, including outings and sports events
  • provide a safe and healthy environment and follow safeguarding procedures
  • help teachers manage class behaviour
  • look after children who are upset or unwell
  • lead classes with help from the teacher

Working environment

You could work at a school or at a special needs school.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior assistant, apply for a higher level teaching assistant role or train to become an early years teacher.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

ATA - Teaching Assistant Apprentice ASD

  • Wage: £128.70 Weekly
  • Location: London

Courses In England

Diploma Level 3 STLS

  • Provider: VOCATIONAL TRAINING SERVICES CARE SECTOR LIMITED
  • Start date: 01 December 2020
  • Location:

Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

  • Provider: GLOUCESTERSHIRE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 January 2021
  • Location: Cheltenham

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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