Routes to Becoming a Qualified Teaching Assistant

As the shortage of Teachers continues throughout the UK, Teachings Assistants (TA’s) are becoming increasingly important in the modern classroom. Being a TA is an active, hands-on role, and for some people volunteering in an educational establishment such as a nursery, school or college will strengthen their suitability for a permanent role as a TA.

Possessing key communication skills is the foundation to becoming a successful TA, along with training and qualifications, here’s some typical routes to becoming a TA:

On-The-Job Training
This mainly depends on the requirements of the school as in some cases TA’s initially participate in the classroom and then, if content, pursue a Teaching Assistant qualification. As TA’s are becoming increasingly important, due to the lack of teachers, some schools are investing heavily in training such as NVQ Teaching Assistant qualifications and see on-the-job training as solving an immediate resource need and future TA demands.

Distance Learning
The are many advantages to distance learning but self-discipline is the crucial factor because it will be up to you to set your own pace of study.  This is a perfect opportunity to gain an important qualification and at the same time enable you to plan study around your home and work life.

Colleges are flexible so do not be put off if you are currently in employment or have other commitments.  Find the college to suit you – most offer day and evening classes and normally run for 12 months.  It may be that you are presently employed by a school, if this is the case, then perhaps consider a day release to attend college.  Most Colleges offer:

  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Support Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • T Level in Education. 

Awareness Courses
A Teaching Assistant is no longer a passive bystander but plays a crucial role in the classroom and benefits hugely from awareness courses. Awareness courses prevent ‘a sit back and watch’ attitude. The role of a Teaching Assistant is developing in that they are identifying and managing behavioural problems of children – it is becoming a vital aspect of their role.

Awareness courses help to identify specific problems with children and maintain a high level of sensitivity, for example recognising autism, speech and language difficulties, dyslexia; also attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Hyperactivity and Deficit Disorder (ADHD) are two behavioural challenges that TA’s are expected to recognise and work with on a regular basis.

TA’s may also need to be qualified in working with English as an Additional Language (EAL), especially in areas where many diverse languages are commonplace.

TA’s can be the bridge between pupil and teacher and are often the person that children turn to with problems.  TA’s must therefore have an in-depth awareness of Child Protection procedures and are expected to keep the pupil’s best interests at the forefront of any issue at all time, whilst strictly adhering to the legal process.

If you are considering becoming a TA spend time exploring opportunities in nearby schools and speak to several TA’s to find out how they made the career journey. Alternatively, you can contact one of our team for an initial conversation, we’ll have an insight into working opportunities in nearby schools and have taken many TA’s on a career path.