What you need to be a Teaching Assistant

We’ve heard many teachers confirm that a good Teaching Assistant (TA) can be the difference between managing your workload effectively or feeling overwhelmed with the volume of work.  It’s therefore no surprise that the role TA has evolved and become a recognised asset to the classroom.  Now considered a professional in education, a qualified and experienced TA is a key member of any school and a highly sought after member of the team.

Before exploring qualification levels for a TA, let’s briefly look at the personal attributes which successful TA’s possess, you may have some strong and weak areas to your personal traits but being aware of those areas can help you develop them.

  • Strong communication
  • Listen well
  • Ability to adaptable
  • Effective engagement
  • Demonstrate patience
  • Show empathy
  • Collaborative approach

Since the inclusion of TA’s in the educational workforce, several recognised qualifications and training courses have become available, here’s a synopsis of what’s expected.

Although you don’t need a degree to become a TA, you will be expected to have a good standard of education, with most schools stipulating GCSE level of education, with a grade C or above in Maths and English. Some TA posts may ask for specific qualifications in Science or Languages.

If your academic achievements were below standard in your early years and you’ve developed knowledge in your later years, there are specific TA qualifications you can take to demonstrate your competency.

  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma
  • Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 2 Teaching Assistant Certificate
  • Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools

The level 2 and 3 Awards are knowledge-based qualifications. In other words, you can complete these courses before starting work.  You can also continue to further your knowledge by studying these courses once you are in a post.

More recently, some schools have introduced numeracy and literacy competency testing. These are key areas within the academic syllabus and therefore a minimum standard is required but don’t be put off by this, there are many sample testings’ books available in order to familiarise yourself with the style of questions.

There are many different routes to obtaining qualifications from distant learning to on-the-job training, choose the route that best suits your personal situation.