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Teaching & Learning Assistant FAQs

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  • There are a variety of different titles that a teaching assistant can have. It really depends on the type of school that they work in and what their role is identified as being.

    You may find that a teaching assistant is also referred to as a classroom assistant, a learning support assistant. They may also be called a teaching aide.

    A good teaching assistant will be patient, calm and kind. They will be able to listen to children and support them in a variety of their daily tasks. A good teaching assistant is creative, friendly and organised. They are able to tackle a variety of tasks and get them completed to a high standard. 

    They will be able to identify key areas of learning and provide support to the children that need it most. Children within the school should feel comfortable to talk to their teaching assistant and view them as a trusted adult in the setting. 

    A good teaching assistant will also enjoy working with children and take great pride in being able to show them that they can learn and grow.

    If you want to gain experience as a teaching assistant, but there are no current roles available to you, then it is a good idea to try and volunteer in a local school. You can listen to the children read and help in a classroom setting. 

    There are a number of ways that a teaching assistant will support a teacher. They will be responsible for setting up the classroom and ensuring that it is neat, tidy and organised. The ideal environment for learning.

    A teaching assistant will also need to be there to support children during the day, helping them with their learning. This could be one to one or in as small group.

    A teaching assistant will be on hand to provide the teacher with insights on individual children and feel comfortable discussing some of the challenges and successes of that child in their learning.
    More often than not, a teaching assistant is simply there to ensure that the children have the support that they need to be able to learn, and that the teacher can focus on teaching, whilst their teaching assistant tackles some of the other things in class.

    If you want to become a good teaching assistant in the UK, then the best advice is to make sure that you learn as much as you can. This could be learning on the job, as much of the skills that you need to now are obtained. 

    It can also be using a variety of courses to increase your learning and give you the tools that you can then put into your every day working with the children. 

    Whilst you do not need to have a GCSE in maths to be able to apply to be a teaching assistant, it is usually asked that you have a pass mark of 4 or above (C) in GCSE maths. This is largely due to the fact that you will be required to assist with maths based learning and if you are in Key Stage 2, then this can often leave those who are not clear on their maths, a problem. 

    As a level three teaching assistant is able to take on more responsibilities than a lower level teaching assistant, it makes sense that they are found higher up on the pay scale. They usually earn around the £18,000 mark every year.

    A grade 4 teaching assistant is often referred to as a higher level teaching assistant or HLTA. These are responsible for all of the usual tasks that a teaching assistant is required to be carried out. However, they may also take on a lower level of teaching when they are required to. 

    The teaching assistant qualifications start at a level 2, if you want to take this one step further, then you can study for your level 3 qualification.

    A level 3 teaching assistant is able to support with a variety of classroom management tasks, including evaluating learning and behaviour plans and creating learning materials too. 

    In some schools, SEN teaching assistants will earn more than their standard teaching assistant counterparts. This is largely down to the fact that there is a higher intensity level in their job role, as well as a requirement for more training and experience. 

    It has to be said that the salary of a teaching assistant is not always the best perk, however, it is important to remember that becoming a teaching assistant is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can do.

    The knowledge that you are supporting the children in your school and providing them with the best level of education, in a safe space. That is one of the most worthwhile reasons to choose a teaching assistant as your job role.

    There are some teaching assistants who find that they want to take the next step on their career path and discover how they can become a teacher. Many schools and local authorities are happy to support teaching assistants whilst they train to become a qualified teacher.

    This may require the teaching assistant to study and obtain their degree, however, there are other methods that they can take to be able to gain the required qualifications, all whilst they are still working in their current teaching assistant role. 

    The salary of a teaching assistant is spread out throughout all 12 months of the year. This means that whilst they do not work through the summer break, they do still receive a wage. That said, this does not mean that they earn money as their salary is only applicable for the time that they work, however, is spread out over 12 months.

    If you do not have any experience with children, yet you still want to become a teaching assistant, then one of the best paths for you to take is to volunteer within the school that you want to work in (or any school that is in your local area).

    Whilst this is not a paid position, it does mean that you can say that you have worked with children in the past and give you valuable experience that can help you to get your career moving.

    Taking a qualification, such as the LearnQ Level 2 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools will help you get a paid position.

    If you want to become a TA, but you don’t have any experience, then the good news is that it is still possible to follow this career path. Whilst it is always great to have some relevant experience to show when you apply for a teaching assistant job, you don’t have to have any specific experience when it comes to becoming a TA.

    A learning support assistant is usually expected to earn around £19,000 per year. This is because they work with a child who has SEN and therefore will require a more intensive level of support during their school day.

    As an assistant teacher has much more responsibility than a standard teaching assistant, it makes sense that their salary is higher than a normal teaching assistant salary. Depending on where they work and how many hours they work in a week, there average salary for an assistant teacher is around the £21,000 mark.

    As a teaching assistant does not work a full time job as many other jobs would be, this means that a pro rata salary needs to be calculated. To do this, first you need to work out the weekly and hourly salary of the full time earnings.

    Once you have this information then you will be able to multiply the hourly rate by the number of hours worked each week. Once this amount is multiplied by 52, then you will have the pro rate salary that you can expect to earn.

    The salary that you can expect to receive as a teaching assistant will really depend on how many hours you work, where you are in the UK and also the level of experience and qualifications that you have as a TA.

    Teaching assistants who work full time on a permanent contract will usually start with a salary of around £17,364. This can increase to as much as £25,000 if they then take on additional duties.

    In order to become a teaching assistant, you will not need to have any formal qualifications (such as a degree or further learning). However, you will usually be required to have GCSEs in grade 4 (C) or above, in both English and Maths.

    If you want to have the best chance of getting a placement and standing out from the competition, plus offering the highest quality possible, you may find that a qualification that relates to childcare or working within an educational setting – such as the LearnQ Level 2 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools will be beneficial to your application.

    The terms learning assistant and teaching assistant often seem to be interchangeable and it is true that in many schools they are the same thing. However, in definition, a learning assistant is usually required to work with one child solely (often a child who has special educational needs) whereas a teaching assistant will be there to support the class as a whole.

    Both teaching assistants and learning assistants can both be found working in a classroom setting. They offer support to the teacher during their teaching, and they are there to ensure that the children within the class receive the very best level of education possible.

    Not only will they work with individual children on a one-on-one basis, but they will also be asked to work with groups for focused learning as well as support children during the class input and work to keep them on target and focused.

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