There are thousands of teachers across the country who will tell you how much harder their role would be if it wasn’t for the professional support and skills of the classroom teaching assistant.
The role of the TA has changed beyond recognition in recent years, with the modern role of the teaching assistant seen as a skilled specialist in the classroom.
Qualified TAs are highly sought after in schools and colleges so what do you need to become to a teaching assistant today?
Gone are the days when it about tidying away the glue and the glitter. The modern TA can have a whole host of responsibilities and specialist skills. They can work with students who are challenged by difficulties with speech and emotional development. They too can be the people with the skills to manage challenging behaviour in a way that allows everyone to access learning in the classroom. Among the many daily responsibilities in the classroom, they may also provide valuable social support outside of the classroom such as during lunch breaks or on trips.
The realities of being a TA
There are many realities to being a TA that some may not mention – the student who feels singled out by having a TA work with them or managing behaviour that is both challenging and complex.
Every school is different but on a daily basis you might:
- Supporting learners on a 1:1 basis
- Creating stimulating learning environments for learners
- Researching and booking life-changing school trips – and going on them!
- Hearing reading – lots of reading!
- Taking up tasks to free up the teacher such as assessment or preparing the classroom displays
- Promoting positive behaviour
- Pastoral support – helping young people grow and develop confidently and giving them every opportunity to reach their potential.
If you choose to specialise in interventions, you might be expected to:
- Deliver targeted teaching to small groups or on a 1:1 basis
- Work with or without a class teacher to design a program of interventions with a defined end goal
- Create bespoke teaching and learning plans for individual learners
- Work in short, targeted sessions to coach young people in curriculum skills
- Use formative and summative assessment methods to tailor interventions to specific learners
- Use a range of established schemes of work, as well as plan entirely creative strategies to fill learning gaps
- Assess and report on all learners in relation to the Age-Related expectation and individual progress.
- Deliver booster sessions to a range of year groups prior to exams
There are different levels applied to both TA work and TA qualifications. A Higher Level TA sometimes referred to as an HLTA, may coordinate cover for lessons when teaching colleagues are absent and deliver cover lessons too.
You don’t need any specific qualifications to become a TA, however you need to have a high standard of English and Maths (Preferably at least GCSE) regardless of what key stage you choose to support. If you have a specialism, it may be rewarding for you to aim for a school where you can support that area of the curriculum. Additional languages are also beneficial, but a hands-on attitude is the first place to start.
You may wish to consider taking the Level 1 Award in Preparing to Work in Schools or the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning if you are interested pursuing a career in classroom support.
If you want to progress within classroom support, your school may support you to qualify as a Higher-Level TA (HLTA). This is normally a series of stages via an NVQ qualification. From this stage, you can take more of an active role in planning lessons within the curriculum and carrying much more responsibility for the learning.
Good prior experience may come from working in childcare, nurseries, sports clubs, tutoring or youth work.
Want to find out more? Complete the form or call the Eteach recruiters now on 01276 674 150.
HLTAs will normally hold a higher level qualification. Other levels of qualifications will still see TAs acquire specialist and much-needed classroom skills, an array of which are covered as part of online teaching assistant courses from NCC Home Learning.
Why not become a specialist and skilled TA, offering an enriched learning experience for students?