Schools in the UK employ teaching assistants short or long term to assist with learning in the classroom or to provide additional remedial learning to groups of pupils.
Not all people with a degree are suitable for a TA job role as they lack essential skills to work with children. Classroom assistants require certain soft skills, commitment to the role and willing to help school students succeed in learning.
With a relevant undergraduate or post graduate subject degree you could work as a specialist TA in primary education or in one specific department at secondary school in England.
Primary & secondary school level 1-5 TA job roles don’t require a degree, although you can use a degree as its useful and shows you have transferable skills. You do require a degree as a subject specialist graduate teaching assistant at secondary school in England for English, maths, science, music, PE dance & drama.
What qualifications do I need to be a teaching assistant?
A TA level 2/3 certificate is useful & beneficial to work in a UK school classroom. To become a primary or secondary school teaching assistant you don’t require a TA qualification to start, although you’ll need maths & English GCSE or equivalent and transferable skills to work effectively with children and as a team.
You can start a school TA position as unqualified at 17-18 years old and they’ll train and support you towards a level 2-3 qualification.
All face to face or online coursework and workplace observations required to be completed for all levels of teacher assistant certification.
You can’t use you’re degree as prior learning or credit transfer towards level 2/3/4 teaching assistant UK qualifications, as it’s a work place assessment skills award., not an academic qualification.
Working alongside a teacher in a primary classroom school employers require a level 3 TA qualification enabling you to support the teacher and pupils learning effectively.
An advanced level 4/5 TA award at HLTA is required to take on more responsibility, teach classes or support small groups.
Do you need a degree to be a teaching assistant UK?
Almost all school teacher assistant job positions in Scotland, England & Wales don’t require a degree qualification, although it provides you with an advantage, skills, and shows schools you have determination to work & complete tasks on time.
Can I be a TA with no experience?
Secondary and primary schools in England & Wales do employ TAs without relevant work experience with children where you’ll receive on the job training.
They’ll look for soft skills such as good communicator, work well with children & others and a quick learner and adapting to the role.
England secondary & primary schools employ temporary F/T & PT graduates without experience as class teacher assistants in specialist role, such as:
- Music lessons and extra tuition.
- Physical education & sports activities.
- Dance & drama lessons.
- Science: physics, chemistry & biology.
- SEN learning support.
School graduate teaching assistant role
Schools recognise that certain graduates with relevant subject degrees coupled with good communication skills, high work ethic and willing attitude can assist and provide benefits to children’s lear
ning. Graduate TA’s work alongside teachers in class, other activities and providing 1:1 support to children’s learning.
A person that’s a graduate brings specialist subject knowledge & training into school classroom lessons providing a different prospective and level of support for learning than a TA without a degree.
Secondary school graduate TA
With a relevant degree you’ll normally be placed in one secondary school department such as science, English or mathematics working alongside teachers in the classroom. In lessons you’d be assisting a teacher, answer pupil’s questions and provide learning guidance.
Degree graduates with the right academic skills, knowledge and soft skills are sometimes recruited to work as SEN learning support teaching assistants. This role involves supporting one child with learning in the classroom and around school.
You’ll also be asked to provide small groups booster lessons when you have built up the required skills to help learners, all under the guidance & instruction of class teachers.
PE, music or dance and drama degree holders could be asked to assist as a teacher assistant in lessons, after school clubs & sports activities.
Primary school graduate TA
Graduates can work as general teacher assistants on temporary contracts or full & part time ongoing basis. You’ll be assigned to a class and teacher to assist with primary children’s learning in various subjects and activities.
At times teachers will assign you a small group of children to provide intervention learning with literacy, numeracy and science catch up lessons.
Why degree graduates become school teacher assistants
- Go on to another role in education working with school children.
- Train as a teacher with the experience acquired as a school TA.
- Complete newly qualified teacher training (NQT) after gaining more experience in the classroom.
- Use the class TA work experience for a future educational psychologist job role.
- Gain experience working in a classroom with children then become an unqualified teacher for 2/3 years.
Full & part time teacher assistant jobs
Job positions you see advertised as school class assistants vary from permanent full or part time to temporary jobs for one year or 2 terms. Each primary or secondary school employs TAs for specific tasks from learning support, specialist intervention TA to a general primary class TA assistant.
TA academic year working hours for many roles is term time only which could suit you if you have family and other life & work commitments.
Temporary school TA job
Lots of teaching assistant jobs offered by schools in England, Scotland & Wales are temporary to accommodate the needs of children’s learning and school requirements.
Schools do realise some class assistants at different levels and experience take temp jobs until a permanent role arises.
Equally a school will employ graduates with degrees who wish to take a temporary teaching assistant job position to gain work experience to transition to another role such as teacher training.
The degree graduate benefits from gaining valuable work experience in an educational setting with children, and the school & children benefits from the graduate TAs knowledge, training and skills in class lessons.