Schools have a range of student ages in year groups from 3-18 years old that receive learning from teachers and backed up by teacher assistants (TA) in primary school and booster lesson in secondary.
You can choose a full or part time job as a TA, possibly to gain work experience with children to train as a teacher or a long term class assistant to HLTA starting after you leave school. Thousands of primary and secondary schools n the UK from Wales, England N Ireland & Scotland employ class teaching support assistants to work alongside teacher or provide 1:1 support for pupils learning.
16, 17, & 18 year olds can be a teaching assistant in UK primary & secondary schools with an apprenticeship or employed directly by a school or local authority. TAs at 16-17 years old can get a school job with no experience & train on the job while gaining a level 2/3 TA qualification.
You can become a teaching assistant at 16, 17, 18 years old
Minimum age to become a school teacher assistant in UK is 16 years old, where England primary & secondary schools employ 16, 17, 18 years olds as TAs directly, apprenticeship training, college course or volunteering gaining work experience for a future career.
A school class assistant providing support for pupils learning at 16, 17 years old is useful, although limitations apply to what roles you are allowed, and can undertake on your own. At 18 years old as a TA you can perform all tasks or complete duties any older TA support undertakes in school with children and learning as you’re legally 18+.
Primary schools provide greater opportunities for 16-17 teacher assistants or unqualified TAs as you work closely alongside a teacher or experienced class assistant. An advantage of younger school TAs in primary school is children see you as closer to they’re own age, and its possible you can build working relationships better than some older class assistants.
Special educational needs (SEN) roles as a school TA are accessible to 17-18 year olds at primary & secondary school in England where you provide 1:1 assistance with an individuals learning in all subjects or help in a class with a teacher.
Volunteer at 16, 17, 18 years old in a teaching assistant role to gain work experience with children in a school learning environment could help with applications for a future career as an education psychologist, initial teacher training or child services. The TA role would be unpaid, although in return you acquire valuable experience & transferable skills, TA insight and a reference stating you’ve worked successfully with children’s school learning.
TA basic personal traits you require
- Good literacy & numeracy skills
- Work well under pressure
- Team player
- Motivate with a can do attitude
- Able to follow instructions
- Calm & controlled under pressure
At a young age of 16-17 you’ll need good emotional intelligence & maturity and self control dealing with stress and difficult situations with individual pupils, including behaviour management issues and personal insults at times. Not all people are suitable at 16-17 or 18 to become a school class assistant as they don’t have the required soft skills or even the required English & maths GCSE or equivalent grades.
Unqualified school teacher assistant job role
People from all walks of life and ages change career or start as a teaching assistant in UK schools as they wish to work with children or gain experience in a learning setting. You don’t need experience or a TA qualification to get a job in primary or secondary school as an unqualified 16, 17, 18 year old. You’ll work alongside experienced TAs and qualified teachers that will support & guide you while you acquire skills, experience, confidence, on job training and a TA qualification while working.
Daily duties for 16, 17, 18 year old school class assistants
- Preparing photocopies and worksheet for lessons.
- Ready the class or activity area for lessons & tidying up afterwards.
- Help supervise play, school trips and activities in groups.
- Support a teacher or other TA in class lessons or during activities.
- Contribute help with behaviour management in lessons & around school.
- Provide feedback on student learning progress or any pupil issues.
- Record and complete admin tasks.
- Provide 1:1 intervention support or small group learning for individual subject topics.
Opportunities for younger people TA jobs & experience
- College course enrollment on a level 2-3 teaching assistant course that requires work based assessment to complete the course, thus you need to be in a TA job or volunteer role.
- Apprenticeship TA training where you undertake a structured course that leads to a nationally recognised qualification while in a job.
- Volunteering TA position at a secondary or primary school to gain experience & skills to utilise in another job role.
- Directly apply to school TA job advertisements that can be to work part or full time on long term or temporary contracts.
TA skills & knowledge for unqualified roles
As an unqualified teacher assistant you’re not expected to be great & knowledgeable in the role, although you require some existing skills, willing attitude and good English & mathematical schools at GCSE or equivalent. You also require good communication skills, sensitivity & understanding, patience, enjoy working with children and problem solving ability as a school TA.
Once in a TA job as an 18, 17, or 16 year old you can complete on online nationally recognised teaching assistant qualification or attend college face to face including:
- Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
- Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- T Level in Education and Childcare
Gaining further training and years of work experience you can eventually go on to become a higher level teacher assistant (HLTA) at level 4/5 with additional responsibilities and increased salary.
Apprentice school teaching assistant
Leaving school or college at 16, 17 or 18 years old you can apply & start apprenticeship teaching assistant training in England for schools at secondary or primary age level.
Apprentice TA would undertake a structured course that involves work based learning and study, possibly at a local college or through online learning, such as level 3 TA apprentice training course over 18 months. You are paid an allowance and work at a school as a class TA in an actual job, and 20% of you’re time is attending college for further training and learning.
Apprentice teacher assistant qualification entry requirements:
- Maths & English GCSE or equivalent such as functional skills level 2.
- Minimum 16 years old.
- Employer that will support you on an apprentice training course full or part time.
- Criminal back ground check suitability to work with children.
- Soft skills to work successfully with children: Patience, compassion, understanding, team player, problem solver, enjoy working with child, calm under pressure and motivated.
Basically, an apprentice teacher assistant is essentially an unqualified person that starts training & development acquiring skills that are essential as a TA in primary or secondary school. You’ll work at the school 4 days a week and attend college 1 day a week term time completing required training, learning and assessments.
Daily, life as a teaching assistant you work with teachers in the classroom supporting learning, dealing with behaviour issues, setting up the classroom and possible playground duty. When you build up sufficient skills, knowledge & confidence you’ll provide support learning to individual school pupils, and small groups under supervision.