Becoming a teaching assistant (TA) means you’ll be in contact in the classroom with school pupils helping with learning, guidance in lessons and answering questions children may have.
TAs school job description also extends to administration work that involves record keeping and analysis.
You as an educational TA require functioning effectively with mathematics in a TA job role quickly and accurately as you’re working as a team and helping school pupils with learning.
An England or Wales school teaching assistant requires English & maths GCSE (A-C grade) or equivalent for the vast majority of jobs. You can be a school teacher assistant (TA) without GCSE maths & English in England if you have functional skills level 2 mathematics as an alternative, or literacy & numeracy level 2.
What qualification do you need to be a teaching assistant?
Each primary & secondary school sets qualification requirements for all teacher assistants, though almost all employers in England & Wales require good grades for English & maths, either functional skills or GCSE or above.
TA English primary school jobs you’ll additionally require GCSE science or a good level of knowledge that could be assessed at interview.
People 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 year olds can get an entry level TA job role that doesn’t require a TA qualification or prior work experience as you’re trained on the job with experienced support.
For experienced and more responsibility positions level 3 TA certificate is required being completed online or college face to face learning with prior work experience.
Higher level teaching assistants (HLTA) require prior work experience in the classroom with good grades for English & maths at GCSE or equivalent.
You should also have previous successful school classroom TA role experience at level 3 or newly qualified at level 4, and passed & gained HLTA status.
Do you need maths for teaching assistant?
To become an entry level or experienced teaching assistant at secondary or primary school you require sufficient maths or numeracy skills evidenced by a recognised qualification.
Schools want to make sure you have an adequate level of mathematics & numeracy knowledge & skills to function effectively in a TA job role along side teachers, support staff and pupils.
You use mathematical skills in record keeping, preparing lesson resources and answering & supporting pupils in class if they require further explanation on maths concepts or formulas.
Maths GCSE or alternative is a standard entry requirement applying for UK school TA job roles from level 1-5. Schools state on the person specification in job adverts they’re looking for a TA that has good maths skills with GCSE grade A-C or similar.
Can you be a teaching assistant without a maths GCSE? Yes, it’s possible; you would be assessed for maths skills, although almost all England & Wales schools require GCSE mathematics or equivalent working as a school TA.
Why a school TA requires maths GCSE
As a school teacher assistant with good mathematical skills for secondary or numeracy for primary you need good knowledge of numeracy skills to help as a TA in class with school pupils learning.
You require being able to answer questions and explain sufficiently any maths topics in you’re timetabled classes on the UK national curriculum being taught at the school for each school age children.
Edexcel GCSE mathematics school course topics taught
You as a teacher assistant require good understanding of GCSE maths to function adequately being a secondary TA in the maths or science departments. Topics areas covered in secondary school maths lessons include:
- Number: decimals.
- Problem solving.
- Ratio, proportion and rates of change.
- Geometry and measure.
Graduate school teacher assistant
You’ll definitely need maths as a graduate teaching assistant where your employed to work in secondary schools in England as a specialist in one department, occasionally cover classes for an absent teacher or SEN support.
Potentially you could be assisting in maths, science or business lessons for 11-16 year olds explaining questions set by the class teacher.
In addition, covering a class of students on your own as a school graduate TA you need to be able to explain in different working outs to solve numeracy or mathematical problems giving the correct answer.
Higher level teaching assistant (HLTA)
As an HLTA you’re main teaching assistant role is to provide confidence, motivation and further subject topic assistance with 1:1 intervention/booster catch-up maths or numeracy lessons or other subject learning help to pupils.
HLTAs teacher assistants need maths GCSE to prepare worksheets, data analysis, record keeping, work independently, cover absent teachers and deliver lessons that include use of good mathematics & literacy knowledge.
Maths GCSE equivalent qualification
Functional Skills Level 2 in Mathematics
Teacher assistants could possibly use mathematics functional skills level 2 as an equivalent qualification, as their equivalent to GCSEs at a higher grade.
You’re able to show you have sufficient levels of maths concept knowledge & understanding with a formal qualification.
With functional skills maths learning you’ll be able to show you’ve gained the required level of maths problem solving knowledge to apply for school TA jobs and work in schools classrooms with children.