A primary school teaching assistant role can provide you with an important career in a child’s learning.
Secondary schools also have classroom assistant roles where a person aids a pupil with their work.
In primary education you are assigned to assist in a classroom with a KS1/2 teacher for general learning, where in secondary school you would be a specialist in a subject area.
What is a teaching assistant? A person that guides and supports children learning in a school classroom with a teacher at nursery, primary or sen school. Secondary, an assistant specialises in a certain subject.
They are also known as a classroom assistant or TA for short.
Teaching assistant role
Contributions from assistants are not solely linked to one class or teacher in secondary schools
In contrast, at a nursery, special education or primary school job you would be in a classroom supporting pupils learning, answering questions.
You’ll effectively be working together with the class teacher covering a full range of subjects to help young pupils education and social progress.
In primary classrooms you’re role extends beyond helping teachers to prepare for lessons. You’ll be photocopying, preparing materials, putting equipment out at the beginning of lessons and tidying away.
Although an assistant at a junior school does not have the expertise and skills of a qualified teacher, some activities can be managed by you when suitably qualified.
Task includes supporting reading or taking responsibility for other aspects of learning and assessment.
A TA’s contribution in a classroom or a higher level specialist taking pupils in small groups works far better when incorporated into the lesson plan.
Make sure you know what is going on and are consulted prior to each lesson.
“I applied for one of the primary teacher assistant jobs in my area and was successful. Each day is different with challenges and rewards. My role and responsibilities are to assist pupils in the class with explaining concepts, terms and encourage each child to learn the best they can, Break time you can see me in the playground as a monitor. As a valued person by the teacher and children it provides me with a rewarding job and career with progression”
Teaching assistant salary
- Entry level school class assistant salary full time is around £11,500-£14,000 with little or no experience or qualifications depending on your UK location
- Qualified & experienced assistants at nursery, primary, secondary schools earn in excess of £15,000 up to £24,000 per year with level 3 qualification
- Higher-level teaching assistants jobs attract a yearly salary between £21,000 and possible up to £25,000
Class assistant jobs London and other major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester or Bristol have advertisements with higher salaries, due to living costs of these areas.
There is no set national wage. You will be paid according to the school level, city or village locality, skills, experience and responsibilities.
Watch out for pro-rata salary package. This is where you’re paid for term time only. Although you’re annual wage is averaged out per monthly payments.
You still receive less money as you are not paid for a full 52 weeks.
Working hours can be full or part time contracts with entitlement to holiday, pension and other benefits.
Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm is normal. At times you will be asked to stay later for after school clubs and possible school trips.
Not all jobs you see advertised will be permanent, more contracts are offered as temporary, or at least at first.
School teacher assistant qualifications
Starting with an unqualified job you can train & develop teaching assistant skills required to assist with numeracy, literacy, reading , writing, spelling and other tasks.
You’ll need GCSE English & mathematics at level C, or national 4/5 Scotland. Alternative qualifications may be accepted.
- You can get a job without qualifications, although some experience with children helps to secure your first job
- No degree is needed to become a teachers assistant at primary, nursery, sen or secondary school
- Teacher assistant level 1, 2, 3 NVQ/SVQ or similar qualification are requested by schools. Experienced roles level 3 is normal
Train and become a qualified school class assistant with a qualification that is nationally recognised is completed via work based training, learning.
Apply to a college or other course provider or via online to qualify. Local councils in the UK can arrange a job with training & qualification, watch out for advertisements and ask at your local council.
New entrants start at level 1 or 2 with no need for specific qualifications.
Schools are increasingly advertising graduate assistant school jobs to support a teacher or in secondary you could use your specialist skills and knowledge in English, languages, maths, sciences to support small groups or one to one learning.
One option is through an apprenticeship, working, training and leading to being qualified at the same time.
Also, you’ll get that important reference for a job.
Skills & qualities required for classroom assistants
Personal skills and qualities you have should be appropriate to the role you apply, or are looking for a career at a school working closely with children.
- Self motivation
- Willing attitude, can inspire, and build positive relationships with other and learners
- Continued personal development in training skills and education
- Knowledge of an additional language helps a lot and a positive factor for specialist roles (Although not a requirement)
- Ability to plan tasks, flexible approach and good time management
- Strong interpersonal skills for team working with others in the classroom, such as a teacher or other assistants
- Good record keeping ability for data and attendance of learners
- Calm manner, respectful and ability to defuse confrontation
TA’s career progression
With your experience and developed skills in the role you can progress to level 3 or one of many school higher level teaching assistant.jobs (HLTA).
At an advanced level of a HLTA you require a further qualification, skills and experience enabling you to teach small groups of pupils on your own.
Additional training and development opportunities:
- Behaviour management
- Learning difficulties
- Languages (English as an additional language)
- Inclusive learning
- Gifted and talented pupil extended learning
Apply and start a teaching assistant job at a school or nursery from age 16 and above. There are people working at 70 years old helping children.