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Top Guides to Preparing for Primary School Teaching Assistant Jobs

Teaching, the noblest profession on earth. You love to trek around teachers and enjoy spending time with little kids, in it? If so, a primary school teaching assistant jobs are the best profession for you.

Are you looking for a spot-on guide to prepare for a primary school teaching assistant job? Well, I guess this blog has reached its destination! Don’t leave your chair and stay tuned. Comprehend every knit and bit of primary school teaching assistant job.

What is a Teaching Assistant?

Primary School Teaching Assistant with students

Before digging any further, let’s define the teaching assistant.

Primary school teaching assistant jobs are the most exciting professions for the person who loves roaming around the kids. Semantically, a teaching assistant is a person who lends a hand to a teacher with instructional activities and liabilities. They are also named educational assistant, learning support assistant, or classroom assistant.

Teaching assistants assist the main teachers with classes. They also support students with learning disabilities, like  ADHDAutism, or physical limitations, such as blindness or deafness.

What are the Responsibilities of a Teaching Assistant?

Primary school teaching assistant’s role has changed a lot in recent years. Now a well-qualified teaching assistant is viewed as a much-sought staff member. With the change in mentality, their tasks and duties have also increased. They prop up a wide area of learning activities, nursing students to succeed and reach their potential.

Here I’ve listed some duties of primary school teaching assistant:

  • Listen to children’s reading, read with them, or tell them stories
  • Deliver customised learning exercises as drawn up by the teacher. This can be either in a small group or on a one-to-one basis.
  • Ensure that every pupil can involve in learning and stay on task during school hours.
  • Support the social and emotional maturation of students.
  • Raise concerns as per the school’s law and order.
  • Manage challenging behaviour of the students.
  • Guide and monitor a student’s development.
  • Provide a series of administrative assistance in the classroom.
  • Prepare classroom supplies.
  • Render support outside of class, as such exam invigilation and covering absences of TA colleagues.
  • Be a part of extra-curricular activities. Tasks may include breakfast clubs, after school clubs, homework and revision sessions.
  • Cover lunchtime and break time work.
  • Higher Level TAs also coordinate teaching support.
  • Look after children who are upset or went through accidents.
  • Clear away materials and supplies after lessons.
  • Help with outings and sports events.
  • Take part in the training.
  • Give special care to children with physical and mental disabilities.

Whoa! Primary school teaching assistant jobs hold a heck of responsibilities!

Qualifications for Teaching Assistant Jobs

For primary school teaching assistant jobs, some schools will employ unqualified people and train them ‘on the job’. So, most of the time you don’t need a degree to become a primary school teaching assistant.

But if you want a senior position, schools will prefer a certain level of qualifications along with similar work experience.

Literacy and Numeracy

Recently, employers give great emphasis on numeracy and literacy for students and staffs. So to become a teaching assistant, you need to be confident with numbers and writing the English language. Some schools may take a test before recruiting. Moreover, sometimes you may need to have a level of proficiency in other dialects too, such as Welsh, Gaelic, Irish, etc.

Good Educational Background

Excellent academics always makes a solid and stable ground beneath your feet when you enter into a job field.

It would be best if you portrayed a perfect standard of education. Currently, most schools require a GCSE level of education, with a grade C or above in Maths and English. However, some TA positions will also ask for GCSE level education in sciences.

Primary School Teaching Assistant

Awards and Certifications

To show your level of skill and capability, you may need to complete TA qualifications and courses. Besides, these will demonstrate your ability in employing the expected standard of professional conduct.

The most common qualifications include:

Level 2
1. Support Work in Schools Award
2. Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Certificate
3. Teaching Assistant Certificate

Level 3
1. Teaching Assistant Diploma
2. Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Award
3. Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
4. Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning
in Schools

These awards are knowledge-based qualifications. You can complete these courses before stepping into the job field. Also, you can continue achieving even more by studying these courses thoroughly while working.

Career Path

Entry requirements differ from school to school. Similarly, individual schools decide which qualifications and experience they want.

The most typical route to get primary school teaching assistant jobs may combine the following steps.

College

Colleges array several recognised and accredited TA qualifications. The courses run at various times of the day and in the evenings, which makes them more convenient for you. Moreover, most classes last minimum one year to complete.

If you are already a TA, your employer may provide you with a study day. So that you can attend a class and complete this work.

There are two ways you can get qualified for primary teaching assistant jobs:

  1. Academic course
    GCSEs in English and maths or equivalent
  2. Vocational way
    Level 2 Award (Support Work in Schools)
    Level 2 Certificate (Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools)

E-learning

Primary School Teaching Assistant explain something to her students in art class

You can also achieve the necessary qualifications via online courses. Online platforms will enable you to learn from your comfort zone. In addition to that, you can finish the course at your own pace. And the best part is you don’t need to resign your day job! Isn’t it great?

Training

You can start with an unqualified job. After joining, you can train yourself from experience. Also, you can develop teaching assistant skills required to assist with numeracy, literacy, reading, writing, spelling and other tasks.

Few schools invest profoundly in TA training. The training equips TAs to deal with a range of additional learning needs and behavioural challenges.

Awareness Courses

If your job is related to children who display a range of additional learning needs, you can take awareness courses. These courses will help you to understand and work with kids in need of extra care and affection. Sometimes it is you who will be the first to notice their shortcomings. Then you have to inform the teachers as well as the parents and take additional care of the kids.

The children may exhibit difficulties like:

  • Autism
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Dyslexia
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 
  • Attention Hyperactivity and Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

However, you may need to have an awareness of Child Protection procedures. Also, you have to observe how children suffering from mental, physical, and sexual abuse may behave. You may become a child’s best friend, the person he/she trust. Eventually, children will share the secret with you. And awareness courses will be of great help to you in this regard.

Skills and qualities of a Teaching Assistant

So what makes you an excellent fit for primary teaching assistant jobs? You should adopt such personal skills and qualities that are appropriate for this profession.

As you will work with children, I’m presenting some essential qualities below.

  • Dedication towards the classroom and the pupils
  • Proactive during class hours
  • A professional attitude
  • Pay heed towards student’s well-being, and emotional and physical conditions
  • A positive approach to working with children,
  • Ability to inspire and motivate them.
  • Willing attitude
  • Can inspire, and build positive relationships between other and learners
  • Continued personal development in training skills and education
  • Knowledge of an additional language
  • Ability to plan tasks, flexible approach and excellent time management
  • Strong interpersonal skills for team working with others in the classroom, such as a teacher or other assistants
  • The good record-keeping ability for data and attendance of learners
  • Calm manner, respectful and ability to defuse a confrontation
  • Beholds creativity
  • Forward-thinking
  • Stay up to date about changes in key policies
  • Go through a criminal record check with the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Always be a friendly face to all
  • Passionate and energetic

Adapt these essential skills and be the best teaching assistant you can be!

Teachers for kids

Career Progress

You don’t want to confined to primary teaching assistant jobs only, do you? With your experience and developed skills in this field, you can upgrade yourself to level 3 or higher level teaching assistant jobs (HLTA).

At an advanced level of an HLTA, you need to gain a ground qualification, skills and experience enabling you to teach small groups of pupils on your own.
Additional training and development opportunities:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Behaviour management
  • Languages (English and any additional language)
  • Gifted and talented pupil extended learning
  • Inclusive learning

Hands-on experience

As a primary school teaching assistant, you will mainly work as a helping hand of the class or course teacher. By doing so, you will learn every nook and corner of teaching. You will help the students from learning to do homework. Moreover, you will gain experience on how to teach and manage kids in a classroom. It will weigh your bag of knowledge, and thus you may enter into the real teaching profession! Who knows!

Typical tasks

From the ‘Responsibities’ section above, you know that, a teaching assistant need to do a lot of work. In this section, I’m separating their daily tasks, which is what type of work he or she have to perform typically.

  • Assists the course instructor with the formal tasks
  • Grades assignments
  • Holds office hours
  • Assists students in performing homework
  • Helps students if they don’t catch up with the regular class syllabus
  • Keeps the classroom neat and tidy
  • Sometimes gives proxy of the chief instructor
  • Lunchtime supervision
  • Provides support on school trips
  • Helps with classroom preparation
  • Helps children with reading
Primary School Teaching Assistant Jobs

Salary

How much each TA get depends on the local authority pay scales, the school’s pay scale. It also depends on your certifications and prior experience. Some schools pay TAs on a term-time only scale, which means they will have around 84% of a full-time post. This is called a pro-rata salary where payments are still made over 12 months.

Average salaries for instruction purposes are:

  • Salaries for starters and salary for level 2 TAs are around £11,000 to £16,000 per year
  • With increase duties (such as covering lessons) and with higher-level qualifications, you can expect to earn up to £21,000 per annum

A daily rate teaching assistant can earn between £40 and £60 a day, or an hourly rate of up to £9. Always check the salary and terms and conditions on offer. Free schools, private schools and schools that have opted out of local authority control do not have to pay according to Local Education Authority (LEA) salary scales.

Employers

Now come to the job provider.

From Reception upwards, the law states that there must be one teacher for every 30 children. However, nursery classes have different rules, and for every 13 children, they need one adult. Almost 250,000 full-time-equivalent TAs are currently working in English schools.

The leading employers of primary school teaching assistants are:

  • Nursery School
  • Preschool
  • Primary School
  • Public and Local Schools
  • Private school settings

Working hours

Typically, during term time, TAs work Monday to Friday. Average working time is 36 hours per week. However, their annual leave coinciding with school holidays. Teaching Assistants working in boarding schools, free schools and academies will find their hours vary. Also, they may include some weekend work or sessions.

Few Teaching Assistants work from 9 am to the end of the school day. Whereas, some schools will ask you to start earlier and finish an hour or so after the end of the school day. It depends on the extracurricular activities on offer.

Also, some schools offer additional summer sessions. If you become involved in that, you will get extra payments. It also means extra hours!

Primary School Teaching Assistant

Pros and Cons of Teaching Assistant Job

Teaching assistants are the real asset of a classroom. Sometimes students obey and respect TAs more than the chief teachers! Teachers happily say that TAs help to reduce stress and work pressures and keep disruption to a minimum. Parents also sing the praises of TAs as they help their child in curricular and extracurricular activities. 

On the other part of the scene, recent research by the Institute of Education shows that pupils who are supported by TAs make less progress than other children with similar needs. It is because of the limited training as they often allocated to children with complex educational needs.

So now you know that proper training is important!

Age Requirement

Typically, there is no age limit. You can apply and start a teaching assistant job at a school or nursery from age 16 and above.  Also, you’ll see there are people working at 70 years old helping children.

So whatever your age is, you can jump on the field of primary school teaching assistant jobs!

Final Words

I believe that now you have all the nits and bids about primary school teaching assistant jobs. In this blog, I attempted to enlighten you with the proper guidelines and information. I hope you have found the blog helpful.

Before ending, I’d like to thank you for choosing this fantastic and rewarding career option. I know, you will rock that profession. So, don’t waste your time. Take the preparations and step on the floor!

Good luck and best wishes!

Adios!


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August 27, 2020

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