Support staff teams in schools play an equally important role as teachers.

In this article the requirements for those seeking teaching assistant jobs are explored and there are some hints and tips about common interview questions.

Support staff teams in schools play an equally important role as teachers. These teams provide a range of services that include administrative assistance, specialist and technical input and maintenance of a safe learning environment for children.

Teaching assistants are one of the increasingly important support staff roles in schools. They work side by side with teachers in the classroom, helping pupils make progress with their learning. Becoming a teaching assistant is ideal for people who want to work in education and those who can or need to work flexibly. 

For example, parents interested in working in term-time, either full-time or part-time, may find teaching assistant jobs can provide a rewarding and responsible career plus ample time to enjoy family life. 

career requirements for teaching assistant jobs.

Teaching assistants need to have strong communication skills. Although a set level of formal qualifications is not always specified, most local education authorities (LEAs) have guidelines about the kind of employees they want for their schools.Teaching assistants need to have first-rate reading, writing and numeracy skills.  

Previous experience either volunteering in a school or having worked with children before is a strong asset. In every profession involving children or vulnerable, candidates need to have been checked by  the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – formerly the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

Provided there is guidance from a teacher, some teaching assistants may also be asked take responsibility for whole class teaching.

recruitment and job vacancies for teaching assistant roles.

While making enquiries at a local school or scanning the local paper is a good place to start a job hunt, specialist recruitment agencies generally benefit from having amassed a great deal of inside knowledge about work in the field of education. Recruitment firms can provide information and insights across early years, primary, secondary and special needs education and provide job seekers with help and resources to match in each case. They will also often have access to available positions that may not appear on standard job sites.

interviews.

As there is no universal entry-level qualification for being a teaching assistant, there is a lot of importance placed on the character of the individual applying. Do research beforehand and study the person specification carefully. Be prepared to answer questions on meeting these requirements. Also spend time finding out about the school itself. Read the Ofsted reports and become familiar with any policies or procedures available from the school website or office.

Here is a selection of questions often asked at interviews for teaching assistant jobs:

  • Do you have previous experience working with children?
  • What will your duties be as a teaching assistant?
  • How would you liaise with a class teacher and parents?
  • How can you support extra-curricular provision at our school?
  • What are some ideas for after-school clubs that we do not currently have?
  • If a child refuses to follow your instructions; what is your reaction?
  • What are your preferred subjects to teach?
  • What types of assessment do you use?

Depending on the school, some may have questions about teaching a particular language or supporting a child with special needs so keep this in mind when applying and attending interviews.

Applicants who have done the advance research will be the best prepared to handle whatever questions are asked in the interview process.