A teaching assistant (TA) assists a class teacher at both secondary and primary school level, usually in small groups or on a one-to-one basis. This could be listening to a child reading or providing a boost to pupils experiencing difficulties in a particular subject. Other tasks that can assist the teacher include:

  • setting up equipment for a particular lesson
  • helping assemble displays of pupils' work
  • looking after children who are hurt or upset while the teacher gets back to the lesson plan

A good teaching assistant ought to have good writing, reading and numeracy skills. In addition, anyone applying for a position as a teaching assistant should be able to illustrate they are excellent organisers and communicators. For more detail on a teaching assistant's job role, click here.

There are no specific entry requirements for teaching assistant jobs, but local education authorities and individual schools generally have guidelines of their own as to what kind of people they are looking for, so checking out these guidelines before applying is a definite advantage. For those people not working in the sector already, there are qualifications available such as the Level 2 award in support work in schools. For individuals seeking more information about this, contacting their local college or getting in touch with recruitment consultants that specialise in this area is advised.

Like all jobs working with children, a teaching assistant needs to show they have had a criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly the Criminal Records Bureau. All schools will carry out detailed background checks before hiring.

What to write on a teaching assistant CV.

A good and effective CV is well-presented and keeps to the point. Keep text concise and leave out any information not relevant or which is difficult to understand; good use of grammar skills will prove a proficiency in basic English, just as sloppy typos and spelling mistakes present the writer of a CV in a distinctly unimpressive light. Always remember to spell check and give everything a final read through before sending it.

Top CV writing tips.

If applying for a teaching assistant position for the first time, try to consider what other experiences can illustrate the skill set needed for such a position. Experience of working with children or young adults could range from volunteering at the local scout's group or junior football team to reading to one's own children. Any kind of volunteer work at a local school, however insignificant it might seem, is relevant, from helping out on a primary school trip to the zoo to assisting with the summer sports day.

Other job experience is also relevant (even if it does not involve working with children or young adults) if it illustrates communication and organisational skills, e.g. working part-time as a G.P's receptionist or other secretarial or service position.

It can be helpful if a TA specialises in a certain subject, particularly an extra language (especially if the position is at an inner city school where there may be many pupils for whom English is not their first language). Therefore anyone fluent in two or more languages should make this apparent in their CV.

As a with any job application, always be honest in detailing both qualifications and experience. Ensure all documents requested in the job posting have been attached and that the application is submitted well within the deadline given.

Nailing your CV.

If you’re looking for more CV help, watch our video below on nailing your CV fundamentals.