If you're looking for a job in education, a teaching assistant role could be for you. Teaching assistants are as much a part of the modern classroom as the whiteboard, and contribute to educating pupils on a daily basis.
What is a teaching assistant?
A teaching assistant's role is to support children’s learning activities and to help the teacher ensure that every pupil can benefit from, and enjoy learning in a safe and caring environment. The precise role of a teaching assistant varies depending on the school and on the age of the children they are supporting.
Although teaching assistant jobs are rarely identical, the application process used for their selection is fairly formal and standardised.
Here is what you need to know about applying for teaching assistant jobs.
Our education recruiters reveal their top CV and applications tips here:
How to apply for a teaching assistant job.
When you are looking for a teaching assistant job, you can go through a supply agency, or look directly on school's websites and job boards. When you apply, it is likely that you will need to submit a CV and fill out an application form. If you go through a supply agency, they will be able to introduce your CV and your profile to the school for you.
When you are filling in your application form and writing your personal statement, refer carefully to the accompanying job specification that you will receive from the school. This will outline not only the duties of the role, but also the skills and experiences that the successful you must demonstrate you possess, along with information on the school's ethos.
Then, if your application is successful, you'll be invited to the school for an interview. It will usually be a panel of people who interview you, which may include a class teacher, head of department, head teacher or member of the school’s governing body.
Here are some of the skills and experiences your will need to have if you are going to be successful at interview, and secure the job you want.
Teaching assistant qualifications, skills and experiences.
- Qualifications in nursery work, childcare, play work or youth work can be useful in highlighting your understanding of children’s needs. They may not be essential to securing the role but they certainly will help.
- If you are looking to gain a relevant qualification you could consider studying towards a Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools or a Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
- Qualifications that are universally required are GCSE passes (or equivalent) in English and Maths.
- Most schools will strongly favour someone who has experience of working with children, and if this experience has been gained in a school setting then all the better.
- Schools are often keen to accept volunteers. As a volunteer you may help children read or assist pupils with special education needs. Often such volunteering can be for just for a few hours a week but it will go a long way in helping you respond impressively to questions about why you want the role or what you think you may find challenging.
The sorts of skills and qualities that the school will be looking for include:
- The ability to build good relationships (with children, teachers and parents)
- An understanding of how children develop and learn
- An understanding of some challenges the role may present
- The ability to be flexible and think creatively
- Patience and a sense of humour
Try and think of concrete examples from your previous work for each of these. This will mean that when you are asked about them you can clearly demonstrate you have the necessary skills.
For some jobs there may be specific requirements, such as IT skills or fluency in languages. Even if these are not specifically asked for it is always worth highlighting any special ways you may prove to be an asset to the school.
How to find a teaching assistant job.
If you have the qualifications and experience required for the role you will already know that a teaching assistant job is just right for you. Make sure you convey your enthusiasm and professionalism in your application and interview. At Randstad, our team of over 150 specialist education consultants are here to help you from your first job search, to your first day in the role and beyond. Click here to browse roles or contact us today.