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Teaching assistants

Teaching assistants (TAs) usually work with a teacher in their classroom, making sure pupils get the most out of lessons (eg, by helping them find their way around a computer). 

The teaching assistant takes on tasks that allow the teacher to concentrate on teaching (eg, by preparing the classroom for lessons and clearing up afterwards). To support pupils with particular individual needs, some teaching assistants work one-to-one, while others work in small groups.

Many schools employ teaching assistants with particular specialisms, including literacy, numeracy, Special Educational Needs (SEN), music, creative arts and bilingual TAs (where the first language of significant numbers of children is not English).

Experienced and specially-trained teaching assistants can be expected to supervise a class for a teacher who is off sick or undertaking training. While every class must be allocated a qualified teacher, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) would be expected occasionally to lead a lesson.

Teaching assistants must be trained to a level matching their responsibilities. It's up to local education authorities and individual schools to decide on exactly what qualifications and experience they expect from someone applying for a teaching assistant post. But for entry level, you will usually need to:

Below are some useful links to tell you more about the work and training of teaching assistants in schools.

The role of a teaching assistant

Teaching assistant career planner

Jobs, salary and training for TAs

National Occupational Standards for TAs

Becoming an HLTA

Development for all school support staff


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