Teaching assistants help teachers in schools. Job titles vary, and may include classroom assistant; non-teaching assistant; learning support assistant; bilingual support assistant; and special needs assistant. In Scotland the term auxiliary is used for staff supporting children with special educational needs.
Some teaching assistants may be attached to a whole class, others may support one child or a small group of children with special educational needs. Duties vary depending on the particular job and the age of the children. Those working in primary schools are likely to have the following duties:
Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) is a new job role that will be available in England from Spring 2004. HTLAs will work under the direction and supervision of qualified teachers, to provide them with additional support. Duties could include working as a specialist assistant for a subject or department, contributing to lesson planning or developing support materials, or supervising a class.
Full-time teaching assistants normally work school hours, Monday to Friday. They usually only work during term-time but may sometimes have to be at school outside these times for training. Many teaching assistants work part-time.
Most of their time is spent indoors in classrooms and other parts of the school. They may sometimes work outdoors, for instance, on playground duty or on a school outing.
To be a teaching assistant you should:
You can work as a teaching assistant throughout the UK, in nursery, infant or junior schools, special schools or in mainstream secondary schools. You could also work in an independent school.
Promotion to senior assistant is possible in some schools. HLTAs will be employed by many schools in England from Spring 2004 – schools are not obliged to offer the role, but the Teacher Training Agency envisages that 20,000 people will progress to HLTA status by 2007.
Some teaching assistants go on to train as teachers. A lot of attention is being given to helping teaching assistants to get into teacher training. However, you will need to meet the entry requirements which apply to all teachers. For more information see the Teacher profiles and the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) website. Contact details in Further Information.
If you would like to know anything about Teaching Assistant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Teacher Training Agency
Teaching Information Line: 0845 6000 991 (English-speakers)
0845 6000 992 (Welsh-speakers)
Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS)
New Barn Lane
Tel: 0870 1122 211