Our guide to teaching assistant training

Our guide to teaching assistant training

First published date January 21 2014 Amended date July 13 2015

Do you need a part-time/flexible job? Are you looking to start a new career? Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a teacher or working within a school? Look no further than our list of teaching assistant courses. If you enjoy working with children then becoming a teacher assistant can be an exciting and rewarding job while at the same time being a catalyst for your future teaching career.


So what does a teacher assistant do?

If you enjoy working with children and take pleasure in watching them progress and learn new things then a teacher assistant job could be for you. Your job as a teacher assistant will be either working in a primary or secondary school with the task of assisting pupils in one on one situations or in small groups to help them with their work. You will be assisting children with reading and helping them to answer questions by reinforcing things they have been taught throughout the lesson, sometimes you can take the pupils to an adjacent class for booster lessons if they are particularly struggling. It can’t be denied teachers definitely have a lot on their plate; you will take on roles such as setting up lessons, tidying classrooms and putting together displays to give teachers more time to mark work and prepare for lessons. Other duties can include helping with school outings, taking care of upset or hurt children and acting as playground or lunchtime attendants. If you are more inclined to work with a secondary school you will likely be assisting pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities.


Is a teaching assistant position the right job for me?

If you are a mum who is looking for work around your child’s school schedule or you are considering a career in teaching then being a teaching assistant may be the perfect job for you. Working as a teaching assistant will be flexible, you will only have to work term time and, unlike a teacher, you will not be asked to come into school early or stay after the bell. This flexibility makes it a great job for those parents who have to work around there children’s schedule, eliminating the need for a babysitter or an after school club.

Ok, so you don’t have a child? Well that doesn’t mean this still won’t be a great job, especially if you want to forge a career in teaching. As an aspiring teacher there is nothing better than getting some hands on experience before you commit and pay money for formal training and qualifications. A job as a teacher assistant will give you a great opportunity to gain classroom experience and to find out if teaching really is the job for you, whether it is or not it will still look great on your CV.



While a qualification isn’t essential to become a teaching assistant, schools will ask if you have any experience, after all, they do want somebody who can prove they are capable. Teacher assistant courses will provide you with either a NCFE or a NVQ which will put you a foot above the other candidates.

As these qualifications aren’t an essential part of becoming a teacher assistant, schools will be paying more attention to your personality than your academic history. You will be required to possess good communication, organisation and memory skills along with good reading and writing as you will be helping the children with their work and communicating to them on a regular basis.


Tips for applying...

  • If possible try to get some volunteering experience at a school beforehand, this will look great on your CV and will be great to talk about in the interview.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely in your interview. They will mainly judge you on your personality, but remember don’t panic, there will lots of opportunity but plenty of other opportunities if you don’t get this one.
  • You can mention informal experience in your interview, perhaps you have looked after children in your family or maybe you even have your own children? Bring this up and talk about how you have helped them in difficult circumstances and methods you use to teach them new things.
  • Read the job description thoroughly and make sure you are able to demonstrate the skills required.
  • It may be useful to enrol on a short CV writing course to make sure you have completely nailed that application form.
  • One last thing. Always remember to ask head teachers or deputy heads about teaching assistant positions. They might not always advertise them and even if they don’t have any it is great to get yourself on the map.