Services for Young Children

Working as a classroom assistant (or teaching assistant)

What is a classroom assistant?

As a teaching assistant you would support teachers with their everyday work in the classroom.

What would I being doing?

Your exact duties would vary depending on the school and the age of the children, but would typically include:
  • helping to get the classroom ready for lessons

  • listening to children read, reading to them or telling them stories

  • helping children with number work

  • helping children who need extra support to complete tasks

  • helping with art and craft activities and displaying work

  • looking after children who are upset or have had accidents

  • playing educational games with children and encouraging younger children to learn through play

  • helping with outings and sports events

  • helping with routine administrative tasks.

In a secondary school you would usually work with individuals or small groups of pupils who have disabilities or learning difficulties.

What qualification and experience do I need?

Schools or local education authorities decide what skills, qualifications and experience they expect when they recruit teaching assistants, so you can get an idea of what you are likely to need by looking at jobs advertised locally. For classroom assistant or teaching assistant jobs in Hampshire, log onto the Hampshire County Council website.

If you have enough relevant experience you may be able to begin work without teaching assistant qualifications, and complete relevant qualifications on the job.

Most qualifications for teaching assistants are aimed at people who are working or volunteering in schools. Because of this, a useful starting point can be to volunteer to help in a local school, perhaps for a few hours a week at first.

To begin teaching assistant qualifications you will usually need to be working in a school (either paid or as a volunteer) for a set number of hours a week.

You may be able to complete one of the following:

  • NVQ Levels 2 for Teaching Assistants (to be replaced by NVQ Level 2 in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools from March 2008)

  • Level 2 Certificate for Teaching Assistants.

You may need qualifications such as GCSEs or the equivalent, particularly in English and Maths – you should check with colleges for their entry requirements.

 

Want to find out about other careers?

  • The Direct.gov.uk website has information on a variety of different jobs