How to progress from Teaching Assistant to Cover Supervisor


Cover supervisors have a pivotal role to play in covering periods of short-term absence by full-time teaching staff.

It’s a job that should not need any active teaching or require any planning or marking, although many cover supervisors are often highly trained – it’s not uncommon for them to have qualified teacher status (QTS).

Becoming a cover supervisor is, therefore, one of the logical next steps for a teaching assistant that is looking to further their career and development, and there is ample training that can help make it a reality.

The role can provide handy classroom experience for those harbouring teaching aspirations and you can be sure that every day will as rewarding as it is different!

What does a cover supervisor do?

A cover supervisor will be expected to manage a classroom and to ensure that all pupils complete work that will previously have been set for them.

The exact nature of the work will vary wildly between primary, secondary and special schools, although you can expect it to involve answering questions from pupils, maintaining good standards of behaviour and handling any emergency situations appropriately.

Those covering lessons should also ensure that work is returned to the most suitable member of staff after lessons are complete (often the individual who assigned the work initially).

What skills are needed?

The basic skills required are similar to those of all teachers and teaching assistants, namely that you should enjoy working with young people and have good communication skills which enable you to do so.

A cover supervisor should also be highly flexible in their approaches, as those in the role full time will be expected to jump from class to class as appropriate – often requiring differing behavioural management approaches and styles of leading a class.

Becoming a cover supervisor

Individual schools and local authorities are left to define what skills and qualifications are required, meaning it often varies from region to region.

Experience in classroom settings is often preferred – meaning it can represent a great opportunity for teaching assistants – while other schools may look at the potential that someone has.

As mentioned previously, some schools may even want their cover supervisors to have qualifications, such as qualified teacher status, or an honours degree as a bare minimum.

For a teaching assistant wanting to make the next step or an individual wanting a change of scenery, there is a wide range of training available which can prepare you for life as a cover supervisor – speak to us to learn more about your potential next steps.

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