Top teaching assistant FAQs


If you’re considering a career in the classroom, becoming a teaching assistant is often viewed as one of the first steps.

So if you’re unsure of what the role entails, or if whether it is the right job for you, here are a few of the frequently asked questions around teaching assistants.

What does a teaching assistant do?

Teaching assistants have a key role to play in supporting both teachers and pupils in the classroom environment so everyone can fulfil their potential.

The role will require an individual to provide hands-on learning assistance to pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and supporting teachers with lesson delivery.

This should ensure that classroom activities and lessons are more engaging and that any pupils who require additional assistance can receive it.

A teaching assistant will be expected to motivate and encourage pupils and may provide support to cover absences, assist with planning and carry out playground duties.

Other responsibilities can include behavioural management, assisting with out-of-school activities and after school clubs, and providing administrative support.

What teaching assistant qualifications do I need?

While there are no fixed requirements for teaching assistant jobs, a rising number of schools are looking to recruit staff with experience.

Most schools will expect staff to be educated to at least A-level standard, although it is likely university graduates will also apply for these types of roles.

The requirements for each teaching assistant role will differ by school, but you should highlight any examples you have of working with children when applying, as this will often be viewed favourably.

You will also be expected to showcase professional skills and knowledge during an interview, with schools looking for enthusiasm, creativity, energy, patience and a willingness to take responsibility.

How can I become a teaching assistant with no experience?

For individuals considering a career change, it is still possible to become a teaching assistant despite a lack of experience.

There are various recognised knowledge-based training courses available which support teaching assistant development, a selection of which include:

  • Level 2 Teaching Assistant Certificate
  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma

Essentially, you should look for courses which are accredited by Ofqual, as they should add significant weight to your teaching assistant job application.

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