A day in the life of an SEN Teaching Assistant


Teaching assistants have a pivotal role to play both in and out of the classroom, and especially when it comes to supporting pupils with special education needs (SEN).

But what does an SEN teaching assistant do and what does their average day consist of? If you’re tempted by a career as a teaching assistant, here’s what you need to know.

Not only does the role provide an opportunity to make a big difference, as it revolves around helping pupils with SEN to reach their potential, but every day will be different.

You can expect to work with pupils with a wide array of behaviour and learning challenges, meaning varied approaches will be needed, depending on the individual and situation.

Primarily, an SEN teaching assistant is there to support the teacher and to aid the pupil to develop their understanding.

What does the average school day include?

The day for many SEN teaching assistants begins with a briefing with other staff to discuss the day ahead and the challenges that may need to be addressed.

In special schools designed for pupils with SEN, more than one teaching assistant might be present in each classroom.

Lessons will be delivered throughout the day, with an SEN teaching assistant providing support when necessary to the teacher.

An SEN teaching assistant may also provide care and support to pupils during break times, depending on their particular needs and requirements.

The rewards of the role

At the end of the school day, teaching assistants may have a short debrief or a planning session to ensure that specific lessons or materials are prepared and ready in advance.

Planning is a key part of the role as it helps to recognise potential challenges and to ensure that resources are available to mitigate any behavioural or other issues.

Over time, SEN teaching assistants will form close bonds with the pupils they support and will be there to help them succeed and to witness their successes.

The role might require patience at times, but being an SEN teaching assistant offers rewards that you won’t find in many other roles.

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