SEN Teaching Assistant: How To Become One


How To Become an SEN Teaching Assistant Step by Step 

Step 1: Understand the Role and Responsibilities of an SEN Teaching Assistant

An SEN (Special Educational Needs) teaching assistant plays a crucial role in supporting students who face physical, behavioural, or learning challenges, often under the direct supervision of classroom teachers. 

This could involve aiding an individual pupil, a small group, or even within a mainstream class setting or a specialised SEN school.

Key tasks of an SEN teaching assistant encompass:

  • Assisting students in grasping instructions and educational content using tailored techniques.
  • Boosting student confidence and fostering their independence.
  • Providing invaluable feedback to teachers and aiding in various classroom activities.
  • Sometimes, supporting students during leisure time and social activities might also be a part of the role.
  • Preparing educational materials under teacher guidance.
  • Operating inside and outside the classroom to assist individual students or groups.
  • Customising teaching methods to suit each student’s distinct needs.
  • Ensuring the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students.
  • Crafting a vibrant and enriching environment for the students.
  • Offering vital information and assistance to teachers.
  • Assisting teachers in maintaining key student records and tracking achievements, progress, and activities.
  • Engaging with parents and other professionals, disseminating essential information to pertinent agencies for student welfare.
  • Collaborating on therapy or care plans tailored to individual student needs, often with the guidance of appropriate professionals.

While training for SEN teaching assistants parallels standard teaching assistants, attributes like patience, creativity, and adaptability are indispensable. 

Given the evolving needs of each child, every day can be different. 

Though the role might pose challenges, the rewards of aiding disadvantaged children to succeed in their educational journey are immense.

Step 2: Enhance Your Eligibility for an SEN Teaching Assistant Role

Once you're acquainted with the demands of an SEN teaching assistant, it’s paramount to equip yourself with the essential skills and qualifications. 

It's pivotal to comprehend the prerequisites of the specific role you're eyeing. 

Every employer might have distinct expectations; ensuring you meet these before applying will set you apart. 

Step 3: Refine Your SEN Teaching Assistant CV

Your CV is often the initial touchpoint with potential employers, making it essential to keep it current and reflect your qualifications and experience. Remember, first impressions last!

To make a lasting impact:

  • Update your CV with all relevant qualifications and any recent work experiences.
  • Structure and present your CV to highlight your aptitude for the role.
  • Realising the paramountcy of a CV in your job hunt, we’ve curated a comprehensive guide to ensure you craft an impressionable CV, paving your way towards a fulfilling career in education!

What skills do you need to become an SEN Teaching Assistant

Special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistants play a pivotal role in supporting school staff and pupils across the entire breadth of the country.

Like any teaching job, it's a role that can be challenging, but it also brings with it an abundance of opportunities to help young and disadvantaged people excel in education.

But what skills make for a great SEN teaching assistant? The basics around care, compassion and empathy are required in most teaching jobs, but there’s also a need to be highly flexible and to have great communication skills.

The key qualifications and opportunities for progression

Although there are no set requirements to be an SEN teaching assistant, many individuals will have English and maths GCSEs, alongside specific training such as the Level 2 or 3 Teaching Assistant Qualification.

These qualifications help to develop the necessary skills to be an SEN teaching assistant while showcasing additional communication skills, including British Sign Language, which can also be beneficial during an interview.

Once they have a significant level of classroom experience, teaching assistants can progress to become higher-level teaching assistants (HLTA) or fully-qualified teachers.

Others may specialise in SEN teaching, taking roles in mainstream or special schools to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

What basic skills can help you to thrive as an SEN teaching assistant?


The role of an SEN teaching assistant is multifaceted. 

Given the nature of the role and the type of pupils you’ll be working with, an understanding of various special educational needs makes managing different behaviour situations slightly easier.


An SEN teaching assistant will also be expected to deal with situations calmly and sensitively and will need to recognise that every SEN pupil is different and will display unique behaviours and reactions.


Strong communication skills enable you to deal with these challenging situations. At the same time, the role also requires a degree of flexibility, as approaches which work for some pupils may not work for others.

In addition to all of these skills, a great SEN teaching assistant will have the desire to constantly improve the school learning environment for the benefit of both themselves and the pupils they support. 

This underlying drive enables them to deliver the best outcomes for those under their supervision, as it usually means that youngsters have access to the available tools and support.

Thinking of becoming an SEN teaching assistant?

Now that you know your skills to succeed, it's time to put your career in gear. 

Check out the latest SEN teaching assistant jobs; you'll find vacancies across the UK. 

Our process is streamlined, so you can have your applications submitted in just a few clicks.

Alternatively, contact our team, and we'll contact you to discuss how we can support your education career. 

Our recruitment consultants take great pride in being one of the leading education recruitment agencies in the UK. 

We work hard to deliver the highest quality candidate care and match you with a teaching job that is perfect for you.