What skills do you need to become a Teaching Assistant?


Teaching assistants play an essential role in schools across the country, so do you have the skills required to step into a role that makes a real difference?

There’s the full-time equivalent of more than 271,000 teaching assistants in English schools according to the latest government data, with many providing an invaluable resource to teachers and pupils alike.

From aiding struggling pupils and providing one-to-one classroom support to helping teachers with lesson delivery, the role is highly varied and allows teaching assistants to play a key role in helping youngsters to achieve their potential. If you think the role might be right for you, take a look at what we think will help you in your next steps to becoming a TA.

What qualifications might you need?

Since schools can set their own requirements when hiring teaching assistants, the qualifications you need might vary wildly between one institution and the next.

However, you’ll likely be expected to have basic literacy and numeracy skills to a minimum of a pass at GCSE level or the equivalent, while experience in childcare, nurseries or working with children is also beneficial.

There are also some theory-based qualifications out there which can boost your employment prospects, such as the Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools, or the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.

What skills do teaching assistants need?

Like any role in education, good communication skills form a vital part of the day-to-day activities. From explaining tasks to youngsters concisely to building solid relationships with pupils and other staff, it’s one of the most important skills to have. Empathy is also key, as it enables a teaching assistant to foster the kinds of working relationships that can enable youngsters to be successful.

On top of this, a teaching assistant should enjoy working with children and must have the ability to deal with challenging behaviours and other situations. Each school day will differ from one to the next, and an ability to remain patient and not be overwhelmed is important. This means that situations can be dealt with in the right way and in line with the relevant school policies.

Organisational skills are also essential, as a teaching assistant will often find themselves switching between different classrooms and different pupils who require assistance. Knowing where to be and which staff to talk to becomes pivotal to crafting positive working processes. Most teaching assistants are often highly flexible in their approaches too, as this enables them to achieve better outcomes for pupils.

Basic IT skills and additional languages can also be useful, especially when providing support in a classroom where the majority of pupils may have English as a second language. Ultimately, all of these skills come together to enable teaching assistants to make a real difference in classrooms, so if you think you have what it takes, get in touch with us today.

How Tradewind can support you in your journey to becoming a Teaching Assistant

We have lots of resources online to help support your TA job search, from writing the perfect CV to our top interview tips. We have hundreds of teaching assistant roles available, see our latest vacancies here.

If you have any worries about starting a new Teaching Assistant role, we have collated our top 10 tips for new TA’s.