8 Special Needs Teaching Assistant Interview Questions & Answers

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • The 8 most common SEND Teaching Assistant interview questions and how to answer them.
  • How to prepare for a SEND Teaching Assistant interview.
  • What to say in a SEND Teaching Assistant interview.
  • Where the latest SEND Teaching Assistant jobs are and how to apply for them. 


Teaching Assistants are often hailed as the unsung heroes of the classroom, especially SEND Teaching Assistants. They provide vital support for Teachers to ensure that they deliver the curriculum, as well as giving students extra opportunities to thrive – socially, emotionally, and academically.

Getting an interview is an incredible achievement especially considering the increase in the number of SEND Teaching Assistants and greater competition for the job. According to SENploy, the number of Teaching Assistants within special schools in England have risen even more sharply than in mainstream schools with a 140% rise over 10 years.

Landing a new job can be challenging but if you are able to confidently answer interview questions and provide examples of your experience and knowledge, you’ll be on the right track for success.


Special Needs Teaching Assistant interview questions

8 common Special Needs Teaching Assistant interview questions include: 

  1. How would you support the SEND Teacher?
  2. What do you think are the essential qualities for a SEND Teaching Assistant?
  3. Why are you interested in this role/school?
  4. How do you build relationships with students?
  5. How would you manage challenging behaviour in the classroom?
  6. What action would you take if you had a concern about a child?
  7. How do you want to make a difference in your student’s lives?
  8. How would you adapt your approach to meet the differing needs of your students?


How would you support the SEND Teacher?

This question is designed to learn more about how you contribute and support the SEND Teacher. SEND Teaching Assistants are required to maintain norms or conduct, plus their closer, less formal bond with pupils make SEND Teaching Assistants integral to many schools SEND support strategies.


How to answer this question

In your answer, discuss your ability to create a relationship with Teachers and the importance of supporting each other in the classroom. Mention examples of ways you would support the Teacher in any circumstances, including: 

  • Preparing learning materials.
  • Adapting your approach to the student's needs.
  • Looking after children's physical, social and emotional welfare.
  • Creating an inclusive and engaging environment for students.
  • Keeping records and attending review meetings.


What do you think are the essential qualities for a SEND Teaching Assistant?

For this question, the interviewer is looking for your awareness and understanding of the essential skills and qualities needed to be a good SEND Teaching Assistant. They want to see if you possess the skills required for the role and whether your experiences and knowledge are what they are looking for.


How to answer this question

To answer this question well, candidates need to think about the qualities and skills that make a great SEND Teaching Assistant. Mention qualities such as patience, compassion, creativity, dedication, reliability and stress how important these skills are.

Provide examples of how you possess each of those qualities and what they are beneficial for. Mention the skills needed, what skills you can bring to the role and how you can contribute to the overall success of the school.


Why are you interested in this position/school?

The interviewer wants to see some of your passion and enthusiasm for the education and SEND sector, the role and the school that you are applying for. They are looking to learn more about your goals and the benefits to working with them.


How to answer this question

This is your opportunity to show off your enthusiasm to join their school specifically and the research you have done in preparation for the interview. Look back at the job description and clearly outline how you meet the requirements and what you can bring to the role.

Discuss the research you have done on the school in preparation and provide specific examples of achievements at the school that have impressed you e.g. (Ofsted report, community involvement, latest news).

Mention specific examples or achievements that you found in your research and don’t be too general. Be specific when mentioning what you hope to bring to the role and the potential future of you working with/at the school.


How do you build relationships with students?

We all know that good relationships with pupils are vital to ensure they feel safe, supported, and have the opportunity to learn and succeed. The interviewer wants to know that you understand the importance of creating a relationship with students and that you can build trust and understanding.

Establishing relationships with students, especially those with special needs, is crucial to give them every chance of success.


How to answer this question

In your answer, explain how you would build a rapport with new students to learn more about their likes and dislikes. Mention ways that you have successfully built a rapport with new students such as activities to do together or how you have communicated to gain information about them.


How would you manage challenging behaviour in the classroom?

Behavioural challenges can occur in the classroom, and in the interview you will be expected to communicate how you would deal with a stressful or escalating situation.

The interviewer is looking to assess how you react to difficult situations and if you are aware of the likelihood of resistance or refusal to learn from students with SEND.


How to answer this question

In your answer, you should stress your knowledge and experience of a time when you had to manage a difficult situation or a student displaying challenging behaviour. Discuss how you controlled the situation, whilst maintaining the wellbeing of the students at all times. Mention any effective techniques that you used to handle or deescalate the situation.


What action would you take if you had a concern about a child?

It’s likely some common safeguarding questions will come up in the interview, therefore it is important to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of safeguarding and school procedures.

This is an important question to answer correctly as it is the responsibility of the SEND Teaching Assistant to safeguard every child within the school. SEND Teaching Assistants have a responsibility and duty of care to protect students, however, they need to be sure and cautious before they take action.


How to answer this question

In your answer, highlight your knowledge of safeguarding including the signs of abuse/radicalisation/neglect and the proper way to deal with concerns. Mention what steps you would take to ensure that your concerns are worthy of investigation and how to report or escalate matters.

Describe your approach and the best way to raise a concern regarding a child and other members of staff, while ensuring the safety and needs of the child are met.


How do you want to make a difference in your student’s lives?

This question is looking to get into what you can bring to the role and the impact you can have on children’s education, wellbeing and lives. The interviewer wants to make you aware that the role is of great importance and that the ability to positively impact and make a difference is of the utmost importance.


How to answer this question

In your answer, highlight your passion for the role and your desire to truly make a difference. The interview might want you to be specific about any ideas that you have to make things better for your students. Explain how your goals and plans would benefit students and why you believe it is important to tackle these issues.


How would you adapt your approach to meet the differing needs of your students?

A SEND Teaching Assistant is required to work with students of various ages each with different requirements and different levels of care to help them thrive. 

SEND Teaching Assistants can’t take a one-size fits-all approach as each child has different developmental, behavioural and emotional needs.


How to answer this question

This question is looking for more information about your experiences, knowledge and adaptability to show that you are capable of understanding the specific needs and requirements of each child.

In your answer, you must demonstrate your understanding of every student's individual needs and highlight any examples or experiences that you have had where you’ve had to change your approach for different students' needs.


How do I prepare for a SEND Teaching Assistant interview?

Do your research! Make sure you are knowledgeable about the industry, behavioural challenges and safeguarding to ensure that you are prepared for any questions. Be prepared to explain your knowledge and elaborate on any previous experiences you have had.


What should I say in a SEND Teaching Assistant interview?

You must demonstrate confidence, passion and enthusiasm for the role and school which you are applying to. During the interview, make the interviewer aware of how you have performed in previous roles and how you could use that experience to improve their school. 

As well as skills and experience, it’s important to show your personality so the interviewer can envisage whether you would be a good cultural fit for their school.  


SEND Teaching Assistant jobs

Searching for your next SEND Teaching Assistant job? Why not upload your CV or get in touch with our Managing Consultant Jamie Heath who will be happy to offer you advice and assistance throughout your job search.


Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Based in the North West, our education and SEND recruitment agency is committed to providing the best SEND recruitment service to schools and local authorities. From the heart of our organisation to the way we innovate the recruitment industry, we are passionate about matching candidates and clients.

We value roles with the ability to prioritise candidates mental health, better their work life balance and boost their salary. Whether it’s individuals aspiring to their next career move or organisations seeking growth and advancement, we are here to offer our advice and expertise.  

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