The Role of a Teaching Assistant

1-2 minutes

When working as a Teaching Assistant in the classroom, you will responsible for 3 main areas: 

  • Supporting pupils’ learning.
  • Helping pupils to develop their literacy skills.
  • Helping pupils to develop their numeracy skills.

1. Supporting Pupils’ Learning

Children and adults have different ways of processing information. People use the skills of looking, touching or listening in varying amounts depending on their learning style. In addition, different times of the day affect individual levels of concentration; some pupils work better in the morning, others in the afternoon.

As a Teaching Assistant, you will need to be aware of the stages in the development of pupils and their individual learning styles. The pupils you will be working with will be constantly thinking and learning; gathering new information and formulating new ideas about themselves, other people and the world around them.

During learning activities, pupils need:

  • To explore their environment and or investigate new information/ideas.
  • To discover things for themselves through a wide variety of experiences.
  • To feel free to make mistakes in a safe and secure environment using ‘trial and error’.
  • Appropriate support from adults (and other pupils) to encourage and extend their knowledge and skills.
  • To develop autonomy through increased responsibility and working independently.
  • An appropriate learning framework in which to make sense of new information and ideas.

The Teaching Assistant’s role in supporting learning activities involves:

  • Providing learning activities as directed by the teacher.
  • Using appropriate materials and support strategies for each pupil’s needs and abilities.
  • Modifying or adapting learning activities to meet intended learning goals/objectives.
  • Providing assistance at an appropriate level for each pupil.
  • Encouraging pupils to make choices about their own learning.
  • Promoting independent learning.

2. Helping Pupils to Develop their Literacy Skills

The Teaching Assistant plays a key role in supporting the teacher and the pupils during literacy activities. You will need to work with the teacher and find out how the literacy activities are to be organised and your specific role in supporting various activities including class discussions, group activities and tasks for individuals. 

To support primary pupils you will help them to:

  • Read and write confidently and fluently.
  • Check their reading and correct their own mistakes.
  • Know and understand the spelling system.
  • Use this spelling system to read and spell accurately.
  • Develop fluent and legible handwriting.
  • Be interested in words and their meanings.
  • Develop and use an ever increasing vocabulary.
  • Know about and be able to write stories, poems and factual accounts.
  • Plan, draft and revise their own writing.
  • Be interested in books and read for pleasure.
  • Assess and give reasons for their literacy preferences.
  • Develop their imagination, creativity and critical awareness.

3. Helping Pupils To Develop Their Numeracy Skills

In providing effective assistance to a teacher during numeracy activities, you will need to know and understand:

  • What the pupils have to do.
  • The learning goals/objectives for the pupils.
  • The level of support pupils require.
  • How to report any difficulties experienced by the pupils to the teacher.

When supporting pupils in primary school with their numeracy skills you will help them to:

  • Know and understand numbers and the number system.
  • Count, calculate and solve simple maths problems and make simple lists, tables and charts.
  • Use and apply mathematics to tackle and solve practical mathematical problems.
  • Communicate their reasoning about problems and explain their solutions using objects, pictures, diagrams, numbers, symbols and relevant mathematical language.
  • Make mental calculations by imagining numbers and the relationships between them.
  • Select, collect, organise and present appropriate data using graphs and diagrams.

When supporting pupils in secondary schools, you will be helping them to:

  • Know and understand numbers and the number system including positive and negative numbers, factors and prime numbers, equivalent fractions, how fractions, decimals and percentages relate to each other, ratio and proportion.
  • Employ standard methods to perform mental and written calculations including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percentages.
  • Use calculator functions to complete complex calculations and understand the answers calculators give in relation to the initial mathematical problems.
  • Develop efficient problem solving skills.
  • Know and understand how to use letter symbols in algebra.
  • Set up and use simple equations to solve problems select, collect and organise appropriate data using tables, surveys, questionnaires, and CD ROMs presenting results using graphs, pie charts and diagrams relating these to the original problem.
  • Solve increasingly demanding mathematical problems by breaking the problem down into smaller more manageable tasks and developing deductive reasoning.

Could you become a Teaching Assistant? 

If what you’ve just read sounds like the perfect role for you, why not reach out to the Managing Consultant in our Education & SEND team, Jamie Heath on 01772 954200 to discover how to take the next steps to become a Teaching Assistant.

Meet Jamie Heath

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

Planning, Development & Regeneration 

Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.

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