What Is a SEN Teaching Assistant?


You Will Learn.

  • What is a SEN Teaching Assistant? 
  • How to become a SEN Teaching Assistant
  • What are the responsibilities of a SEN Teaching Assistant?
  • What qualifications does a SEN Teaching Assistant need?
  • What’s the average salary of a SEN Teaching Assistant?
  • Who employs SEN Teaching Assistants?
  • What skills does a SEN Teaching Assistant need?  
  • Where the latest SEN Teaching Assistant jobs are and how to apply for them

What Is a SEN Teaching Assistant?

A Special Educational Needs (SEN) Teaching Assistant is responsible for supporting SEN Teachers with helping pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities, within the classroom. 

The role of a SEN Teaching Assistant is very rewarding but can also be challenging as it involves supporting children and young adults with a range of different learning needs. 

A SEN Teaching Assistant will help a Teacher to deliver fun, engaging and informative lessons to students and will help with the day to day running of the classroom as well as important administrative tasks. 

To be a successful SEN Teaching Assistant, you must be compassionate, patient, flexible and a good communicator. Working with pupils who have different needs means being able to adapt and assist them in the best way to suit their needs. 

What Are the Responsibilities of a SEN Teaching Assistant?

SEN Teaching Assistants play a crucial role in ensuring a supportive and enriching learning environment for students. Inside and outside the classroom, they provide essential support to the SEND Teacher, assisting with various tasks that facilitate effective teaching and learning. 

From preparing learning materials for the day ahead to working alongside professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, their collaborative efforts contribute to a comprehensive approach to addressing students' diverse needs.

Creating a safe, enjoyable, and clean learning space is paramount for SEN Teaching Assistants. They foster an atmosphere that promotes positive engagement and student development. Whether it's supporting pupils' use of ICT during lessons or facilitating planned activities that align with individual learning plans, these dedicated professionals ensure that students receive tailored support and encouragement to thrive academically and emotionally.

A SEN Teaching Assistants proficiency in managing resources and learning materials ensures that students have the necessary tools to actively participate in their educational journey, making SEN Teaching Assistants an invaluable asset in supporting students' individual growth and achievement.

While working as a SEN Teaching Assistant, you will be required to: 

  • Provide support to the class teacher inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Prepare learning materials for the day ahead.
  • Create a safe, fun and clean learning environment for children.
  • Work alongside professionals such as speech and language therapists.
  • Attend important staff meetings.
  • Support pupils using ICT within the classroom environment.
  • Support pupils learning through planned activities.
  • Provide basic first aid if required.
  • Administer medication to pupils in line with school policy.
  • Manage resources and stock used as learning materials for pupils.

Frequently Asked Questions

To embark on a rewarding career as a SEN Teaching Assistant, you'll need to pursue relevant qualifications in education or childcare. It's essential to gain hands-on experience by working with children with special needs, honing your skills and understanding. 

As you apply for SEN Teaching Assistant jobs, showcase your attributes of patience, empathy, and a genuine dedication to supporting the diverse learning needs of every individual. 

Your passion for making a positive difference in the lives of these students will undoubtedly shine through as you embrace this fulfilling role.

To become a Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant, you will need to be at least 18 years old and to have passed the required tests.

These include background checks to ensure you are approved to work with vulnerable children in a school setting. 

There are a number of ways to begin a career as a SEN Teaching Assistant. You might choose to complete a college qualification which could include obtaining a level 2 and 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, a level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education Early Years Educator or a T Level in Education and Childcare.

An alternative route to explore is an apprenticeship to become an SEN Teaching Assistant. This involves partaking in an Early Years Practitioner Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship, and Advanced Teaching Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship or an Early Years Educator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. 

You may also choose to apply for an SEN Teaching Assistant role if you have previous experience of working with children who have disabilities or learning difficulties. It’s up to each individual school to set their own requirements for anyone using this method to enter the education industry. 

Whichever road you take to become a SEN Teaching Assistant, having experience of working with children, even in a mainstream school, is something most schools look for.

The average salary SEN Teaching Assistant jobs in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, such as location, experience, and qualifications.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average annual salary for SEN Teaching Assistants in the UK is £17,522.

However, this figure may vary depending on whether the role is full-time or part-time, and the level of responsibility and experience required for the specific SEN Teaching Assistant role.

It's worth noting that salaries can also vary depending on the region and Local Authority in which the school or educational institution is located.

Some SEN Teaching Assistants may also be entitled to additional benefits, such as pension contributions, sick pay, and annual leave.

The majority of SEN Teaching Assistants jobs are in specialist SEN schools or in a mainstream schools. 

As an SEN Teaching Assistant, you might be required to assist a small group of pupils who require additional support or to provide assistance on a one to one basis for a pupil with additional learning needs. 

Not all mainstream schools will require an SEN Teaching Assistant, this will be dependent on the number of pupils who attend the school who require additional support. 

One of the main differences between an SEN school and a mainstream school is that SEN schools generally have more staff in order to effectively support pupils with their learning needs.

What Skills Does a SEN Teaching Assistant Need?

Being a successful SEN Teaching Assistant requires a diverse set of skills. Effective communication is essential to provide clear instructions and support to these students, while patience is key in managing potential challenges and engaging with them in a meaningful way. Creativity plays a significant role in creating a fun and stimulating learning environment that fosters their growth and development.

To excel in this role, organisational skills are vital to handle administrative tasks efficiently and prioritise daily responsibilities. Listening skills enable you to understand each pupil's unique needs, ensuring you can offer the most effective support. Additionally, your ability to remain calm under pressure allows you to address challenging situations proactively and prevent escalation.

Flexibility is crucial as you adapt your approach to cater to each pupil's individual requirements, ensuring they receive the personalised support they need. Proficiency in using ICT and technology enhances the school curriculum, enriching the pupils' learning experiences.

An effective SEN Teaching Assistant will possess excellent time management skills to keep the day running smoothly and establish a consistent routine for the students. 

Above all, approachability ensures that pupils feel confident and safe in your care, fostering an environment where they can approach you for assistance and guidance in the classroom. As a dedicated SEN Teaching Assistant, these valuable qualities contribute to providing an inclusive and supportive educational journey for students with additional learning needs.

Key skills of a SEN Teaching Assistant include:

  • Good communication to effectively give instructions to pupils with additional learning needs. 
  • Patience to effectively manage potentially challenging situations and to communicate with pupils who have additional learning needs. 
  • Creativity to provide pupils with a fun and engaging environment to learn in. 
  • Organisation to keep on top of important administrative tasks and to prioritise the day to day workload.
  • Listening skills to understand the needs of a pupil and how to support them in the most effective way. 
  • The ability to remain calm under pressure and to resolve challenging situations before they escalate. 
  • Flexibility in order to adapt to a pupil’s individual needs and to support them in a manner that suits them. 
  • Confidence using ICT and technology to enhance the school curriculum and a pupil’s day to day learning. 
  • Good time management to ensure the day runs smoothly and to provide pupils with an established routine. 
  • Approachability to ensure pupil’s feel confident and safe within your care and can approach you for assistance in the classroom.

SEN Teaching Assistant Jobs.

If you're searching for your next career opportunity, why not take a look at all the latest SEN Teaching Assistant jobs available in your area now?

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At Spencer Clarke Group, we work with a variety of schools covering a wide geographical area. We offer SEN Teaching Assistant placements at:

  • Primary Schools
  • Secondary Schools
  • Special Education Needs Schools
  • Colleges 

Why not get in contact with one of our specialists who can advise on current and upcoming opportunities?


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Once registered, your CV will be directed to the most relevant consultant and they will contact you when a suitable vacancy becomes available.

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