What Is a Teaching Assistant?


You Will Learn.

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

What Is a Teaching Assistant?

A Teaching Assistant (or TA for short) assists a teacher by providing teaching and learning support to help children with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. 

Some Teaching Assistants work exclusively with pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities (SEND).

Teaching Assistants are also known as Learning Support Assistants, Classroom Assistants, Pupil Support Assistants or Teacher’s Aides. 

What Are the Responsibilities of a Teaching Assistant?

Working as a Teaching Assistant encompasses a wide range of responsibilities to support both students and teachers in the classroom. 

Teaching Assistants play a key role in preparing the classroom for lessons and creating displays of children's work to foster a stimulating learning environment. During lessons, Teaching Assistants will work closely with pupils to ensure their understanding of a subject and maintain their focus, providing motivation to promote positive behaviour and learning.

Teaching Assistant support includes helping children who require additional assistance, as well as supporting the teacher in managing challenging behaviour to maintain a positive classroom atmosphere. Teaching Assistants will actively engage in improving literacy skills by listening to pupils read.

Beyond the classroom, Teaching Assistant roles involve attending training sessions to develop and nurture skills. They also contribute to the school community by assisting with extra-curricular activities such as clubs and outings. Their dedication to maintaining a safe and healthy environment ensures the well-being of all students in your care.

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

  • Prepare the classroom for lessons and help to tidy up after activities. 
  • Create displays of children's work.
  • Work with pupils to make sure they understand the work. 
  • Work with pupils to make sure they stay focussed. 
  • Motivate and encourage pupils. 
  • Help children who require extra support. 
  • Support the teacher in managing challenging behaviour. 
  • Promote positive behaviour.
  • Listen to pupils read. 
  • Read to pupils and tell them stories. 
  • Supervise group activities.
  • Attend training lessons. 
  • Keep a record of pupils' progress and provide detailed feedback to teachers. 
  • Report any issues if they arise. 
  • Take care of pupils who are upset, unwell or have had an accident. Teaching Assistants can administer first aid if necessary.
  • Assist with extra-curricular activities such as breakfast, after-school and homework clubs.
  • Attend and assist on classroom outings or sporting events. 
  • Assist in providing a safe and healthy environment which follows safeguarding procedures. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To become an entry-level Teaching Assistant, you will need GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) in maths and English, experience of working with children and basic literacy and numeracy skills. 

Although not essential, further education such as A Levels, a degree or passing a Teaching Assistant course could be advantageous in the recruitment process. 

To work within a school, Teaching Assistants will also need to pass an enhanced criminal records check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or Disclosure Scotland.

The average salary for Teaching Assistant jobs in the UK varies depending on location, experience, and type of school. They vary from around £17,000 to £22,000 per year.

However, due to the higher cost of living, Teaching Assistants in London can expect to earn between £21,000 to £23,000 per year.

Some Teaching Assistants may earn more than this range, while others may earn less. It's important to note that Teaching Assistants may also receive additional benefits, such as pensions and holiday pay.

The majority of Teaching Assistants jobs are found in mainstream (primary and secondary) & independent schools, SEND schools, colleges and sixth forms, academies and nurseries. 

What Skills Does a Teaching Assistant Need?

Teaching Assistant roles include possessing excellent communication and organisational skills to effectively support pupils of diverse ages and backgrounds. A Teaching Assistants positivity will enable them to motivate and inspire students and build strong relationships tailored to individual needs. Empathy and understanding are essential traits for Teaching Assistants to provide attentive care and guidance.

A Teaching Assistant role encompasses teaching pupils and working collaboratively with various colleagues, including Teachers, Support Staff, Educational Psychologists, and other professionals. A Teaching Assistants adaptability will allow them to relate to students from all backgrounds, promoting a welcoming and inclusive learning environment.

With excellent literacy, numeracy, and IT skills, a Teaching Assistant will contribute to the knowledge of the school curriculum, fostering a creative mindset to engage students effectively. A focus on pupil safety and wellbeing reinforces the overall ethos and aims of the school, promoting self-esteem and independence.

A Teaching Assistant should demonstrate a commitment to continuous development by keeping up to date with educational policies, ensuring compliance with confidentiality, child protection, health, safety, security, and data protection procedures.

As a dedicated Teaching Assistant, your diverse skill set and compassionate approach play a vital role in supporting students' educational journey, fostering a nurturing and inclusive educational environment.

Key skills of a Teaching Assistant include:

  • Excellent communication skills. 
  • Great organisational skills.
  • A positive mindset with the ability to motivate, inspire and build rapport with pupils of all ages and backgrounds.  
  • A professional attitude to work. 
  • Establish constructive relationships with pupils and interact with them according to their individual needs. 
  • Empathy, sensitivity and understanding. 
  • The ability to teach pupils.  
  • The ability to successfully work alongside other colleagues within the school including Teachers, fellow Support Staff, Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists and Social Workers. 
  • The ability to relate to pupils of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Excellent literacy and numeracy skills. 
  • Knowledge of the school curriculum. 
  • IT skills.
  • Patience including the ability to manage challenging behaviour.
  • A creative mindset. 
  • A strong focus on pupil safety and wellbeing.
  • Promote self-esteem and independence in pupils. 
  • Friendly and welcoming. 
  • Contribute to the overall ethos and aims of the school. 
  • Respect for diversity. While working as a Teaching Assistant, you will work with pupils, parents, teachers and governors from all walks of life and backgrounds. 
  • Commitment to continued professional development and staying up to date with educational and school policies. 
  • Comply with policies and procedures which relate to confidentiality, child protection, health, safety and security and data protection. 

Teaching Assistant Jobs.

If you're searching for your next career opportunity, why not take a look at all the latest 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 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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If you're searching for your next Teaching Assistant job, why not upload your CV?

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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