Are you a special needs teaching assistant (SEN TA?) Or would you like to become one? Do you need work in this area? Then look no further – Axcis can help!
What does an SEN TA do?
The role of the teaching assistant can vary a lot from school to school. here is a list of typical duties that a TA might be expected to do:
- Working one-to-one or with small groups of students – such as listening to children read, helping those who struggle to understand tasks get to grips with their work or supporting those for which English is not their first language (so if you speak their mother-tongue this can be extra-useful).
- Supporting children with special needs or disabilities – this could be full or part-time, group or one-to-one support and could include a range of duties. For example, students with moderate learning needs might need you to explain the work to them in more detail. Children with more complex special needs might need you to assist with meal times and going to the toilet as well as class work.
- Preparing the classroom for lessons and helping to keep it tidy – this could be anything from helping with display work, to photocopying worksheets or putting materials away at the end of the day.
- Helping with school trips and events – this is an aspect of the role most people thoroughly enjoy. Although a school trip can mean a long day – it can also mean a fun outing to popular destinations such as museums, theme parks and farms.
- Assessment and record-keeping – you may be expected to assist in assessing or maintaining records for the student(s) you work with. Most schools will provide training on what is required if you are expected to help with this.
What qualifications does a TA need?
There are no nationally specified requirements for becoming a teaching assistant. However, schools and local authorities may have their own requirements. Many colleges offer NVQ L2 or 3 courses in supporting teaching and learning. While these courses will further prepare you for working with students, they are not a legal requirement. At Axcis, we often find that it is more about basic skills, attitude and work ethic than it is about what credentials you can offer a school. For more profound special needs, sometimes specific training is required. For example, non-verbal students may need a teaching assistant who can sign or use a picture-based communication system so you’d obviously not be suited to these roles unless you could offer the specific skills required. But just as every child is different, so is every teaching assistant role. However, what is essential is that you have excellent written and spoken English skills and a good level of numeracy since these are key areas students usually require support in.
What are the benefits of TA work?
There are quite a few benefits to doing TA work – some of which are:
- Working school hours – this has obvious benefits for any candidates who have children at school – child care bills can be expensive!
- Flexible work – if doing TA work through an agency, you can pick and choose the days you are available for work.
- Personal and professional development – many schools will offer you access to their staff CPD training, so you are likely to improve your practice in areas such as behaviour support, ICT, Literacy and Numeracy as well as being kept up to date with developments in education. On a personal level, TA work can be very rewarding and supporting children is a very enriching activity for many adults. There is nothing quite like seeing that “lightbulb” moment when a child grasps a concept you have been working on with them.
- Competitive rates of pay – although this is dependent to some extent on the school you work in, the hourly rate for TAs is usually well above the national minimum wage. For an entry level position with the benefits outlined above, this sort of work is far preferable to many other entry level positions in other industries.
- Career Progression – there are various avenues open to you when you are a TA. For example, you may want to become a senior (or Higher Level) Teaching Assistant. Or you might want to become a Learning Mentor or even a Teacher. Many schools will support you in undertaking further training and will often retain your services once you increase your qualification or skill level.
SEN TA Jobs with Axcis
With offices in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Wales, Manchester and Liverpool Axcis has offices which span the country. We work with all sorts of schools in many far-flung villages as well as city centres. So, if you are interested in seeing if you could be a teaching assistant for Axcis, why not fill in our simple online registration form and speak to your local consultant today? Alternatively, browse our TA Jobs and apply online.