To ask if any of you are teaching assistants

(77 Posts)
Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 12:13:56

And whether you could tell me what sort of questions to expect at a job interview for a secondary school TA? It looks like it'll be working with the more 'challenging' kids.

I have no experience in this area so I'm really nervous!

Littleturkish Sun 24-Feb-13 12:16:02

Do you have to be shadowed first as part of the interview?

Do you have no experience at all? No children of your own?

What made you apply for the job, how will you react if a student refuses to follow a request by you/the teacher, what will you do if you are disclosed something by a student that suggests they are in danger etc

Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 12:32:44

It didn't say anything on the letter about shadowing.

No experience with secondary age kids. I'm 22 so none of my own yet. I've been a volunteer Brownie leader but that's younger children.

Littleturkish Sun 24-Feb-13 12:54:59

Well, they might ask you to shadow an LSA and then would ask you questions about that- that's quite normal.

How about younger teenage siblings? I think your brownie leader experience is totally transferable- you know how to use your voice/tone to convey your instructions, not to shout, have a rapport with young people etc

Also, you were recently a teenager! I always think that helps when you start out ;)

thebody Sun 24-Feb-13 13:34:03

Hi I am a TA in a first school so different ages.

The role is to help the teachers deliver the national curriculum so that each child has the best opportunity to succeed. Every child matters policy

However you need to be thinking along the lines of safeguarding, sharing of information and confidentiality.

How you will work to the schools own discipline and reward schemes.

Being a good role model, positive and enthusiastic but understanding your own limitations and when to ask for help.

This is all on line, also look in the schools website.

Are you going to do the college course? Good luck btw.

poppywillows Sun 24-Feb-13 13:38:35

They'll ask what you would do of one of them came to you to tell you they were suffering abuse either at home or school, what you would do if a student was abusive to you, the usual asking for examples when you've dealt with a difficult person before and also do lots of research on the school so you have questions at the end. The reason I know this is because I know someone who has just had an interview at a secondary school for teaching assistant for challenging kids smile

TroublesomeEx Sun 24-Feb-13 14:28:00

What would you do if you suspected a child was at risk of harm/being harmed/made a disclosure to you that you were worried about?

You will definitely get a question along those lines. The answer is to tell the designated teacher for child protection and record it appropriately. Or something along those lines. It doesn't need to be a fancy answer because the above is what they want you to do and they also want to know that you're not going to conduct your own mini investigation.

You will probably have something along the lines of:

What is your understanding of the role of a teaching assistant?

You will be working closely with the class teacher/other teachers in the year group/key stage. How will you go about ensuring good relationships within the team?

Look at the person specification again. Make sure you have an example to offer of your experience for each of the points on the person spec. Make sure you know your 'personal statement' bit of the application form inside out and can elaborate on the evidence you gave in that.

Remember, you've already impressed them because you've got an interview. All they want to do now is cross the Ts, dot the Is and make sure they get the right person for them.

Oh and make sure you smile and look the interviewers in the eye, don't be afraid to ask them to repeat a question or take some time to think about it or to come back to a question later. Don't make jokes, but come across as human and someone that they warm to. They want someone who's looking out for their kids.

Good luck x

cocolepew Sun 24-Feb-13 14:46:45

I work in a special school with children with challenging behaviour.
Like others have said you will need to mention confidentially, say thay it is a priority to know who the child protection teacher is, and the first aider . Maybe the children will have behaviour protocols or IEPS and it will be a priority to learn these and the classroom protocol.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Feb-13 14:53:00

You really need to get yourself some training in order to stand a chance.

Last year the Head at my DS's Infant school advertised for a TA.

Within 3 days of that advert going out, she had 30 applicants and nearly 60 by the end of the week.

The job actually went to a qualified teacher in the end who had decided to return to work after a few years off and decided to be a TA.

Having said that, I do live in London so maybe that's the difference?

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 24-Feb-13 15:00:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CelticPixie Sun 24-Feb-13 15:01:38

It's actually very hard to get a job as TA, especially in a primary school. Unless you have a child there, are an ex pupil, or already know a member of a staff then I wouldn't even bother applying. They will always get first dibs, speaking from personal experience.

Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 15:05:58

Thanks everyone!

I'm actually a qualified nurse bit I'm not sure that I want to continue with a career in nursing. It does mean that I have a good knowledge of confidentiality and safeguarding though.

This interview is only for a temporary job but I want to get some experience working with young people.

Worra I'm not getting my hopes up too much, but you don't get anywhere if you don't try!

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 24-Feb-13 15:11:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Sun 24-Feb-13 15:20:45

I got my first TA job without any experience, that was a good while ago now though. They had over 100 applications for 3 jobs. I think I was just lucky, I did do well in the interview though, could just tell at the time that they liked me.

Also had to spend a lesson with the most challenging class which went well. Be prepared to answer lots of what would you do if...questions.

HorribleMother Sun 24-Feb-13 15:57:00

OP got an interview without any relevant experience or qualifications?! That doesn't happen around here. sad

Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 16:04:25

Yes Horrible, I assume it might be something to do with transferable skills.

Some of the replies here have been really helpful. Not so sure about the few basically telling me that I have no chance of getting the job though!

spg1983 Sun 24-Feb-13 17:11:09

I was about the same age as you when I first became a TA in a secondary school and I got asked lots of questions about what I would do if the pupils got over-familiar or didn't respect me as much because I was young. I was the youngest candidate and the others weren't asked those questions but they formed a major part of my interview.

MadamFolly Sun 24-Feb-13 17:40:36

I'm a TA but also a qualified teacher which helps.

I would mention that you are a good team worker who can present a united front to the children with other staff. You could also say you are happy working in the classroom, with small groups and one to one with students. Mention the importance of keeping records in order to track student progress and help with funding applications.

It would be a good idea to learn some of the lingo: SA, SA+, ADHD etc

MajaBiene Sun 24-Feb-13 17:42:24

If you have got an interview then you have a very good chance - they will only interview people who meet all their criteria.

HorribleMother Sun 24-Feb-13 18:12:22

I know a lady with PGCE, and another 30 yrs of nursing experience and they tell me that have no hope of getting an interview for a TA job without TA NVQ (both working on it).

BatmanLovesVodkaAndCherryade Sun 24-Feb-13 18:36:59

Madrat, they won't be interviewing you if they aren't genuinely interested in you - there's not enough money in the budget for that!

Well done on getting to interview - your CV must look good smile

I second / third / fourth all the people saying Child Protection will come up, and it's likely they will ask what you would do if a child was challenging towards you in any way (answer: follow the school's behaviour policy, and if still no go, talk to class teacher / SENCO / Head of Year etc)

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 24-Feb-13 18:41:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

willesden Sun 24-Feb-13 18:44:26

OP didn't ask whether she had a chance actually getting the job, so not understanding WorraLiberty's reply which was very very negative.
As a qualified nurse, you are halfway there, especially with safeguarding and confidentiality issues. You will receive training; they won't expect you to know it all, and as they have invited you to interview, you are in with a good chance. I would ask to spend some time in school before the interview, to pick up on the atmosphere, etc. It will give you more questions to ask in the actual interview too. Good luck.

MajaBiene Sun 24-Feb-13 18:45:17

It will vary from area to area, and the level of TA job. Some jobs might ask for a specific level 3 qualification, or for any equivalent, or just experience, or something else entirely. It is impossible to generalise for all schools across the country.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 24-Feb-13 18:51:10

I'm a secondary TA - I was asked the above questions - about confidentiality, disclosures etc.

I was also asked basic literacy/numeracy questions etc.

My previous experience was restaurant management - plus a bit of voluntary work in a primary school.

I got offered the job after telling a rowdy class waiting by the interview room that 'Considering you have no idea who I am, or why I'm sat here you are not giving a very good impression of your school.' They shut up instantly, the panel overheard, and were impressed. grin

Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 18:53:37

I never thought of being asked about inappropriate advances towards me. Good point.

And Madam thanks for suggesting I read up on those things.

Horrible I'm not sure what the point is in telling me you can't get an interview without an NVQ since I already have an interview. And I know several TAs who got jobs without previous experience.

And they wouldn't interview someone with no chance at all of being successful, they'd be wasting their own time if they did. They already asked my old manager for a reference as well.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 24-Feb-13 19:13:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thebody Sun 24-Feb-13 19:24:31

Op I am a qualified nurse too so maybe that does help you get an interview as nurses have to develop so many skills.

Bollocks to those who say you don't get a job with no specific TA qualification. I did. Love the job do now doing the level 3.

If they like you they like you. People skills are vital for this role.

TroublesomeEx Sun 24-Feb-13 19:31:30

I agree thebody. They want to know that you have the skills required and that you have demonstrated these. The TA NVQ is just one way of acquiring them if you haven't already gained them through other means.

As a nurse or a teacher, you'd be hugely overqualified for the role of a TA and wouldn't be required to retrain at a much lower level. It would be pointless.

Lovelygoldboots Sun 24-Feb-13 19:47:39

I was interviewed twice for my job as lunchtime supervisor, the successful applicant was a nurse but she didn't stay long. Another ta at school was a nurse. Good luck, I am starting nvq placement this week.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 19:50:04

Horrible - that is incorrect ime.

I work as a HLTA (was level 3 TA before promotion last year) in an infant school. I am also a qualified secondary school teacher, having worked as a teacher for 10y or so, as well as 3 years working in adult prison ed and as an advice and guidance worker. I applied for one job and was offered that job, and have worked here for 4 years now.

This is not unusual. At my school there are four other TAs who are also qualified teachers of varying experience.

This is also not uncommon as know of other qualified teachers working as TAs for various reasons. I am doing it as I wanted better home life work balance whilst DD was at primary school, and wanted out of secondary. I have considered returning to teaching but in primary but really enjoying what I do now, and fortunately I am in a position where the reduced income is okay.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 19:52:37

Oh - and I have no TA qualifications at all at any level. I didn;t need them for the TA job, nor the HLTA role. My teaching qualification and QTS was deemed more than enough, not surprisingly!!!

The key words for the TA interview - teaching and learning. How will you aid the teaching and learning in the classroom? Remember that you are a teaching assistant and not a teacher's assistant - a slight word change but a huge difference to what the role means. My TA role is actually called a learning support assistant, which makes it more clear tbh.

BitchyHen Sun 24-Feb-13 19:57:49

This is a really useful thread on TES covering TA interview questions and answers given. Good luck with your interview. I went from lunchtime supervisor in a secondary school, to volunteering as a TA while training, to working as a TA in a pupil referral unit. I love my job, it's hard work but the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Jestrin Sun 24-Feb-13 19:59:11

I expect its been said but you do need to have a CACHE certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in School to be a TA nowadays. Good luck!

Jestrin Sun 24-Feb-13 20:00:39

The NVQ merged with the CACHE course hence the new name I quoted above.

MajaBiene Sun 24-Feb-13 20:01:09

Obviously you don't Jestrin, or the OP wouldn't have been offered an interview.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 20:03:23

Jestrin - it is not a qualification that is essential to the job though. A successful applicant just needs to have a relevant qualification at a relevant level for the role they are applying for, and often some experience - although again, depending on how an applicant interviews this is also not essential.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 24-Feb-13 20:11:53

I have no TA qualifications - have been doing the job just fine. In fact have turned down two poaching attempts from other schools. One in the five weeks since I returned from Mat Leave.

Our latest TA came from the Clarins Make-Up counter!! grin

Good Luck OP!!

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 24-Feb-13 20:25:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeyToodles Sun 24-Feb-13 20:25:13

A question I was asked was how I would react if a pupil told me to fuck off.

I responded with tell them they are wrong for swearing and following the correct disclipline procedure but also find out what made them so upset they felt they had to swear in the first place.

I got the job! And also got told to fuck off a few times grin challenging kids also

HorribleMother Sun 24-Feb-13 20:30:22

Sheesh, I'm just saying that around HERE (that's right, HERE, not where you lot are, but HERE) it's seemingly impossible to get a TA job without the right bits of recent paper or recent previous experience as a TA. I'm very envy envy and a little shock that it's still possible to get TA jobs more easily elsewhere. Good luck to OP, I wish I had her opportunities.

coldcupoftea Sun 24-Feb-13 20:35:14

Another TA with no TA qualifications here! (just a totally irrelevant masters degree instead). I was very keen for the job and did a lot of research about the school and interview questions beforehand, and also acknowleged in the interview that while I didn't have much experience I was v willing to learn, and highlighted all my transferable skills.

The thread someone else mentioned in the TES Teaching Assistants forum is fantastic, it's a whole list of likely interview questions.

If you don't know the answer, the safest fallback is 'I would follow the school behaviour policy/child protection policy (or whatever policy is appropriate) or I would ask the class teacher/a more experienced TA'. Good luck!

coldcupoftea Sun 24-Feb-13 20:41:21

Oh, and if you haven't already, I would get on the phone to a local school and ask if you can come in for a day to volunteer and observe. Most would be fine with this.

Even the tiniest bit of experience would be useful, as I found a lot of questions were 'give me an example of a time when you have done this...' so even if you have no direct experience you could at least say that you observed a teacher using a particular method and whether it went well or not.

Hulababy Sun 24-Feb-13 20:45:32

Whereabouts are you Horrible?

HarrySnotter Sun 24-Feb-13 20:45:46

Can I pick a few brains? DSD is wanting to work with children and went to a college open day, they recommended that she do the Children and Young People's Workforce Level 3 Diploma and that it would mean she can work as a nursery nurse or a TA does anyone know if this is the case? Clearly not necessary everywhere but thought I'd ask as DSD did say that the woman was very vague. Oh and lots of luck at the interview OP. smile

HorribleMother Sun 24-Feb-13 20:52:11

Rural Norfolk.
Locally, I know someone who got an entry level TA job 6 yrs ago with no qualifications, but she got the job on understanding she would study for NVQ and after she had been a parent volunteer for months, and jobs were easier in every sector to get 6 yrs ago, anyway. And another lady who has been LSAing for donkey's years with no qualifications; but she has lots of experience behind her now. It's new applicants that have no chance. Jobs around here are all care work, though, you can easily get into that with no NVQs.

I'm just very envy of OP, is all.

Madratlady Sun 24-Feb-13 20:58:52

That thread is great thanks smile

Cold I'm not going to have time to arrange to observe a teacher before Wednesday unfortunately!

HarrySnotter it would be good for your DSD if she had some voluntary experience working with children, whether or not she does the course.

BetsyBoop Sun 24-Feb-13 21:33:56

Harrysnotter - have a look at the cache website. I think the CYPW is aimed at working in the EYFS, the STLS is the one for TA roles, but of course there is some overlap as school reception classes are EYFS.

HorribleMother- it is the same in the area where I live, loads of applicants for every posts. Schools can be very picky these days and if you don't tick the qualification boxes (or hold a suitable/equivalent/"better" one) and have recent experience then you won't stand a chance of an interview. However I know in a large city in the same county (unfortunately an hour+ away so no use to me) they are struggling to get any suitable applicants, so it really does vary.

OP - good luck for your interview - that TES questions post is great, it helped me get my current job smile

Jestrin Sun 24-Feb-13 21:49:52

MajaBiene Crikey! I'm just offering advice no need to be as abrupt. As a matter if fact I do have this qualification but thats neither here nor there.

hulababy I'm glad the OP has an interview but as was pointed out, so many people apply for TA positions that it pays to give yourself the best chance possible. Jobs in schools are like gold dust because they fit in with term times and school hours.

Jestrin Sun 24-Feb-13 21:52:08

I will also add that just like horriblemother where I live you have to have 'the right bits of paper'

Littleturkish Sun 24-Feb-13 22:03:02

Good luck mad rat lady!

Another 'selling point' would be you subject knowledge of biology (we assign LSAs to faculties and this level of knowledge would be invaluable) and your experience liaising with parents, as each SEN student will have an IEP which requires you to liaise with different agencies and parents and people skills are vital!

Also, reading up on dyslexia, ASD, aspergers, dyspraxia as well as getting a copy of the school's displine policy (should be online) would be a good idea.

Let us know how you get on!

nosleeps Sun 24-Feb-13 22:54:17

I started as an unqualified TA at about your age. I'm not a TA now, I'm a head teacher. I would happily employ an enthusiastic and articulate person who had common sense and basic understanding of the role.
Make sure you think about how you might answer qus on:
- Safeguarding and child protection
- What you know about a range of needs - ASD, Dyslexia, speech difficulties, emotional and behavioural needs etc
- Confidentiality
- Teamwork
- The effect of helping too much
- How you might work with parents
- What you'd do if you disagreed with a teacher
- Dealing with challenging behaviour
- Skills/qualities/knowledge you bring to the job
- What you want to do long term
- The training you feel you need

Remember, in most cases, the school will have policies and procedures for dealing with things. You should make it clear you would learn and follow these for behaviour, CP etc.

Finally, good luck, you've shown initiative by coming on here so you're in with a good chance!

Jestrin Mon 25-Feb-13 07:26:59

I'd like to say once again Good Luck to madratlady for her interview.

This thread has been very interesting to me. It's seems in certain parts of the country you don't necessarily need a TA qualification but where I live it is the standard. No qualification, you aren't even considered. I,also find it a bit sad that I was knocked for even suggesting it. sad

JambalayaCodfishPie Mon 25-Feb-13 18:29:12

Maybe it was the manner with which you suggested it? wink

Jestrin Mon 25-Feb-13 18:31:01

It wasn't meant in a bad way and reading it back it doesn't seem awful either!

MajaBiene Mon 25-Feb-13 18:34:54

You weren't knocked for suggesting it, it was just incorrect and not relevant to the OP as she already has an interview - telling her she needs to have a certificate when obviously she doesn't isn't helpful.

HorribleMother Tue 26-Feb-13 07:49:00

I don't think anyone told OP she had to have a certificate.
Some people said that in their part of the country they couldn't get an interview as easily as she could.
It's like saying it rains different amounts in different places. Just a comment on difference.

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 10:11:30

"You do need to have a certificate nowadays" - nope, that's not a comment on difference.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 26-Feb-13 11:17:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jestrin Tue 26-Feb-13 11:59:32

Are you still going on Majabiene? I apologise if you took offence (??)

Thank you HorribleMother

Perhaps I should start my own AIBU thread on why I had to work damn hard to get a qualification to work in education in this part of the country. grin

Now lets drop this, it's hijacking madratlady's thread.

cherrycarpet Tue 26-Feb-13 12:07:34

Good luck with your interview! I've worked as a TA in the past and I think you've been given some good advice here. IMO I would also do a bit of research into various specific conditions which can impact on learning eg. Asperger's, autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, hearing impairments to name just a few. Think about specific situations where a TA might be of value to the student.

IMO some of the main qualities a TA needs are empathy, patience and good, old-fashioned common sense as well as a love of learning and the ability to 'think on the job' and inspire others. You also need to be able to take direction from colleagues and so you need very good communication skills and a diplomatic approach!

nosleeps Tue 26-Feb-13 18:16:40

So? When's the interview? Do let us know how you get/got on.

Madratlady Tue 26-Feb-13 21:02:46

The interview is tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the advice, I feel fairly well prepared.

cocolepew Tue 26-Feb-13 21:06:34

Good luck smile

lljkk Wed 27-Feb-13 18:44:43

How did it go?

JambalayaCodfishPie Wed 27-Feb-13 18:52:28

Please come back and update OP. grin

Madratlady Wed 27-Feb-13 19:05:47

Apparently I did really well in the interview but they gave the job to someone who has worked in the same role before. I didn't think I had much chance of actually getting it.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 27-Feb-13 19:22:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cocolepew Wed 27-Feb-13 19:36:38

Bad luck, but it's all experience. Good luck for next time. You did really well getting an interview, there are people subbing in my school, some for a couple of years, and they didn't get interviews for the jobs they were in hmm.

JambalayaCodfishPie Wed 27-Feb-13 19:43:10

Aaaw no! Sorry! smile

Littleturkish Wed 27-Feb-13 19:45:54

If you did well in the interview- maybe call and ask if you can have a few days work experience with them? Would be good when you apply for your next post?

sarahlimes Sun 02-Jun-13 17:15:48

This thread has been useful along with advise on TES for my interview preparation. Thank you to everyone who is sharing advise! I'm not a mum although feel I should post a comment. I will be sharing my interview experience in a few days.

I don't have an Education/Childcare degree nor TA qualifications, or any experience working in U.K. school, neither am I associated with a school as a volunteer or as a parent.

I've been working as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Teacher abroad for a year with Primary/Early Years students and want to continue to study for a PGCE next year. I stated clearly in my application that I only wanted a years experience and most jobs are only 1 year contracts anyway. I was told while i was abroad by other English teachers that i'd have no problem getting TA work and have spent a couple of months now sending off applications!! I knew I had a slim chance with most of my applications. I guess I'm lucky that TA work is so lowly paid, otherwise I wouldn't stand a chance, I'm just after a years experience like any other intern/apprentice who wants a solid grounding in a career.

I was getting disheartened reading on here that you definitely needed TA qualifications and how competitive getting a TA job is, although if I have an interview offer I must of passed the first stage smile and if I am offered a job then there is hope for everyone on here who still waiting. I'll report back with interview feedback once its over!

Catfriend Fri 28-Jun-13 21:36:52

HI all just wondering what question they asked on CP?? What question did they ask on Equal Opps??

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 28-Jun-13 22:52:44

Sarahlimes, my dh started as an efl teacher and then got a fantastic TA job. He's now doing training and taking courses on understanding autism and he's really enjoying it. Good luck to you! It's a very rewarding career!

Kafri Fri 28-Jun-13 23:04:23

Defo expect something on safeguarding and your understanding of it. Do a bit of research into it - came about cos of Victoria climbie, and has been updated regularly - latterly following baby peter. perhaps mention lord laming and ECM.

sheridand Sat 29-Jun-13 21:07:41

Just to answer a query above, if you are a qualified teacher with QTS, you are qualified as a TA, up to HLTA level at most schools. Some schools will require you to get HLTA status as well but most will not. I know of many, many teachers who are TA's now, myself included!

hashimaftab Sat 19-Oct-13 19:11:46

Hi
Can anybody please help me with interview questions and answers for a TA at a secondary school.
will much appreciate your help.

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