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To ask any teaching assistants a question?

(35 Posts)
Themoonthestars Sun 05-Mar-17 12:16:27

I'm sorry I am posting for traffic.

If you're a TA, how did you go about getting into that role?

I'm currently looking into level 2 courses, however they all require you to either be employed in a TA role, or to have a significant work placement. Minimum 2 full days. Which I can understand why.

There are lots of TA jobs being advertised but all require experience and qualifications.

So where do I start?

I know volunteering is probably a good way to go. My difficulty is I'm already employed in a well paid but non related career, I want a change but it seems I'd have to leave and undertake voluntary work for at least a year.

How do you go about getting a placement in a school?

Albatross26 Sun 05-Mar-17 12:55:11

I'm a TA. I just went for interview and got it, no experience. This was over six years ago mind and I think they're a bit fussier now! My school wouldn't expect you to have done a year of volunteering, maybe a couple of months would be good. Also we don't ask that people have qualifications, not all schools do, it's more important that you're suited to the role. I enjoy my job but bear in mind the pay is awful! Do feel free to message me if you have any questions ( I think you can do that on here!)

Cary2012 Sun 05-Mar-17 13:02:28

Our school insists on NVQ 3 for TAs, but many don't.

I started as a TA, but did voluntary initially, whilst I studied to qualify. Then after getting a job I took Level 4 and went onto HLTA status. Money isn't good, but it is rewarding. I then went on to teaching.

toomuchicecream Sun 05-Mar-17 13:07:14

Can you reduce your current hours and do 1/2 day or a day a week as a volunteer? Most TAs at my school got into it by being a parent volunteer (mostly at their own child's school - not necessarily ours). I think you'd be very unlikely to get a job without any experience in school at all. And be aware that with falling school budgets, TAs are something that can and will be cut. Have you thought about looking at agency TA work as a way in?

Albatross26 Sun 05-Mar-17 13:10:12

Agree with toomuch it's not a very secure job at the moment with cuts everywhere. I work in secondary as a subject specialist so feel a little more secure but they are constantly looking at ways of saving money, and a lot of us feel we'd be first to go.

Themoonthestars Sun 05-Mar-17 13:55:58

Thank you.

I could, and do want to reduce my hours, however the courses I'm looking at require a minimum of 2 full days on a placement. I've got a toddler too so it would be a lot. In theory I could afford to quit work and spend some time doing some voluntary work to but it feels like a gamble with no guarantee of a job in the end.

I know it would mean a pay cut but I'm so miserable in my current job.

jmh740 Sun 05-Mar-17 14:02:54

I started volunteering when my youngest went into reception I did 4 mornings a week. The college I went to have a minimum of 10 hrs a week in class to do level 2 and 15 to do level 3. Could you do 1 afternoon a week in class? You will need to ring round a few schools and ask if they have any space for volunteers you will also need a dbs check. The pay is rubbish but I do love my job I'm currently studying level 3 although in my local authority level 3 jobs are rare.

CaraAspen Sun 05-Mar-17 14:18:10

It helps if TAs have good basic skills. If they have a higher education that is even better.

T00much Sun 05-Mar-17 14:28:12

I've been thinking about this too. I have no relevant qualifications but do have a degree and have helped in D.C. class for a couple of hours a week for 3 yrs. I've seen some online courses which would be easier for me to do but I don't know if they 'count'

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 05-Mar-17 20:17:05

I work in Secondary school as a TA apart from 5 good (A-C) GCSEs there were no essential qualifications although I've studied at level 5 and Previously I had been working in FE, did a short bit of teaching and an admin role.

Scabetty Sun 05-Mar-17 20:23:14

I retrained as a preschool assistant : placement plus college 2 days. Then took a early years degree and went into specialised TA work in primary.

Toysaurus Sun 05-Mar-17 20:32:45

I'm a TA. I have no TA qualifications and no previous education or school experience prior to applying for the job.

I did have a shit ton of experience working with children with Sen and a real passion for wanting to support children with additional needs within education.

There's a lot expected of TAs these days in terms of supporting education and learning. I know lots of parents are interested in it because of the hours, but certainly in the school I work in, though we don't do planning and teaching as such, the expectations are extremely high.

I do it because I love it and it utilises my strengths. I would never do it because of the school hours.

Themoonthestars Sun 05-Mar-17 20:47:17

Thanks again. I'm not looking to do it because of the hours. I already have very good flexible hours and a decent salary, I just want to do something rewarding and hands on.

Toysaurus Sun 05-Mar-17 20:52:11

Sorry, it wasn't until I had posted that I realised the hours things sounded a bit arsey when I didn't mean it to.

timshortfforthalia Sun 05-Mar-17 20:58:04

if you are willing to work as s one-on-one TA, getting in is usually a bit easier. Often short term, part time roles, but give you an in to a school and experience. There are always loads being advertised near me (s London)

QueenCuntyFlippers Sun 05-Mar-17 21:54:21

I volunteered in my daughters school, I then applied to a supply agency and I'm now doing 2 days a week in the Early Years as a TA.
I am starting a PGCE in September, so I didn't want anything permenant. It's worked out really well.

CurbsideProphet Sun 05-Mar-17 22:00:00

I was a "specialist" TA in a secondary school, but spent most of the week giving out pens/glue sticks and being verbally abused by teenage boys. A rewarding TA job really depends on the school. If you have flexible hours and a decent salary now, I would think really carefully about giving that up.

(Sorry to piss on your chips, but being a TA was the worst year of my working life!)

Catcheronthesly Sun 05-Mar-17 22:01:00

DH just signed up with a teaching agency and had to do a week (or maybe two) of work experience for free and then got almost constant temp jobs. After about 6 months he applied for a year long contract and got it. We do live in a city though - I'm not sure if there would be a lot of work in more rural places without initial experience.

SquidgeyMidgey Sun 05-Mar-17 22:04:19

Volunteering is a good way to get experience and that's very useful on your cv. I was a TA for 3 years but had previously been a teacher so didn't get asked to do a course.

Albatross26 Sun 05-Mar-17 22:05:18

curbside I agree, most lessons are really fulfilling but there are those ones when I wonder whether the degree and masters were worth it to stand there and give out worksheets!

StripeyDeckchair Sun 05-Mar-17 22:05:36

To be honest given the state of school funding & the Govts plans for funding reform I wouldn't advise becoming a TA.
I work in education finance & every school I know is planning / has made redundancies to save money.

CremeEggThief Sun 05-Mar-17 22:12:36

I am sorry I can't link to it, but there's a website which shows how all schools are going to be affected by budget cuts and unfortunately, T.A.s will be the easiest option to target in the budget cuts.sad There will still be work around, but it will most likely be 1:1, temporary and part-time hours. I really wouldn't advise you to give up a well-paid job to pursue it.

PoptartPoptart Sun 05-Mar-17 22:26:30

I was in exactly the same position as you 6 years ago OP.
I had a fairly well paid full time job which I hated and I had wanted to become a TA for some time. It look me awhile to make the decision but once I did there was no going back.
I reduced my hours in my job to three days a week so I could volunteer in a school for the other two days. Taking a pay cut wasn't easy at first but we managed. I attended the adult education college one night per week to do the course. There was quite a lot of work but I managed to do it in the evenings and at weekends when the DC were in bed.
After successfully passing my level 2 I signed up for another year to do the level 3. I had an absolutely brilliant tutor who knew my circumstances. She agreed to let me just carry on volunteering for two days per week (rather than three) so I could continue to work the other three days in my job. I actually found the level 3 easier than 2, maybe because a lot of it is repeated and I was able to use a lot of my assignments that I'd already written as a base and just added to them.
A few months before I was due to complete my level 3 the school I was volunteering at offered me a job, which of course I took, and I haven't looked back.
It was easily the best decision I ever made. I absolutely love my job and those couple of years where we struggled a bit financially were all worth it.
Please feel free to PM me if you want any more info.
Good luck!

IadoreEfteling Sun 05-Mar-17 22:37:42

I want to try being ta as we but don't have maths gcse, should I do it or just start volunteering?? Or go for supply work?

Themoonthestars Mon 06-Mar-17 07:32:45

Thanks again.

Appreciate all the honest opinions. Poptart that's fantastic.

I wasn't aware that schools were making cuts. Although my employer, also public sector is making massive cuts so I'm clinging to a sinking ship already.

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