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Advice on becoming a teaching assistant....

(8 Posts)
stump Thu 28-Jul-11 08:32:42

Am starting to think about my options as the kids get older. DD will start primary school in september and DS will go to pre-school 2 mornings (he will be 2 in August). before I had the children I did a CELTA course and really enjoyed teaching and would really like to work with young children. I've been thinking about becoming a teaching assistant not this year but probably from September question is is it worth doing one of these online courses that give you an NVQ qualification or is it something you can just contact the schools and find a job that way.....any advice would be much appreciated smile Also the other option is obviously to go for becoming a fully qualified teacher - so has anyone done the PGCE how much study is it and is it manageable with small children??

HarrietJones Thu 28-Jul-11 08:34:00

To do an NVQ you need a placement in a school.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 28-Jul-11 08:39:41

I would find a voluntary placement for the two mornings a week in a school so they can get to know you and you them. i'm not sure how many hours you need to do in a school setting to do an nvq but it gets you known at a school and gives you experience which is pretty invaluable. It would be a good stepping stone for getting an nvq. In some parts of the country TA jobs are like hens teeth, with a lot of people going for each one.

onegiantleap Thu 28-Jul-11 20:39:42

Like you I also did Celta and then decided to go back to working with children. As Bad Kitten suggests get a voluntary placement and if you are sure that is what you want you can do the course as well. From 2012 all TA's have to be qualified to NVQ2 or equivalent, so places at your local college will be in demand. You would I guess want to do the Level 3. I have just got back into work the same way Bad Kitten suggests.

I would suggest getting a placement soon as you can in Sept. I Started doing voluntary a year ago, and with a couple of steps over the year, I am going full time TA. in September.
I also considered the NVQ by correspondence but chose and luckily got into a foundation degree in Psychology for Education professionals, and my school are fine with that.

TinyDiamond Fri 29-Jul-11 23:07:44

I second what others have said regarding volunteering in a school to start with so they get to know you. It may even be possible to get employment this way eventually if a vacancy comes up.
I don't know where you are based but in my local authority TAs are on very low salaries, if you are looking at job adverts bear in mind that the salary/grade given will always be pro rata for school hours (and term time only often). Best to know this now to avoid any disappointment!
When you get into a post try and go straight for the NVQ 3 bypass the 2 if you can. I have done both and really wish I hadn't wasted time on the 2, most of it recovered in 3 just in more detail.
Workload of these courses perfectly manageable with young kids. If you keep on top of the paperwork they really are quite straightforward.
If you get a job in a school they should pay for you to do this training as it will be subsidised and if it is becoming compulsory from next year then they'll have to (very interesting I had not heard about this- we still have quite a few TAs at my school who aren't qualified).

Regarding the PGCE, I would say that it is very unlikely that anyone would even gain entry onto a course nowadays without considerable experience working in schools directly with children (Ta jobs perfect for this). Courses are very oversubscribed. Also, what is your subject area? There are only a handful of subjects left that offer even a small bursary whilst you train so it's possible you'd have to pay your Uni fees to train then earn nothing for the year.
There are work based training routes you could look into as alternatives.
You can look at the tda website for info regarding training.
Hope this helps

stump Sat 30-Jul-11 07:34:02

Thanks so much everyone for all your advice it really is helpful. I will definitely look into getting a voluntary placement somewhere. My LEA is Essex. I think I will get DS settled into pre-school and DD settled into school then start looking - maybe I can start something after christmas.
always grateful for advice - it will be quite a change having spent the last 4 years at home!

SilveryMoon Sat 30-Jul-11 08:03:59

Hi stump
I don't have NVQ's or any other qualifications, but wanted to get into becoming a TA, so I contacted a teaching agency who somehow managed to sell me to a school, so I started off doing day to day cover.
After a few months, the school asked me if I'd go long term with them (so still under agency but 5 days a week indefinitely), and 2 months after that I had an interview with the school itself and they took me on under contract.
I worked there for 6 months, but decided to leave due to traveling times.
I have spent 4 months at home and have had enough again, so I went back to the agency who sent me for a trial day at a local school. This school have asked that I work full time with them for 1 year from september.

Like others have said, you need a placement in a school to do NVQ's and childcare qualifications, so you could either volunteer or try to get paid then study.

My personal plan is to bag a permanent job in a school as a TA, complete NVQ's, then sign on for a foundation degree in teaching (probably early years), then do the top-up, then the PGCE.

SpottyFrock Wed 03-Aug-11 00:16:23

Hi, you've had some good advice here! I'm a teacher now working as a TA as I loved my job but didn't want the hassle that goes with it.

Just wanted to add on the pgce front; if you're thinking of teaching primary then your degree needs to be in a nat curr subject. The courses are also hugely over-subscribed so before you even consider applying you must make sure you have plenty of hands on school experience.

Also, don't make the mistake of going into teaching thinking it's family friendly because it's not in the way that most people think it is. When I was full time I worked lots at the weekend, usually all day Sunday. It's also awkward to take time off when your kids are sick etc because sch then needs a supply teacher. You miss your own kids sports days and stuff too because your hols are obv restricted to sch hols so no just taking a day off to help on a sch trip or watch the Christmas nativity.

If it's what you love and want to do then it's a great career but I've now seen two women go to all the trouble of retraining only to decide it was much more limiting on famy life than they'd expected. One has given up and gone back to her old job and the other just does odd supply work. Just be sure!

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