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Teaching Assistant - help, please!

(24 Posts)
SusanSand Sat 04-Jul-15 18:14:13

I am separating from DH. I have been a SAHM for 15 years and am going to have to find a way to earn a living of sorts. I was a university lecturer before children, and have a PhD, but have been out of academia for too long to return even if I wanted to.

As one of my DC is autistic, I need a term- time only job, so am wondering about trying to become a TA (which I have long windered about) - but all my Googling has still not really told me what the most useful qualification path would be. I have done voluntary work in a school nursery, which I loved, but would also be vety happy with ilder children.

Could anyone please advise me how best to start applying for courses?

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Sat 04-Jul-15 18:18:09

Local college that requires a placement and a mentor. Level 3 would be good. As a SAHP you may get this free or discounted.

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Sat 04-Jul-15 18:18:44

Are you uk based?

LIZS Sat 04-Jul-15 18:24:44

A level 2 or 3 in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (City and guilds, ncfe or similar). You would need a voluntary placement in order to bring practical experience into the classroom discussions and portfolio. Unlikely to be free unless on means tested benefits and even then you might have to pay an accreditation fee.

SusanSand Sat 04-Jul-15 19:12:10

Ho both,
Thanks for the quick replies! Yes, I am in the UK. Not on any benefits, but I am v happy to pay for a course that would help me get back into work.

SusanSand Sat 04-Jul-15 19:12:44

Ho?! I mean hi. Pesky ipad...

cyberfairy Sat 04-Jul-15 19:32:41

Good luck but be careful as I have always found it impossible to live on only a TA wage. The problem is even if you find a 'full time' role, because of the hours in a school day and because you don't (certainly in my experience) get paid for your lunch breaks, you are working part time. I subbed mine with managing to get after school and breakfast club roles as well but still struggled. Schools often like taking people on with academic qualifications even if not directly relevant to the job and it does vary depending on where you are. Yes to volunteering and a local college and good luck- it's a wonderful job and I wish you the best. Finally having direct day to day experience with autism can stand you in good stead as often schools need staff to work with children with autism :-)

SusanSand Sat 04-Jul-15 22:11:43

Thanks, Cyberfairy. I hope I would have something to offer, despite currently feeling unemployable!

It would obviously be fabulous to work term-time only for spectacular pay, but whst I need to do is supplement my settlement with DH by making a contribution of my own , however modest. And it would be nice to enjoy what I was doing!

SusanSand Sat 04-Jul-15 22:12:13

Sorry - can't get the hang of typing on my ipad...

wannabestressfree Sat 04-Jul-15 22:22:23

With your background I would be looking at schools rather than doing the college courses. Where I am they let you qualify on the job and your abilities are more important eg the fact uou are probably undestanding of ASD would go a long way. Remember an lsa's wage would be subsidised by tax credits if you were a single parent.

broadbeanstew Sat 04-Jul-15 22:22:33

Do it! You might not need the TA qualification, especially if you go for secondary. I got a TA job when I separated from exH, the only experience I had was volunteering at preschool. Now I am a level 2 secondary TA and I'm planning to apply for a pgce next year. The pay is awful, but I get topped up with tax credits and it is a very satisfying and rewarding job.

bearleftmonkeyright Sat 04-Jul-15 22:28:48

I have returned to work as a TA. It helps to top my wages up by doing midday also. I usually eat my sandwiches in the playground or nick some chips or something from the kitchen. Its immensely satisfying but very unstable. My contract finishes at the end of term and I am not sure whether the child I work with 1 to 1 is getting funding next year. But it is an immensely satisfying job to get you back in the workplace.

By the way, I managed to get funding for my level 3 with a 24+ loan. I do have some student debt from my degree still. Speak to colleges, they can advise you on all that stuff. Good luck.

SusanSand Sun 05-Jul-15 10:15:54

Thanks for these really encouraging replies. It hadn't occurred to me that I might be able to go straight into a school and qualify on the job.

It is all v scary to go from having a pretty comfortable life (no work and a decent amount of money) to being a single parent with relatively little money and no apparent qualifications. But staying with DH would sadly be much worse...

broadbeanstew Sun 05-Jul-15 11:26:29

I think, having been a university lecturer, a secondary school would snap you up in no time. Have you thought about FE colleges too?

I too went from a SAHM to working single parent. It is scary but you can do it. Two things you can do straight away once he's moved out- apply for child benefit, if you weren't already, and call the council tax office to get the 25% single person's discount. Once you are working you can negotiate working tax credit etc. That is a bit of a minefield and mine took months to come through.

I would have a look at jobs now, on your local council website, there may still be a few TA jobs for September available.

Good luck!

SusanSand Sun 05-Jul-15 21:47:45

Thanks, broadbeanstew. I have no experience at all of anything to do with benefits, so that is very helpful. I haven't even had a bill in my own name since I was at university (moved straight in with DH), so this is all a bit scary.

At the risk of sounding dim, what did you mean about FE colleges? I'm willing to give pretty much anything a go!

Thanks again for your kindness.

coolaschmoola Sun 05-Jul-15 21:49:53

Teach or support learners in FE.

peanutbear Sun 05-Jul-15 21:53:12

What qualification did you have as a lecturer ? You could go straight in as a cover supervisor through an agency to start with if you needed money and look for a job from there.
FE is further education eg colleges

peanutbear Sun 05-Jul-15 21:55:17

Teach first pay uni graduates to become teachers in their field you have an 80% timetable and study whilst working and get paid

SusanSand Sun 05-Jul-15 22:20:23

Thanks, both, for clarifying. Peanutbear - I was at the top of the Junior Lecturer scale, but just had a PhD. Universities were just starting to bring in a PGCE type qualification for lecturers when I worked there, but I resigned before it was an issue for me...

ppolly Sun 05-Jul-15 22:55:15

You would probably be able to manage on a TA pay as a single parent ias it would get topped up with benefits. do not bother with a qualification unless you are sure you would need one. It really varies from county to county. Experience of working with children is probably more important.

ppolly Sun 05-Jul-15 23:05:10

Do not be scared, have a look on your council website jobs pages to see if there are any vacancies. or they might be listed on eteach .experience of autism is a real advantage too . At the school I work in we have ta s from a massive variety of different backgrounds - fresh faced school leavers to an ex- solicitor.

VixxFace Sun 05-Jul-15 23:07:57

Sign up with am agency. If you have a degree you can get roles with them. You earn between £60-70 a day.

LIZS Mon 06-Jul-15 07:38:17

FE colleges take kids from 14 now on vocational courses, some of whom would need additional support. There have been serious funding cutbacks recently so may not be as secure as once may have been.

SusanSand Tue 07-Jul-15 11:55:39

Wow - this is fantastic stuff. I had never even heard of cover supervisors, but that looks like a possibility now that I have googled it. Ditto FE (I hadn't even though of this, so am very grateful for the idea). It seems the situation is not quite as hopeless as I had feared!

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