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Becoming a TA

(29 Posts)
JonSnowsWhore Sun 30-Jul-17 12:46:57

Just wondering if anyone knows exactly which courses/qualifications I'd need to become a teaching assistant? I've googled some learning from home ones which would be ideal for me but don't know if they give you the correct qualifications, I don't want to pay for a course & it's useless.

Also any TA's want to shed some light on the job? I've worked with children before in a holiday club setting rather than a school. I've never really worked for more than minimum wage unfortunately so a low wage is not going to shock me. Are there many responsibilities outside of school times?


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TomaszCanSchafernakerMeAnytime Sun 30-Jul-17 12:51:14

My school only asked for GCSE Maths and English A-C.
The HT seems as though she would much rather her staff actually like the kids and are great with them than have formal qualifications.
Some of the more qualified members of staff talk as if they hate kids.

JonSnowsWhore Sun 30-Jul-17 13:00:02

I do have that (albeit some years ago!) but do love a bit of English especially. How can you be a TA & hate the kids 😂 I suppose it's a convenient job for people with children, which I won't lie is also a factor in me deciding to find out more about this

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TomaszCanSchafernakerMeAnytime Sun 30-Jul-17 13:23:49

That exactly one of the reasons I do it, I get to take my own DC to school and pick them up again.
I do love the kids though, they are hilarious. The ones who moan about kids the most are in their 50s/60s with grown up children so it's not that keeping them in the job.
I just think they've been doing it for too long and are knackered. You have to have endless energy and they definitely don't!

ChickenBhuna Sun 30-Jul-17 13:32:37

I have a support work in schools qualification that's specific to my area , the schools I've worked at require this plus those GCSEs. I known this differs though.

The job is fun and varied with lots of training offered by most schools (positive handling , first aid , safeguarding , speech and language etc). You're expected to be a bit of a jack of all trades to be honest , and taking small groups (often low ability/behaviour issues) for various subjects. You may reach phonics and be responsible for your own planning and resourcing.

My place of work pay us to stay back for a few pages outside of school hours. One is for training , one for planning (read , write Inc/ 1:1 SEN planning) and on for running an after school club which you are also expected to plan.

It's hard work but also often fun and very rewarding.

ChickenBhuna Sun 30-Jul-17 13:33:49

So many typos...I hope that made sense to you OP.

EllenJanethickerknickers Sun 30-Jul-17 13:41:18

I have a NVQ level 2 in supporting teaching and learning which I took part time at college (half day a week) while working as a TA. Level 3 is sometimes needed to support a child with an EHCP if the EHCP requires a qualified TA.

It's hardest to get your first job, normally. Once you have experience it's easier but getting a permanent role can often be a case of waiting for someone to retire! 1:1 support roles are the most commonly advertised in my LA but are always temporary positions.

Have a look on your council website for school vacancies as they often coordinate advertising, otherwise it's a case of trawling school websites and agencies.

inneedofchocolate Sun 30-Jul-17 13:43:36

In my area a lot of TAs have been made redundant due to funding cuts. There are now more TAs than there are jobs sad

lynmilne65 Sun 30-Jul-17 13:45:48

my ddl is a c a and has done a college course xx

PurpleDaisies Sun 30-Jul-17 13:48:57

Be wary of online qualifications-there are a fair des sites advertising "level 2" qualifications for about £20 but they aren't worth the paper they're written on.

I got a job as a TA with just lots of experience working with children but it really depends on whether your area has a glut of people applying for the roles. The pay is absolutely abysmal though.

PurpleDaisies Sun 30-Jul-17 13:49:16


JonSnowsWhore Sun 30-Jul-17 13:57:21

Inneed that is something that worries me, I know my kids school has had to make some cut backs so would be worried about not being able to find a job. The online courses I've seen were £500 & something, but I've seen the £20 odd ones & thought exactly the same, they can't be worth anything, but then didn't know if these expensive ones were the same & just making even more money out of people!

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PurpleDaisies Sun 30-Jul-17 14:00:30

The £500 ones are fine (I can't remember the name of the college that does them but if you told me I'd recognise it!). It's the ultra cheaply ones that schools won't accept as valid.

I didn't bother qualifying as I was using it as a route into teaching but if you're likely to stay a TA it's worth it.

MyNewBearTotoro Sun 30-Jul-17 14:03:35

I work at a special school and our TAs don't need any specific qualifications. Obviously qualifications and experience are helpful but we get plenty who are completely new to it too. There are then opportunities for TAs to work towards qualifications on the job.

JonSnowsWhore Sun 30-Jul-17 14:16:09

My baby is only 9 weeks old so I have the time to put the work in. I was hoping that if it was a competitive field then if I did the qualification then it might give me the edge over someone who hasn't when it comes to getting a job, do you think that would be the case?

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AhoyPirates Sun 30-Jul-17 16:57:25

The TA course I just did was part funded by the local university but it is now called Supporting Teaching an Learning in Schools and TAs are no longer called TAs in my school but LSA - Learning Support Assistants?

An NVQ level 2 takes a year to complete but the one I did took 11 weeks and is a NCFE level 2 certificate. You need to watch out for the difference between certificate and diploma.

I did 1 "day" a week at college (school hours) and had to complete a minimum of 2 hours a week volunteering in a primary school. You have to write a diary of those hours reflecting on what you did/could have done better etc. I actually volunteered for 2 days. I have been volunteering for years but I wanted the qualification in case I changed schools.

As part of the college work we had assignments to complete every week, everything from legislation and the Equality Act for inclusion and SEN provision, to diversity, how schools are funded and the differences between independent schools, free schools, voluntary aided schools, how children's backgrounds can influence their education. We had to give presentations on local government/National government/Sure Start/Ofsted etc and their role in education. Huge focus on policy within school etc.

So it is not a walk in the park and I would say half of it doesn't feel relevant to the actual role.

The biggest thing that helped was having actual experience of a classroom and the challenges you face day to day.

Our school also embraces The Thrive approach for nurture. As your baby is 9 weeks old this would be an excellent thing to look into. The first 3 years of a baby's life and their brain development is crucial to their ability to handle stress and difficult situations and bounce back. It is supported by neuroscience and is truly fascinating. linky here

SamineShaw Sun 30-Jul-17 18:45:39

The best way in is to become a volunteer at your child's school or be a lunchtime supervisor and help out in class too. I have seen some people then get sponsored for qualifications by the school.

Depending on where you are it can be incredibly competitive. 2 years ago I applied to over 40 jobs and had 12 interviews. Every job had over 100 applicants so having a recognised qualification helped.

JonSnowsWhore Sun 30-Jul-17 22:05:22

Really great advice thank you everyone! I know my sons school takes on volunteers in the early years section but they've made staff cutbacks so as for funding TA courses I don't think they'd be the way to go. Still there's plenty of schools around here, I'll try & find out the the supply & demand for them

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JonSnowsWhore Mon 31-Jul-17 16:20:05

Right I've gone through this page until my eyes & head hurt, if anyone can give me opinions on the best ones I'd be very grateful!

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SamineShaw Mon 31-Jul-17 18:21:15

I'd definitely go for one of the Cache courses as it's a nationally recognised qualification. I did mine through the Open University but since university fees have gone up so much it's very expensive 😕

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 31-Jul-17 18:27:29

Think very carefully about this, OP. School funding is now dire. TAs are getting made redundant left, right and centre where I live. The ones who are left are feeling the strain of trying to do too much. The job isn't what it was when I started working in schools about 8 years ago. But then I'm secondary so could well be different in primary.

There are horrible things going on in secondary schools. Staff morale is through the floor and the kids are suffering. Their behaviour is worsening and it becomes a vicious circle.

JonSnowsWhore Mon 31-Jul-17 18:34:03

Ah that's so rubbish to hear. I thought it might be the case from my sons school, they've had to make cut backs & are even starting to finish school at 2.30 from September to be able to stay within budget. But my daughters school didn't have any of this (both primary, my son just goes to the nursery at the school that's closer) so I don't know if it's a borough wife problem or not.

I just don't know what else to do with myself if I don't go for this. There's no way I can afford to do an actual degree in anything so it's got to be something in this sort of price range

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JonSnowsWhore Mon 31-Jul-17 20:54:32

Oh sod it im just going to go & work in a pub for the rest of my life 😫

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TomaszCanSchafernakerMeAnytime Mon 31-Jul-17 20:58:11

Which part of the UK are you in? Green Sheets is a good site for school jobs but think it's only Southern. Not sure if there's a Northern or Central equivalent.

JonSnowsWhore Mon 31-Jul-17 21:01:13

I'm North London/Hertfordshire border.

Had a look at dog grooming. Knowing my luck I'll get bloody mauled...

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