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how to qualify as a TA?

(51 Posts)
Becaroooo Wed 04-Jan-12 19:28:23

Sorry if this is not the right place to post this...(if its not, let me know and I will get the thread moved)

Have been thinking of re-training as a TA for a while now (would really like to specialise in sen too) but am getting conflicting info from the internet!

Qualifications offered seem to be either;

Which is best? I dont know much about any of them tbh, wondered if any of you have any experience?

I have been a parent helper for 2 years at my sons old school and am about to start at his new one and was an assistant beaver leader til last summer.

I have done an OU course "Understanding young children" before ds2 was born but nothing since.

Any advice/tips gratefully recieved


BetsyBoop Wed 04-Jan-12 20:17:32

this is a good source of info.

(You can't enrol on NVQs any longer, these new qualifications replace them, although of course an NVQ is still a valid qualification for anyone who already has one.)

I'm currently about half way through a Level 3 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools...

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 04-Jan-12 20:19:46

Is it hard/time consuming?

Do you learn anything about SEN?

BitchyHen Wed 04-Jan-12 20:33:25

I did NCFE L2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools last year at my local college as an evening class once a week, plus two mornings a week volunteering at a school. I really enjoyed the course and now have a job working in a KS4 pupil referral unit.

skewiff Wed 04-Jan-12 20:38:23

I already have done a PGCE - but never did my NQT year. This was just before having DS. About 6 years ago. Do you think I would be able to use this towards training as a teaching assistant?

I don't want to go into teaching - but would also like to work as a TA and work with SN children.

JambalayaCodfishPie Wed 04-Jan-12 20:41:44

There are loads of courses, but nothing beats experience. The most sought after TA in my school has no qualifications beyond her GCSEs. smile

Be advised though, the job market has changed massively - many paid TA positions now go to people on their gap year between degree and teacher training - schools like them because often funding may only be guaranteed for a year anyway.

Also - every post advertised in my area in the last year has requested degree level education as standard, as well as a specific qualification in supporting teaching and learning, which closes the post off to a lot of people who may previously have applied.

BitchyHen Wed 04-Jan-12 20:43:46

The SEN unit I did took around 3 weeks. We divided up into groups and each researched a SEN. My group chose ADHD we did a 5 minute presentation to the rest of the class and produced a hand out. I got a lot out of it, and now support children with Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

BetsyBoop Wed 04-Jan-12 20:58:25

>>Is it hard/time consuming?
Do you learn anything about SEN?

I'm finding it fairly easy, but quite time consuming gathering all the evidence together... (to qualify that I did an MBA via distance learning a few years ago, I'm also doing the L3 via distance learning, but as it's supposed to be equivalent of an A level, then obviously I'm finding it a lot easier than the MBA grin)

On the L3 cert there is one unit on inclusion, diversity & equality which does cover some SEN stuff I think (not done that one yet) On the L3 diploma (basically the cert + 3 or 4 (depending on credit value) optional units, a number of which are SEN related (if you follow the link to the TDA website I posted it has links to all the quals & you can see the various options listed on the Ofqual site if you follow the links - then each unit has a link on the ofqual site with a detailed breakdown of what is included in the unit)

SilveryMoon Wed 04-Jan-12 21:03:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Wed 04-Jan-12 23:15:11

I did the previous qualification, NVQ2, 3 years ago, and took the SEN option.The course was really useful to learn about the workings of the particular school you did your training in, was fairly easy but time consuming, more quantity than quality, IYSWIM. NVQ 2 is roughly GCSE level. The SEN option was a bit of a joke as a parent of a child with SEN, I've learnt loads more as a parent, and even more now on MN. I was lucky to do the course while employed as a TA, most volunteered in a school while on the course. Good general qualifications seemed to help a lot in getting my first job, I was also a helper in Beavers, MS school and a parent governor at a special school.

Good luck, Becs, I really love being able to use my knowledge and experience gained as a SEN parent for another child. I want to be the TA that I'd like my DS to have!

Becaroooo Thu 05-Jan-12 09:42:43

Thanks all.

I already have 12 GCSEs and 2 A Levels and an OU course under my belt but not sure they are relevant, really.

Have found a course with the OU - supporting teaching and learning in schools - which it says is equivalent to NVQ level 4.

I have already done some courses with the Ou and really like it. Course starts in October.

Am excited!!!!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 05-Jan-12 13:35:57

I think NVQ level 4 is diploma level, higher than A level. Good luck, sounds exciting. X

Becaroooo Thu 05-Jan-12 14:52:04

Am feeling v excited ellen

Last year was so bloody rough (in lots of ways)

Would be good to do something for me, that could lead to work in the future.

Would really like to specialise in sen though - not sure how you do that?

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 05-Jan-12 16:55:09

There will be SEN options, I'm sure. Lots of TA jobs are in SEN. Could you make enquiries at a local special school, ask what qualifications they'd be looking for/recommend for their TAs? I did work at my DS's SS for a while, but actually found I preferred it supporting DC with SEN in MS. (Maybe because that was what my DS was doing?)

Could you volunteer in a SS? I think having worked, although briefly, in a SS, it gave the MS schools confidence in my ability to deal with all sorts of SN and SEN. If you want to work in MS you will need to know all the NT MS stuff as well. I found I knew more about the SEN stuff than the MS SENCo quite often, but I needed to get up to speed on the MS side of things. Not boasting, just how it is when you are passionate about a subject due to personal interest.

overthebar Fri 06-Jan-12 14:19:39

This is a very useful thread. I am considering training as a TA also but want to do via distance learning due to time constraints (I work part time and don't have childcare options in the evening). I was looking at the TA level 3 diploma courses. The courses I found on the internet are accredited by NCFE but not really sure whether this is acceptable by LEAs or schools. Anyone any idea?

Becaroooo Fri 06-Jan-12 17:11:49

OU course - E111

SilveryMoon Fri 06-Jan-12 18:59:29

I'm an SEN TA, unqualified. I have a few GCSE's but nothing impressive.

(I had my previous post removed because I included more detail than I wanted to)

hellhasnofury Fri 06-Jan-12 19:02:22

SEN in mainstream or in a special school? I'm a TA in a special school. Most of our staff have few formal qualifications in SEN but have a wealth of experience.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 06-Jan-12 19:03:44

It's hard to get a first TA job without qualifications, these days, though, silvery. Obviously experience counts for a lot, and I know that getting the right 'fit' for the child for a 1:1 TA is much more important than a whole raft of qualifications...

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 06-Jan-12 19:04:24

Ooo, crossed, hell. grin

SilveryMoon Fri 06-Jan-12 19:10:27

I got in through an agency.
I started working my first TA post last October as a supply and then was taken on at that school long-term and then given a contract with school.
I left there after 6 months (travel issues) and spent a few months at home.
I started looking again for work in July, did a trial day at the school I'm at now and they offered me a year's post as agency cover and I have now been offered a permanent contract which should go ahead next month.

It's an SEN school.

hellhasnofury Fri 06-Jan-12 19:16:51

That's how we get most of our staff too silvery, most spend some time with us as supply staff before being interviewed for permanent posts. Our last few vacancies have attracted huge numbers of applications, one way of standing out is to have some degree of experience either through volunteering or employment within a special needs setting be it a school, a play scheme or a baby sitting/respite service

BeerTricksP0tter Fri 06-Jan-12 19:17:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Fri 06-Jan-12 19:22:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

overmydeadbody Fri 06-Jan-12 19:28:38

skewiff if you have a PGCE you are already overqualified to do TA work and would not need any further training to get work as a TA. Just apply to the jobs that come up. Nothing beats experience.

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