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How to become a TA?

(20 Posts)
PotatoesNotProzac Thu 04-Jun-15 21:46:56

How do you become a TA if you haven't worked in a school / with children before?

Is supply an easier way in? There are so many people applying for the perm jobs.

Do TA jobs continue to come up? Or have most handed their notice in already?

I've had a very successful career in IT but after spending 3 years creating software for children I'm now very very keen to work more directly with children.

Also not sure how to word my job application so it will apeal to schools..... Any tips? What are HTs actually looking for?

ppolly Thu 04-Jun-15 21:52:35

You almost certainly won't get a job working with children if you have no experience of it. You could try volunteering first - it doesn't have to be in a school - try Brownies or something like that. I worked in a playgroup and as a lunchtime supervisor before getting a job as a TA. Be warned that it isn't a career. The pay is awful.

sweetkitty Thu 04-Jun-15 22:16:15

There's college courses you can do, ours do a years PDA for a Classroom Assistant, you go to college 2 days and are on placement for 2.

The pay really is terrible and its a joke because TAs usually help the most needy and vulnerable children. Also the ASN pay is terrible too, again with the inclusion policy some TAs have children with very complex needs and it is a very demanding job.

It's ridiculous that you would be paid more to clean someone's house or walk their dog than look after a very vulnerable child.

PotatoesNotProzac Fri 05-Jun-15 06:59:23

I'm not worried about pay. I'm aware of what a TA earns.

I'm not doing this for pay - or for the 'child friendly' hours. I don't need school holidays off, or to be home before or after school.

It is a career - but a totally different career to what I'm doing now. (I define a career as something where there's lots to learn, and the longer you do it the better you get at it. And you can progress and eventually move up to a HLTA)

I don't mind doing a course, but they all seem to want you to already be working in a school. (So if I got a job, then I'd sign up for a course)

There must be a way in for a highly educated parent which doesn't involve a year of volunteering first..... Volunteers don't get to do what TAs do.

sweetkitty Fri 05-Jun-15 10:08:47

I know a lot of people don't do it for the pay but it is so underpaid and undervalued.

Have you looked at college courses? When I'm in school volunteering I do the job of a TA, well I don't do the photocopying/putting up displays etc but I do work a lot with the children.

PotatoesNotProzac Fri 05-Jun-15 10:16:02

I've looked at college courses. And they all require you to be already working in a school.

I can't find a school that wants a volunteer to do the job of a TA. All they will let volunteers do is read with children. Which isn't enough. You have to be working in a school 9 hours a week to do the college course.

If I could do the job as a volunteer I wouldn't bother getting a job. I'd do it as a volunteer......

GloriaPritchett Fri 05-Jun-15 10:29:10

If you start off reading with the children, and the powers that be like and trust you, you will get more duties.

Try other schools too. Call it work experience instead.

ppolly Fri 05-Jun-15 12:30:03

If you a highly educated already then reading with children might be enough without the course. I have no qualifications at all for working with children, but I do have a degree in English.

sweetkitty Fri 05-Jun-15 12:54:38

In our LA the re are two ways:

- either do the one year PDA course, with placements , then at the end apply to be on the TA supply list, hopefully get a supply post

- apply to be on the Supply list anyway, if you have relevant experience you may get a supply job, I know a few people who have done this then went to college on day release to get the qualification.

No permanent jobs and TA posts have been slashed due to the cuts. To be honest if you went into a school and said you wanted to be a volunteer TA any HT would snap you up, their staff has been slashed so much.

bobajob Fri 05-Jun-15 13:21:39

My school has student TAs in on placements. Mostly they have volunteered in school already doing reading, helping with displays/trips, art activities etc, and then the school has agreed to them coming in one or two days a week as a student placement while they do a college course.

Some of our TAs have TA qualifications, some have childcare/early years qualifications and some are qualified teachers.

thecatfromjapan Sat 06-Jun-15 10:00:38

Volunteer somewhere to get experience working with children. Then apply for a TA role.
In our area literacy and numeracy count for a great deal more than any qualification in being a TA - and ICT skills are like gold-dust.
Many TAs are now students who intend to apply for a PGCE and work in the role for a year for the necessary experience. They certainly don't have a TA qualification.
I would caution against getting a TA qualification. They can be expensive and not necessary if you already have skills schools are desperate for.
Many primary schools are extreme weak in ICT. It may well be that, if you can just tick the 'experience with children' box, you will be snapped up.
Consider private schools too.
If you are after secondary experience, it may be easier to get into a primary setting and then move into secondary.
Good luck.
The kids will be well impressed by your programming experience.grin

spanieleyes Sat 06-Jun-15 10:13:39

Our more mature TA's all started as dinner ladies and "volunteereed" in class at the same time. This was in addition to completing their TA qualifications. They can then apply for a permanent vacancy when one arises-either in our school or another.
Our younger TAs are either completing an apprenticeship or are student TAs, everyone starts off by "just reading" as this is how we see whether the volunteers are going to have the right attitude. If they can do this they will be given increasing opportunities.
I started as a parent volunteer reading with children and am now an assistant Head!

Ferguson Sat 06-Jun-15 23:26:01

HTs firstly want people who are sympathetic and supportive of children, of other staff, and can treat parents kindly and responsibly, even when - as is often the case - parents are misguided, or downright rude, or wrong.

Having now looked at several of your responses to other peoples 'threads', I am afraid that you come across as somewhat abrupt, rude, aggressive and not at all sympathetic. It may be that your years in IT have given you that attitude, but it is not a quality that will be welcomed in most schools, I wouldn't have thought.

I was a TA (male) for twenty-five years, having started as a parent-helper, one day a week, when our DS started primary school. In addition to normal TA duties, I had recorder clubs for ten years, a keyboard (music) club with Yr6, gardening activities with Yr6, a percussion club for a while, and coached Yr2 children on percussion to accompany the Christmas production for ten years.

Compared to when I first started in schools thirty years ago, following twenty years in offices as supervisor or manager, the TA role was fairly new and has evolved a lot since then, with formal qualifications becoming more necessary.

One of my very first 'readers' turned up again, seventeen years later, in her final year of Teacher Training, and needed to supervise me in the classroom.

However, it is still the 'human' touch that is the probably most valuable attribute, and I think you need to work hard to try and develop that.

PotatoesNotProzac Thu 18-Jun-15 12:39:57

Right, well I got an interview easy enough - just by applying for jobs.

Now, what do I wear to the interview? Something less formal than I'd wear to an office interview I assume?

PotatoesNotProzac Wed 08-Jul-15 17:48:45

I just wanted to update to say I got a TA job!

It was pretty straight forward in the end. Went to the council job website. Applied for all the jobs I fancied. And got the 2nd job I interviewed for ( which I think will be a perfect fit for me)

So to anyone else thinking of making a career change I'd say go for it. I've never worked with children, or volunteered at Brownies or anything like that. Got very little experience of children beyond my own. But I have lots of knowledge of SEN and education and know how to get the best out of children with SEN. I managed to get that across at interview, and they liked my approach and my attitude.

And to Fergusson I'd say you were totally wrong, and your post was very hurtful. Almost made me give up applying for jobs. Maybe you're the one who needs to work on being sympathetic. On having a human touch. Because your direct and abrupt post to me certainly lacked it. Your post really hurt me.

IamJeff Sat 11-Jul-15 17:29:08

Very well done potatoes! I hope you enjoy your new job! ��

temporarilyjerry Sun 12-Jul-15 07:35:21

^^This. flowers

LineRunner Sun 12-Jul-15 07:44:44

OP, that's really interesting that you secured a TA post without the TA qualification / experience. Useful to know that other qualities and skills are taken into consideration.

leccybill Mon 13-Jul-15 00:29:55

That's really encouraging. Ex teacher here, hoping to do the same.

PotatoesNotProzac Mon 13-Jul-15 20:51:10

Thanks guys. I really can't believe it, I'm so excited smile

I think the fact my child has SEN, and the fact I'm very academic got me this job.

And possibly the fact that I've always worked full time. I wasn't a Mum looking for a part time / child friendly job.

I guess it just shows you, all schools are looking for different things smile

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