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Too Old to train as a TA?

(17 Posts)
TooOldToTrain Thu 15-Oct-15 11:58:07

Apologies if this is in the wrong place. I am in need of some expert advice please.

I am 37, my youngest child is almost 1. I am looking at returning to work/training in the next year after what will be 6 years as a sahm.

I have GCSE's but no experience working with children (except my 6 years at home with my 3dc, which I understand is very different to actually working with them)

Am I too old/inexperienced to consider training as a TA? How long could I expect to be training for? And is it do-able with 3dc?

Sorry for all of the questions, any advice and opinions appreciated. Thank you.

Geraniumred Thu 15-Oct-15 16:05:26

Depends on where you are. I have no TA qualifications, but helped out at my dds playgroup, got a job as a dinner lady and then finally as a TA. You will need experience of working with children at least. No, you are not too old and yes it is doable with 3 children. Other areas of the country may require qualifications.

cassgate Thu 15-Oct-15 16:29:46

I was 42 when I started training to be a ta. I initially approached my dcs school as I wanted to do the level 3 qualification. I needed 15 hours either voluntary or paid ta work to be accepted onto the level 3 college course. I had helped out at the school before so they knew me and were happy to support me. I was basically used as an unpaid ta in year 4 for 2 days a week and year 5 for 1/2 day a week for six months. A job came up after 6 months and they offered it to me. I qualified at level 3 summer 2014. This will be my second full academic year. The money is rubbish even at level 3 but I love it. Hope this helps.

VulcanWoman Thu 15-Oct-15 16:30:12

I was the same age as you when I started an evening training course, had a placement in a school. I watched what the other TA's had to do and found out how much responsibility they were expected to take on and it put me off to tell you the truth, I felt the school was a good one but had a lack of teachers as far as I could tell. A great job to fit around your own children though.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 15-Oct-15 17:07:10

I retrained as a secondary teacher at the age of 52! Then chose to do supply instead of NQT and loving it.
You are a spring chicken - go for it!

TooOldToTrain Fri 16-Oct-15 13:15:08

Thank you mrsultra I have not been described, nor felt like a spring chicken for some time grin Great to hear your experience.

I think I will approach dc's school and see if there is any possibility of some voluntary work.

Thank you everyone.

TooOldToTrain Sun 18-Oct-15 10:16:56

Sorry, another question.

Does anyone have any idea which course/qualification is the best one? I have been looking at distance learning courses but there seem to be lots of different ones and I want to make sure that I pick one that will give me a qualification that is recognised by schools.

Any help greatly appreciated, thank you.

rollonthesummer Sun 18-Oct-15 10:21:29

Most TAs in my school have no qualification at all.

How long does the course last? People train to be doctors in their 40s and that's 4-5 years of university. I'm sure you can do a (much shorter) TA course in your 30s-go for it!

Lowdoorinthewall Sun 18-Oct-15 10:25:08

Definitely not too old- all of our TAs are 'grown ups'! The jobs at my school almost always go to people volunteering and I know the Head has people in mind for every vacancy that comes up- so volunteering is a really good idea. Bear in mind that if your DC are at a small school it might be better to volunteer at the biggest school you can get to as vacancies will come up more often in a larger staff team!

From what I read on here it seems you need contact with pupils to do the TA courses so maybe get a volunteering gig and then ask that school which qualification they rate?

TooOldToTrain Sun 18-Oct-15 10:27:39

Thank you rollon The courses seem to vary between 6 months and 1 year.

I am looking at the distance learning courses because with 3 small children I think it would be better for me to have flexibility with study time. After trawling the internet I am more confused than I was to begin with confused

alteredimages Sun 18-Oct-15 10:30:37

Hi TooOld,

I have no direct experience but my aunt trained when she was in her early fifties and is now working as a TA.

She also had no previous direct experience with children. I am not sure whether she was required to do any volunteering prior to beginning the course, but I don't believe so.

Good luck!

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 18-Oct-15 10:36:45

I have no TA qualifications although I do have experience working with children.

You only seem to need qualifications for Primary school at Secondary School the other TAs I work with come from a huge range of backgrounds.

Whilst TA work gives you the holidays off you are at school earlish and don't always leave at the end of the school day because of training if you want it to fit around a young child and to get experience working with children you could initially look for a school/college admin role. The ones
I have had were more 10-2 and 9:30-2:30 which allowed me to do the school run which I am unable to do now.

mummytime Sun 18-Oct-15 10:42:20

Don't start by paying for an online course. Some of them are of minimal worth.

Start by talking to local schools and asking their advice. Ask to shadow a TA for a day so you can see what the job really involves.
Then try volunteering, or maybe working at a nursery.
When you visit schools you can see what courses if any they recommend. A lot of TAs in my area have done a course at a local secondary, which lasts about 12 weeks full time, and includes work experience at two different schools. Don't forget TAs also work in secondaries.

rollonthesummer Sun 18-Oct-15 11:02:29

I wouldn't really recommend a distance learning course. I think that heads will be looking for hands-on experience with the children rather than theory.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 18-Oct-15 13:23:53

I trained at the ripe old age of 44. I have had one position as a TA. Funding ended and I have three interviews next week for other positions. Lots of competition, jobs are usually insecure but you are definitely not too old. I was a midday at my DC's school and did my placement there. I built up a good relationship with the head and she sent me on a few different courses and also gained First Aid qualification. This has helped. She also let me ask her lots of quesitons about different techniques for managing behaviour and how best to support the children. I have learnt a lot and am still learning. All I can say is if you are keen go for it.

JOEYDOESNTSHAREFOOD Sun 18-Oct-15 13:55:33

Definitely not old!!

A distance course is fine, as long as its accredited. Basically not anything you find on Wowcher. grin

Whilst some authorities aren't yet asking for formal qualifications, it's worth making sure that the course you do is valid for when that time comes - which it will. This course, online with Stonebridge, is good as its accredited by QCF:

www.stonebridge.uk.com/course/teaching-assistant-cache-level-2-certificate-in-supporting-teaching-and-learning-in-schools-qcf

However, do some volunteering first., make sure you know what you want. Years ago, I was convinced I wanted to be a primary TA - I lasted three weeks - you need a special sort of patience to work amongst thirty little ones. I tried secondary instead, loved it and have since worked my way up to management - via stints in special schools and even a PRU.

Good Luck!!

TooOldToTrain Sun 18-Oct-15 20:29:53

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement. Some really great advice, thank you.

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