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Thinking about becoming a TA. Anyone with any advice?

(35 Posts)
MessyMummy15 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:20:00

Just wondered if anyone can share any insight as to what their views and experiences?

It's something I have thought about for a while and am seriously considering being a TA in a primary school as a career after being a SAHM for four years.

What qualifications / training is required?
How would you apply for jobs?
What kind of thing are schools looking for in a TA?
Is it a worthwhile long term job?

Anyone with some experience would be very helpful and appreciated!!

OP’s posts: |
GloomyMonday Sun 03-Feb-19 16:30:32

I think it's a great job if you get into the right school. Pay is still low, and increasingly being eroded by academies ime, but short hours, many holidays and lots of stress-free contact with the kids.

In this area it's hard to get into because it appeals to so many people, mainly parents like yourself. All of our TAs have started out as parent volunteers who went on to undertake training, employed once fully qualified as jobs became available.

ElizabethMainwaring Sun 03-Feb-19 16:32:26

I was a ta for over ten years in primary. Had a 2:1 and an MA. Am now an nqt after doing a Pgce. Schools are currently getting rid of tas. I really would not recommend going into ta-ing as there is so much competition now. It is also very poorly paid. As far as qualifications go, you will need a,b,c in GCSEs maths, English and possibly science. Also, there is no career progression, unless you want to be a teacher and do a pgce. for which you will have to fund and have a good (2:1) degree.

SymphonyofShadows Sun 03-Feb-19 16:33:17

The people I know who do it feel they have had their career and choose to do it because the hours suit them, it’s close to home after years of long commutes etc. The pay is terrible - from c£13k to start, depending on the school.

ElizabethMainwaring Sun 03-Feb-19 16:34:24

I honestly don't relate to the parent volunteer stuff.

MitziK Sun 03-Feb-19 16:34:45

I'd say don't do it.

Mainly because you get paid the same or more working in the office and would be likely to have greater job security.

(The first thing schools usually cut when they are skint are the TAs - unless there is a teacher on long term sick leave, when they will try to get the TA to take the class/do the hard work for the year - and then get rid of them).

ElizabethMainwaring Sun 03-Feb-19 16:40:15

Qualification needed is NVQ in supporting teaching and learning. I needed this on top of my academic stuff. Like I said previously, I don't get the parent/ helper comments.

FairyLightBlanket45 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:43:12

Definitely! I started my career as a TA and only didn’t hang around because I couldn’t live off the salary! (That’s the down side - the pay is rubbish - having said that as you have been a SAHM does that mean there is another earner in the house? I never want to just assume smile I’m hoping to go back into it at some point soon.

I think ideally you will need a Level 3 in education of some form, there are a few different examples and I can’t remember exactly what they are all called. It may be worth therefore if you can to spend a year at college doing the course, this will also give you placements to build your experience.

Failing that, some schools ask just for certain GCSEs or A Levels. So it’s worth a look around.

It’s definately worthwhile! I loved it - it’s hard work, you do end up with a lot of responsibility on your shoulders but unlike the teacher you can leave it in the classroom at the end of the day.

From my experience, they look for as much experience and knowledge of education/ curriculum/ behaviour management/ safeguarding as possible. I recommend you start by volunteering yourself. Contact a few schools and see if you can come in for a day/ couple of mornings a week for experience. Maybe try volunteering at some kind of club (Brownies or such) if you can. Also if you can get any experience of helping children with additional needs - or tutoring. A lot of TAs are used for 1:1 support.

You need to demonstrate an understanding of safeguarding so it will definately help to research on this to understand procedure. A first aid certificate can sometimes put you in higher ranking because TAs are the ones on duty at break who have to deal with all cut knees and bumped heads. If you can put yourself on a First Aid course it might give you a heads up.

I loved the role - I had a phonics group I led each day (teacher did the basic planning and I adapted to suit), I supported my assigned groups during class time, I did guided reading, read to children individually daily, did playground duty, ploughed through a list from the teacher I had each morning of general admin stuff (photocopying/tracking down resources/setting things up). If you’ve got children it will work perfectly with the school hours, and a lot of schools release TAs before the day is out (a money saver basically)

For that reason though competition can be big, so whilst being a completely fresh enthusiastic newcomer can be great, some schools are wanting experience, someone who can hit the ground running. So I strongly recommend you volunteer at a school!

For interviews, there was always a safeguarding question. They will always ask why you want to be a TA and why have you chosen their school.
Often I had to do an observed task. Usually planned ahead (normally a 10 /15 min task)
I’ve had to plan interactive story sessions, I once had to bring in any random object and use it as a base to help children write a story, I’ve had to do a session on addition....ide say most involved stories (I generally went for early years/KS1 posts) made props and all sorts - a had a few before I got my job and that one I was given the task when I was there and 20 mins to plan for a small group.

In conclusion, I say go for it!

FairyLightBlanket45 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:45:09

What do you mean that you “don’t get” the parent helper thing? As in a waste of time?

ElizabethMainwaring Sun 03-Feb-19 16:50:59

In that all the TAs I have known and worked with have had professional qualifications. Academic qualifications and vocational qualifications.

MessyMummy15 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:54:16

Thanks for all the replies
Seems it's very split!

Answers to a few questions:
Yes there is another earner in the house but we would have to put two toddlers into full time nursery. So pay would have to be over 12k a year...

was considering doing a first aid course anyway as I think is handy so will deffo get that done before applying. Are there any other qualifications that are good to have under your belt before applying? Preferably ones that don't take months and months. I want to start applying around April when my youngest turns two.

How would I start off applying? Can't be as simple as just walking into a school and saying "I would like a job please?" 😂😂 is there a particular process?

OP’s posts: |
MessyMummy15 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:55:57

Also in answer:

I have four A levels at A,B B C (if that's relevant) and I just finished the second year of an English degree when I took time off to be a mum... so it's unfinished but it's there...

OP’s posts: |
MessyMummy15 Sun 03-Feb-19 16:57:28

I'm assuming that parent helper and volunteer teacher is kind of the same thing?

OP’s posts: |
ElizabethMainwaring Sun 03-Feb-19 16:57:46

Hello again. To reiterate, you need good GCSEs and NVQ in supporting teaching and learning. Also volunteer in schools

theworldistoosmall Sun 03-Feb-19 17:00:27

Qualifications Maths, English and depending on when you were born Science are required. Some do require an NVQ related to helping in schools. This will all be mentioned in the job description.

How to apply - look on the local council website, school jobs are advertised there and sites like jobsgopublic.

What the school requires - will be based on the individual school. But generally, someone who is hands-on doesn't take ages to have things explained, and can just get on with it without being micro-managed. An understanding of safeguarding.

Is it worth it? The pay is dire. The worth it depends on the school entirely. Some have insane expectations such as taking stuff to do at home. it's worth it when a child you have been working with for weeks/months has a breakthrough.

If you apply, visit the school and get a feel for the place.

And computer skills are a must.

Rockbird Sun 03-Feb-19 17:02:14

You do realise that some parents are educated and have qualifications? You don't actually trade your degree for a baby.

Rockbird Sun 03-Feb-19 17:03:00

That was to ElizabethMainwaring

BreevandercampLGJ Sun 03-Feb-19 17:05:52

Closed shop around here.

Scubalubs87 Sun 03-Feb-19 17:08:55

TA posts are sought after and competition is high. The pay is rubbish but the hours and holidays are very desirable - hence the competition for posts. I’ve worked with many TAs who started life as parent volunteers - some of the best ones I’ve ever worked with started via this route. I’ve worked with TAs who are trained teachers but who wanted to step down from the responbilities of being the class teacher while they raised their own children. Some apply for TA roles to better understand whether teaching is a future career path they’d like to take. Some schools expect applicants to have specific education/TA NVQs others don’t. My school have recently employed our latest TA through an apprenticeship scheme - however, this was after a 4 year ban on replacing any TA who left as we didn’t have the funds. TA positions and hours have been slashed in my school because our budget situation has been dire. When money needs to be saved, TA hours are nearly always the first thing to go.

Scubalubs87 Sun 03-Feb-19 17:13:17

In my area, TA positions would be advertised on the same site(s) that local teaching jobs would. I live and teach in different LEAs and each has a different website platform to advertise local jobs.

MaFleur Sun 03-Feb-19 17:18:40

It definitely depends where you live. In my area, schools have resorted to placing ads in each others schools newsletters, they struggle so hard to recruit TAs.

I am a TA in a school with well over 20 TAs. Some have qualifications, or relevant degrees, most don't though. I think the most recent job ad asked for GCSE maths and english.

ArabellaUmbrella Sun 03-Feb-19 17:19:22

Benefits -
You generally leave the work behind at the end of the day
School holidays
Working with children can be amazingly rewarding

Downsides -
You're only as good as the teacher. If you get stuck with a crap teacher your job will not be enjoyable.
Its demanding and full on.
You will almost certainly get asked to look after the class on your own at some point.
You will be expected to do your share of marking.
You may well have a lunchtime duty included in your hours.
You may feel taken advantage of, depending on the school, staff and head.

I'm a bit of a jaded TA if you hadn't guessed! But I'm there because it fits in around my DS. Eventually I'd like to do something else but I don't know what.

Danglingmod Sun 03-Feb-19 17:23:53

It's much easier to get a TA job in a secondary school because a) cuts have affected primary schools more and many schools don't have any TAs any more and B) some people are scared of teenagers!

Also, secondary schools are more likely to favour someone with A levels and a degree than a relevant NVQ which is what most applicants to primaries will have.

GloomyMonday Sun 03-Feb-19 17:45:42

In terms of qualifications, all of our TAs have the relevant NVQ. They volunteer while they're working towards it, so volunteering every morning, or a couple of full days, for no pay until they've achieved the qualification. I think the only exception is a TA who is already a qualified teacher. We get dozens of applications for every job advertised.

FairyLightBlanket45 Sun 03-Feb-19 17:50:35

You may be able to find an online Nvq that’s appropriate that you can do faster than spending a year at college, however you may still need to be assessed practically - in which case you would need to find a school placement.

Yes, many schools want TAs with academic and vocational qualifications. The days of being chief photocopier and putting up displays all morning are long gone.

I don’t think parent volunteers are pointless though. Many will be doing it for experience and some essentially for something to do. If it’s a pair of hands and it’s costing nothing, what’s the harm? Most schools will gladly take a volunteer.

Take a big think of you’ve got to put children in nursery as it will eat your entire pay cheque. How old are your DC? If one is 3 or 4, there fees may be covered completely by the 30hours funding as you are looking for term time only. Alternatively if you do the course at college you may get help with fees?

My county has a website where pretty much all schools post their jobs. Also check local papers. Worth also checking private school websites, they often have a vacancies page. (And pay more!)

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