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Teaching assistant career advice

(12 Posts)
LittleLostThing Thu 19-Sep-19 15:03:57

I’m currently contemplating doing a teaching assistant qualification (level 3) at my local college, starting next September. I’m completely clueless and when I spoke to the college about the doing the course they were very much keen to sell it to me and wouldn’t clearly answer any of my questions.

So apologies if these questions are really basic but I have no friends or family to go work within education to ask.

Firstly the course itself is 2 half days a week in college then starting with 1 full day placement a week and going up to 2 full days for the second half of the course. Does this sound about right? All the people I’ve seen come into school on placements seem to be there everyday. Also does anyone have any kind of idea as to how much coursework/ reading needs to be done? I’m hoping to fit this course around my dc’s school hours as youngest starts reception next September. Would you say it’s feasible to do all my coursework/ reading in the 2 school days that i’m not on placement or at college?

Again once I qualify I’m hoping to fit it around school hours. I’m happy for dc’s to do breakfast club/ after school club but ideally only about 8.30ish-4ish. Is that a bit too optimistic if I’m working at a school 5-10 minutes away? Is there a lot of school work that needs to be done in the evenings once at home (after qualifications).

My earnings as a TA would have no impact on the family finances at all and dh thinks it’s daft to consider doing it. But I really want to do something and I can’t think what else. All volunteer opportunities around here are just in charity shops which doesn’t appeal. Am I crazy to think I can fit all dc’s current after school clubs in around this? I don’t have dh around during the week and no other help that I can rely on.

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Pinkflipflop85 Thu 19-Sep-19 16:46:45

Have you looked into what the job prospects are around your area? Lots of schools where I am are having to make lots of cuts and TA hours are being cut/lost completely.
When rare jobs do come up there are hundreds of applicants!

LittleLostThing Thu 19-Sep-19 20:08:07

There are quite a few TA jobs around here. A lot of them are because schools are getting rid of teachers and using TA’s as teachers (which is allowed if you’re an academy but is fucking outrageous imo). So the more experienced TA’s are going for those jobs and leaving places open to less qualified TA’s.

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LittleLostThing Thu 19-Sep-19 20:18:18

Although tbh I’d be happy to just e a volunteer TA. Feeling pretty useless at the moment and just want something worthwhile to try and aim for.

OP’s posts: |
SnowannaRainbow Thu 19-Sep-19 20:21:49

I'm a TA but in Scotland so slightly different education system, but the college course sounds similar. I did two half days in college and two half days in placement (could have done one full day but two half days worked out better for collecting DD from school). The two school days should be enough to do your coursework, the majority of mine was planning and self evaluating activities done on placement. We had a few timed written assessments to do in college, I did most of my revision at night when DD was in bed.

Now I'm working in the role I'm contracted for 25 hours a week so I work 9-2.30 (half hour break unpaid) and DD goes to school breakfast club, I'm there to do afternoon school run and ferry her to her various activities. There's not much I have to do at home, sometimes the odd bit of preparing resources or online training that the Headteacher has requested we do but can't fit in during the school day, usually nothing too time consuming.

funmummy48 Sat 21-Sep-19 09:39:51

I'd check first whether you actually need a TA qualification. None of the TAs in our school have them and jobs being advertised in our county, don't ask for them either. If that's the case in your area, you'd be better to volunteer in school to gain some experience and then start applying for jobs.

LittleLostThing Sat 21-Sep-19 14:57:25

Really funmummy, I didn’t know that at all. Thanks so much. I’ll look into it now. That could save me a couple of grand.

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alislim Sat 21-Sep-19 23:24:23

Hey. It's also not necessary where I work. To get my job I volunteered for a short while, applied for a level 3 qualification course which I had to go to one evening a week- this was completed within the year.
I then applied for a job which I'm still at. You'll easily fit your studies around those days though I'm sure. Most of the benefits of being a TA is that you very rarely take stuff home with you.
Good luck.

CommanderShepard Sun 22-Sep-19 15:33:54

I am a TA with no relevant qualifications (other than GCSEs, A-levels and a degree in an unrelated discipline). I am on the PTA, so was known to the school already, and have experience as a volunteer forest school assistant for a friend's business. That was all I needed.

I am contracted 9-3, 5 days per week but there are various different working patterns across the TA staff. My elder daughter is at the school I work at so it works very well for us as we arrive together and leave together. And I only attend the first INSET of the year so I don't have to worry about childcare often.

Clubs and after school commitments are fine but I wasn't prepared for how exhausted I would feel to begin with.

imip Sun 22-Sep-19 21:43:47

I did the level 2 course 2 years ago. I did over and above the required volunteering, but I was testing the waters a bit as I wanted to see if I could work/study part time hours with 4 dc, 2 with SN. Turns out I can and I now work 20 hours a week. My hours are over 4 days and I get to do most pick ups (dds couldn’t cope in after school club).

Bowerbird5 Tue 24-Sep-19 16:00:51

Interesting. All the TAs in our workplace are qualified to Level 3 and four at Level 4.

I would say do a qualification. I am NNEB Dip. so we did three days in college and two days on placement but we can work for SS, NHS, nurseries and as professional nannies. There was a lot of work to complete at home.
I have marked some of the module work for Trainees and it is much less than what we were expected to do so presumably less work to complete in the evenings. I would recommend that you have a good look around at the courses as some maybe more reasonable than others. Cache is good and so is C&G.

You should be able to fit it around your children as most TAs finish at 3:15pm -3.30pm though some schools expect more most will be understanding about school pick ups. Some will have staff meetings after school and In service is expected about 5 days a year.

NameChangerAmI Sat 28-Sep-19 07:14:41

The job market for TAs is extremely competitive in my area. In the school where I work, all the most recently employed TAs are educated to degree level.

Whereas years ago, it would have been easy to get a job with a TA qualification, now these posts attract so many people with degrees, that the other candidates aren't getting a look in.

If I were you, I'd hold off doing the the TA qualification, and get as much voluntary work with children as possible, if you can financially afford to work for free. E.g. volunteer for cubs, brownies, volunteer in your DC's school to listen to readers, join the PTA, absolutely anything you can think of. Maybe even approach a school and say that you're thinking of starting a TA course next September and would like to gain as much experience as possible prior to starting the course.

Having a lot of varied experience to draw on on your CV and at interview might just make you stand out from the other candidates, who might well be educated to degree level, but have far less relevant experience.

If you can afford it, I'd also fund my own DBS check - so you can hit the ground running, although tbf, I'm not sure how much that would cost, so that might be terrible advice.

One more thing - I'd research current safeguarding practices, and apply for any TA posts that you see advertised. The interview experience will be invaluable, and you will pick up a lot about what schools are looking for from attending interviews, whilst you clock up your experience of working with children.

Good luck!

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