What is a teaching assistant?

A teaching assistant or teaching aide is referred to an individual who assists a licensed teacher with instructional responsibilities. They support teachers and help children with their educational and social development and reinforce the lessons that teachers introduce, both in and out of the classroom, individually or in small groups.

Teaching assistants may also provide feedback to teachers for monitoring the progress of the students.

How to become a teaching assistant?

Although you don’t need a degree to become a teaching assistant, having one can be an advantage as this shows a competent level of skills.

You can get into this job through an apprenticeship, volunteering or college course.

For apprenticeship, you’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

For volunteering, you could get experience in a local school or community organisation. This can sometimes lead to a paid work or chance to get relevant qualifications.

For a college course, you can take a college qualification to get started, for example;

  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
  • T level in Education and Childcare

Teaching assistant duties:

There are many roles and responsibilities of a teaching assistant, including:

  • Helping teachers with recordkeeping, such as taking attendance and calculating grades
  • Helping pupils develop independent learning skills, manage their own learning and prioritise their time
  • Providing one-to-one and small group support to children who need it
  • Clearing away materials and equipment after lessons
  • Making sure that the pupils are able to engage in learning and stay on task during the lesson or activity so that they can become independent learners

Teaching assistant skills:

To be an effective teaching assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Willingness to keep up to date with educational policy and training related to your role
  • Positive approach to working with children and the ability to motivate, inspire and build rapport
  • Sensitivity and understanding for building good relationships with children
  • Flexible and open to change for working on different activities
  • Ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • Good organisational skills

How to find a teaching assistant job?

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the teaching assistant jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for teaching assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Teaching Assistant Job Titles

When you search for a teaching assistant online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for teaching assistant jobs include;

  • Teacher’s aide
  • Education assistant
  • Instructional Aide
  • Paraeducators
  • Paraprofessionals

What does a teaching assistant do?

The job of a teaching assistant varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of teaching assistant job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a teaching assistant include;

  • Watch, record and report pupils’ progress to teachers
  • Help teachers manage class behaviour
  • Look after children who are upset or unwell
  • Lead classes with help from the teacher
  • Listening to children read
  • Provide a safe and healthy environment and follow safeguarding procedures
  • Work with groups and individual pupils to make sure they understand their work and stay focussed