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Teaching/classroom assistant: job description

Teaching/classroom assistant: job description

Teaching/classroom assistants help and support qualified teachers in the classroom with pupils up to the age of 18.
Previous experience of working with children is essential. This can be gained through direct approaches to schools, voluntary work, job shadowing, or by helping at summer camps or play schemes.

What does a classroom assistant do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Key responsibilities of the job include:

  • providing support to children with mathematics, reading and writing on an individual, class or small group basis
  • giving extra help to children with special needs or those for whom English is not their first language
  • helping to develop programmes of learning activities and adapting appropriate materials
  • motivating and encouraging pupils
  • assisting with marking and correcting work
  • attending meetings and reviews
  • helping with school events, trips and activities

The role played by teaching assistants within schools can be vital in helping children gain basic literacy and numeric skills, particularly at key stage one.

Typical employers of classroom assistants

  • State-maintained schools
  • Voluntary-controlled schools
  • Independent schools

Vacancies are advertised in local authority vacancy lists, local and national newspapers and in publications such as the Times Educational Supplement, The Herald and The Scotsman as well as their online equivalents. Schools may also recruit directly.

Previous experience of working with children is essential. This can be gained through direct approaches to schools, voluntary work, job shadowing, or by helping at summer camps or play schemes.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes to becoming a teaching/classroom assistant for both university graduates and school leavers.

Graduates can have a degree in any discipline. Some teaching assistants are qualified nursery nurses that have completed an NVQ level 3 or CACHE diploma in early years/child care and education (formerly the NNEB).

There are several part-time courses available for those wishing to work in this area. These are normally non-examined courses based on assessed portfolios. Topics covered include the development of appropriate professional skills and knowledge, legal and national requirements and the provision of suitable activities in the classroom.

To find out how you can get into this profession via a school leaver route, visit the teaching section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for classroom assistants

  • Enthusiasm
  • Imagination
  • Energy
  • Adaptability
  • Patience
  • Responsibility
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