Teaching assistants support children with their learning activities in the classroom. They work closely with teachers to make sure pupils enjoy learning in a safe and caring setting.
The Skills Required
As a teaching assistant you will need:
- experience of working with children
- the ability to build good relationships with children, teachers, parents and carers
- a basic understanding of how children develop and learn
- flexibility and creativity
- the ability to work as part of a team
- good reading, writing and numeracy skills
- patience and a sense of humour
- the ability to manage groups of children and cope with challenging behaviour
Individual schools set their own entry requirements and decide which qualifications and experience they want.
Previous qualifications in nursery work, childcare, playwork or youth work can be useful for finding work. If you have enough experience of working with children or can show employers that you have the right personality and potential, they may take you on and train you on the job. Volunteering to help in a local school for a few hours a week is a good way to start.
The following qualifications are also available for those not yet employed in the role, and for those just new to the job, whether paid or volunteering:
- Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
- Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
Most paid jobs will require you to have qualifications in literacy and numeracy at GCSE or equivalent.
Before you can begin working with the children, the school will carry out enhanced background checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
The Dearne Valley is an area of South Yorkshire, England, along the River Dearne. It encompasses the towns of Wombwell, Wath-upon Dearne, Swinton, Conisbrough and Mexborough, the large villages of Ardsley, Bolton on Dearne, Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe, Darfield, Stairfoot and Brampton Bierlow, and many other smaller villages and hamlets. In 1995 the area became a regeneration area, as it had suffered much from the sudden decline of the deep coal mining industry in the 1980s. In the 2011 census the ONS-identified Barnsley/Dearne Valley built-up area had a population of 223,281, however this region includes Barnsley and certain other smaller towns and villages that might not historically have considered themselves a part of the Dearne Valley. From Doncaster on the X78 bus it would usually take around 15 minutes, and a bit of walking. Taxi about 11 minutes, and if you choose to walk it could take up to 1hr 36min.