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I want to become a teaching assistant.

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Littleone17, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. Hi there. I turned 20 last month and i am looking to go into a career as a teaching assistant in primary education. I've always wanted to work with children and after a lot of thought and research i have decided that a teaching assistant in a primary school is the right role for me.I enjoy being around children, i have been told by numerous people that i'm good with kids and i really want to be able to make a difference in young peoples lives. I'm looking to start college in September, the course i'm interested in is the Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. Although i'm waiting till around May/June time for more information regarding course fees etc to enrol. I'm currently unemployed and looking for part time work so i can still earn money whilst studying and pay for the fees and i don't claim jobseekers.

    I have a couple of questions which i would like some help with. Firstly, i know i won't get a difinitive answer but how much on average would this course cost me? None of the local colleges i've looked at give any information on this, i've also emailed a few colleges about fees and getting the costs covered by them and they've all said for me to wait untill around June time for more information to be released. I've had a look at a few of the different types of grants and government funding but i am unsure as to whether i would meet this criteria, i fear that in the current climate i may not be able to find a job in time to save up to pay for the course. Worst case scenario i'll take out a small loan to cover the costs, but i really would like to avoid this.

    Also, what would be the best way to get a volunteer placement in a local primary school? Would it be better to phone them up or send them a letter along with my CV? I would be required to be working at least 2 days a week in a school setting. When should i get this sorted? Should i wait untill i've enrolled or just start contacting schools now? And would the college be able to help me in getting a work placement?

    Any help with this would be much appreciated. I'm really looking forward to going into this field of work it just feels like i'm having to wait so long for prospectuses and information to be released by my local colleges. Thanks in advance for any advice given.
  2. I would email the SENCo - call the schools you would like to volunteer at and ask for their SENCos direct email, not FAO (which I get numerous of, if you are keen to help you will research who you want to talk to properly). Attach a CV to it and make it clear you are willing to pay for a CRB check and what you are looking to do. In this financial climate you need to show that you will put yourself out there to help and do anything to get volunteering hours under your belt. There are so many qualified people out there without jobs you need to give the schools a good reason why they should choose you over other who may already be with qualifications / higher qualifications / more experience who may also be wanting to volunteer. Course prices... sorry no can help... but good luck :)
  3. Thanks for the replies you've all been really helpful. Sinkingship what was the course like? As I've said I've always wanted to work with kids, but at the moment I don't want the responsibility of being a full fledged teacher, maybe I'll go on to do that in a few years time or something when I'm older and a bit more mature and experienced.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    SENCO are Special Education Needs COordinators & usually fao means for the attention of but is uaully written with small, not capital, letters.
  5. I think you are correct. To be on a level 3 course you will have to be working with children for at least 2 years. To be on level 2 you should already have a placement, could be as a volunteer.Don't know if you will be accepted on course if you do not have a placement already.
  6. I am on a Level 2 TA course in Nottingham and part of that course is a school placement of an average of 15 hours per week for upto 1 year. The course itself starts either Sept or Jan and goes for upto one year dependent upon how hard you want to work !!
    Its one night a week apart from school holidays.
    I would be concerned about direct learning courses that only need 50 hours in total. You would miss the discussions between other students and the tutors.
    Also we have several in school observations from an assessor who also marks al our work.
    We can then go onto Level 3 once Level 2 completed.
    To get onto level 2 you have to pass Numeracy and Literacy tests to show that you are GCSE level.
    Some students didn't have placements before starting the course.


  7. I agree, you do miss communication with others students (although we all talk in a forum) but for me I have to do distance learning as I work full time! It means I don't have to go into college and I can do it in the evenings after work. If you're able to go to college once a week though, these courses are probably cheaper than distance learning-you have to do what is best for your lifestyle!
  8. Yes-get it touch but probably best to wait after the Easter holidays. I found my best response was email when I did voluntary work (I emailed about 50 schools and about 3 said I could do work experience!) but letters to a few of the closest schools could be good too. You don't have to sell yourself as such but briefly mention what you can offer them in the classroom (any experience you have, if you have any skills in specialist subjects, helping out in after school clubs etc). Any experience with children is great! Best of luck.
  9. Ok so I'll write up a few emails and send them off after the Easter holidays. I'm really looking forward to this, I've been stuck in limbo for a while now because I just couldn't find what I wanted to do career wise, it feels great to at least have a sense of direction again. My only concern now Is being able to pay for course fees. If I don't manage to find work then I may struggle a bit :/
  10. I was the same last year-unsure of what to do. I did a degree in Journalism but really didn't want to get into the industry. I love working as a TA, it's a fantastic job and I get to spend a lot of time working closely with the children without the stresses and strains of being a teacher. Having said that, the pay isn't great...it's pretty poor!
    As for the course fees-sometimes you can get help if you are on low income, it is worth looking into.
  11. @misstickles re post on 15th April 17:02 (I'm late I know!!)
    I'm in a v. similar position to you with regards to getting a Journalism degree then figuring out that I want to work as a TA.
    Can I just ask is your full-time job your TA job? Did you start your course before your job or the other way round?
    I'm stuck in the position where I'm working full-time doing something else but looking out for any TA openings in my area as that would be ideal and obviously I'm more than willing to start a course once I'm working as a TA, just I can't afford to start a course now while working as I'll need to have loads of time off to go on placement - advice??
  12. Hi Lottie, nice to hear someone else feels the same about journalism! Yes my job is full time-well it's 32 hours which is considered full time for teaching assistants! I started my job in December and decided I'd like to get a qualification so I signed up in February. I do it in the evenings after work and it fits in perfectly-it's quite demanding but means I can work and study at the same time. Good luck with finding a job :) What age range would you like to work with? I work with Year 6 but I want to move to early years in September.
    If you are serious about being a TA, then just start the course once you've settled into a TA role, I have paid mine in installments the past three months so hasn't felt too bad and it definitely fits in well.
  13. Just a quick update. Had an interview at a local primary school for a school cleaning job today. If I get it (fingers crossed) then I'll be working from 3.30pm mon-fri so when it comes to emailing schools for volunteer work I'd have to request mornings only. They would be ok with this wouldn't they? Would it affect my chances of schools wantin to take me on? Also if I did get this job then would it be ok to maybe ask the school id be working at if i could volunteer there as a TA? I wouldn't ask straight away obviously, I'd wait a couple of months but how would they react?
  14. I started out by volunteering mornings only on the first day my daughter started nursery. The reason that I gradually gained more and more paid hours out of this was that I volunteered <u>every</u> day, 9-11.30 and behaved as if it was paid employment. I was consistent and reliable, I supported 2 classes and the teachers came to know that I was dependable enough to plan into their lessons. I now work full time (37.5 hrs inc breakfast club) and love it :)
  15. Didn't get that school cleaners job. Quite gutted really as I really wanted and needed that job. Feeling a bit deflated after the interview. Not many other jobs out there at the moment so not sure what I'm going to do now with regards to becoming a TA. I still want to but maybe not yet...
  16. Don't give up!
    It's not easy getting into a school, as the team need to know they can trust you with children,and that you are motivated in ensuring a child's safety and development will always come first.
    From experience, I would get a CV sorted out, highlighting your qualities, and how the school would benefit from having you as part of the team. I do think you need to start volunteering before you can even apply for a job, then you will have experience, demonstrate commitment and most importantly have a referee to put on your application form when the time comes to look for a paid position.
    So, the plan is:
    - write CV, highlight qualities (e.g motivated, caring, patient individual)
    - go in person to a school, ask for an appointment to speak to the head (mentioning why)
    - turn up at appointment well dressed, eager and positive
    - agree on a time scale (e.g. start in June until end of July/ school year, or start in September), as a volunteer (reading one-to-one is always needed and a good way to start)
    - start your work experience as a volunteer, and look out for local schemes (Eg 'Train to Gain = free NVQ2 course, may no longer be available, best check with local college, or even under 25 you should have allowances to help you with your fees)
    - hope to get a course sorted and qualify by June 2012, Spetember 2012 get a proper paid job!
    sounds good!? if you want more help/advice let me know!
    the trick is to stay focused!
    best of luck!!
  17. Hi, Have you thought of trying to get an Apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (STLS), this is a good way to train, gain experience in school and get paid. Try your local college to see if they do this course.
    The Government are funding the course if you complete it as an Apprenticeship, this means that you will do the STLS course along side functional skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT. Providing you don't have qualifications higher than the level you want to study you could get the course funded.
    I agree that voluntary work is an excellent way to get experience that will prepare you for the interview process.
    Good luck
  18. Hi littledebi
    could you clarify what you mean by the TA's in the school are the cause of many taking their children elsewhere?
    When you say you weren't given the chance - does that mean that the role wasn't advertised?
    I'm only asking as I see myself in this postition at some point int he future [​IMG]

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