1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by ecoext, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    @olunchick. Well done. I also have an interview at a special needs primary school. There is no task just a lesson observation. Do I need to do anything differently considering this is SEN? I've not had a SEN primary interview before?
    galerider123 likes this.
  2. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    Well done pickles! I’ve only had interviews for SEN positions within mainstream schools. Never in SEN school, I’ve been to Brays on supply basis and couldn’t sleep afterwards thinking about the kids and how poorly they are. That put me off apply to sen schools. Though I don’t mind sen work within mainstream.

    What do you mean by no task just lesson observation? Is it just you supporting a narmal lesson? If so they will probably be looking to see how you interact with the children. Their classes are likely to be small - read up on school and the kinds of children they cater for, then look up conditions etc... Just go armed with as much info as you can get and jog your own memory for different senarios supporting sen childen on any occasions etc...

    Good luck pickles, another shot another chance. When is your interview? Mine is 9am on Monday.
  3. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    Hi @olunchick its on Tuesday. It just stated you will spend done time in class. I am assuming they will observe my interactions, communication and supporting of children. I've got a lot of notes from previous interviews so I think I will be ok.

    Are you all set for your interview!! I really admire your resilience. Well all of our resilience really. So many times ive felt like giving up. I'm sure you will ace this. Your getting the interviews flying at you!
    galerider123 likes this.
  4. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    I’m not a quitter pickles, will keep trying. The job I am going for this time I really want. I’m not set and ready to go lol! Still thinking about comprehension activity. In all honesty I am not doing anything special just taking along a piece of text with comprehension questions. They didn’t tell me the age of the child, but I am guessing ks2 as job advert reads ks2 experience desiarable. I only wanted to know as it would have helped with the choice of reading material- I may take 2 or 3 have a chat with the child and let them pick. We’ll see.

    Even though I am getting interviews pickles I still loathe the feeling of being rejected again as it means I come across on paper better than i am in person. It’s not a great feeling but of course I am grateful for opportunities.
    galerider123 likes this.
  5. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    Ps. I think you will do great pickles. If you get a chance have a chat with the teacher, ask if there’s any info about the children you may find helpful he/she may give you some pointers.
  6. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    @olunchick. You are just as good in person!! They are making things more difficult because schools are inundated and they think they can put people to the test. I mean these tasks- I do question the fairness of it all when they send people hone because children made no progress or weren't engaged.

    And its no wonder that people do fall down at that stage because your almost clutching at straws with it. I mean look what happened to me last time. A right fudge up that was. But I got the wrong end of stick anyway.

    Don't make it too complicated. Always have a plan in case it veers off on a tangent.

    So the task is comprehension. They didn't say exactly what they want the children to achieve? Always have in mind the learning objective and what children need to do to meet it. Don't let the stress take over (easier said than done though)
    olunchick likes this.
  7. exploration

    exploration New commenter

    I have a TA interview and I have 30 minutes of just helping out in the class. Never experienced a TA interview before and, despite being a teacher (and so maybe I sound uber-dense), I don’t really know what they’re expecting me to do. Check with the teacher at the start of the lesson who's SEN? I don’t want to interrupt the start of the lesson... Just generally check who needs help? It all seems a bit wishy-washy in my head.
  8. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    From past experience of having a lesson observation in a class (supposing its just a standard mainstream school) I would be deposited in class. Then if the kids weren' wearing name labels, I'd ask them to tell me their name if able, then tell then my name.

    I would say to the teacher is there anywhere that you want me to sit specifically. Any certain children to support. Then they will say can you support Tommy over here or Lilly over there. Could you work with this table or that table?

    Make sure you dont just focus on one child as someone i know recently got caught short on it. Ask the children what the LO is or the teacher.

    Try to avoid over talking and asking too many questions. Let the children talk to you. Get them to think and work with their peers.
  9. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    @exploration. Tell me more about the role of you can and i will see if i can assist further. What made you decide to go into a support role?

    Secondly I do not suspect for one minute that you are dense. They do make these things quite stressful. Believe me I'm pretty much an old dab hand with the whole TA apply wait decline repeat cycle of life by now!! I should wear it as a t-shirt.

    Quite a few of us are going through the daily rigmarole here, and still trying to figure it out.
  10. exploration

    exploration New commenter

    Thank you, that’s helpful. I don’t have an awful lot to go on - it doesn’t specify whether it’ll be individual support or general class support. I guess it depends on staffing and support needed I guess. They’ve given me no more info than it’s a general TA role and there'll be 30 minutes in class supporting.

    I want to stay in education but want something less stressful and limited out-of-work work. I may go back in to it and given I’ve just done NQT, I’d really like the opportunity to see more teaching just to reassure myself of what I’m doing is good tbh.
  11. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    @exploration when is your interview? I guess you gave looked at the schools website, policies and have made notes. Its always advisable to acquaint oneself with all areas of the school. If you show knowledge that you'e done your groundwork it will be a brownie point.

    I always take my pens, highlighters and stickers and labels in just in case.

    Common questions centre around the SEN code of practice, safeguarding, interventions (awareness, tracking and progress), pupil motivation, behaviour scenario, why do you want to be a TA, what are your weaknesses and strengths, how could you help pupils to access the curriculum, how could you enhance or support with subject areas. (You have a high amount to offer in this area)

    Talk about your interests- are you a keen enthusiastic of history and the arts. Music? Entertainment? Drama? Ballet? Football? Painting?

    Why are you passionate about Education?
    exploration likes this.
  12. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    The questions - this was for SEN support assistant.

    • What are your experiences working with SEN children?
    • What would your referees say about you?
    • What would you do if a child is struggling with a task?
    • What/how can you contribute to school life other than perfoming your duties while working as SEN support assistant?
    • If asked to set up a work station for a particular child, what would you have/put in it?
    • How would you deal with the child that huffs, puffs and storms out of test?
    • You see bruises on a soft part of the leg, what would you do?
    • What are your areas for development?
    • How would you establish a successful relationship with a teacher and a child that you will be working with?
    • Do you still see yourself as a firm candidate for the job?
  13. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    @olunchick these were the questions you were asked today? How Did you answer them?
  14. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    Which ones specifically pickles?
  15. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    What would you do if a child is struggling with a task?

    My answer: first of all try to identify where the child is struggling? Do they appear to be struggling because they find the work too challenging, or lack the basic skills needed to complete the work.

    Try using a different support strategy (visual, kinaesthetic, auditory). Maybe the child is anxious and could benefit from 5 minutes away from the task, re-seated, put with another adult. Perhaps bring in some support devices (ipad, other type of pad, counters, writing aid, different coloured paper to reduce glare)

    Break the task down into small manageable steps. Keep instructions simple.

    What else could you say for that question?
  16. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    If asked to set up a work station for a particular child, what would you have/put in it?

    Depending on the needs of the child, possibly a work mat (you know those raised ones that they use for children who cant write, and need table support)... writing aids, numicon, counters, beads, and maybe things that are of special interest to them. ie a favourite toy or book. Perhaps a busy box?

    Refer to the childs IEP- does it state anything else that they need?
  17. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    How would you deal with the child that huffs, puffs and storms out of test?

    Try and calm the child down, avoiding restraint unless absolutely necessary. Get another adult to help for safeguarding reasons. Take the child to another room to calm down. As them what is wrong if they will talk to you, document what they say. Refer to class teacher and SENCO.

    I'm actually stuck on this one. I really don't know.
  18. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    For struggling with task - all of what you said sounds brill. I would add give lots of praise and encouragement, promised and agreed reward at the end - sticker, house point, show to a senior member of staff whatever they use in a particular school.

    For work station I had no idea what it is? I said it would depend on needs of the child and gave example of a small child that I worked with - they needed and adjustable chair, wrting slope, stationery within reach etc.
    pickles124 likes this.
  19. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    The question on the child that storms out has completely thrown me. Obviously it has t be dealt with but in a measured way. Allow the child a chance to earn that back, to reflect on their behaviour using self regulation skills. Possibly suffering from sensory overload so may need time out? But then what would happen to their test?
  20. olunchick

    olunchick Occasional commenter

    For the child that huffs and puffs I said I usually try to ensure that children come into test situation relaxed and say the result is in no way a judgement on them, it’s for the teacher to see what they know so she can plan her lessons better.

    Then I said I would follow the child and ask them to sit down with me, keep calm, try and understand underlying problem - is the test too hard? The question they got stuck on? Or could be smth else going through their mind?

    This is in addition to what you said pickles, I think your answer was great - I wouldn’t have thought of that.
    pickles124 likes this.

Share This Page