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Recommneded Courses to become a TA

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by tawannabe, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am new to this website. [​IMG]

    I am considering training to become a TA. I have been offered a place on a BA Primary Education at MMU for September 2009, but our current finances are not going to make this viable. (Huge fees)

    So...TA is the route I am going to take.

    Please can I have some suggestions of courses people have studied to give them at least a level 2 TA qualification?

    My local college is offering a BTEC Level 2 Teaching Assistant, also a Foundation degree in Teaching Assistant. what other courses are available?

    I am going to secure a voluntary placement in a local school over the next few weeks to give me some experience of working in schools as I know this is usually required to gain a place on a TA collage course.

    Is a level 3 TA course a better entry route to a TA job or will level 2 be adequate? Can you start a level 3 course with no prior TA qualifications or do you have to complete a level 2 first anyway?

    I have a HND in Business which gives me enough ucas points to acess a HE course, but I am not sure whether I would be accepted onto the Foundation degree without a relevant teaching qualification? Although I was accepted onto the BA Primary Ed through UCAS points alone...

    Sorry to go on, but I am desperate to find out the score! (so to speak)!!!

    Thanks in advance


    Ps. I have emailed the college aswell and am awaiting their response...

  2. It varies between LEAs but if you were in my LEA I would advise you not to bother splashing out money on a TA course because they are not a requirement!

    Honestly TA pay is so poor that in the long run it makes more financial sense to take a hit now with the fees and then getting a teaching job.
  3. Right, I am a bit confused by your answer?

    Surely having a qualification in TA would give me the edge over other candidates (without formal qualifications) competing for the same job...

    There must be valid courses to give you some knowledge and skills required for the TA position, otherwise why would the majority of TA job vacancies I have read specifcally request level 2?

    The cost of completing a level 2 course at college is far cheaper than 4 years at Uni paying £3000 a year fees.[​IMG]

    If a qualification is not necessary, then what else should I be doing to prepare me for a TA job/interview?

    Many thanks
  4. As I said it varies between LEAs. Some require qualifications some do not.

    In my LEA as a TA you will earn a MAXIMUM of £14,000 at the moment whereas a teacher will START on £20,000 and have all sorts of promotion opportunities up to Head Teacher which can be as much as £100,000! Thats why I would recommend doing a subject degree and PGCE as being your best long term option financially. You would get a grant and possibly other support too for uni. I would do the PGCE route rather than BA Ed because your fourth year would then be funded so you would only have 3 years of £3000 fees which you can cover by student loans and part time work and which you will hardly notice coming out of your pay packet.
  5. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Hi, tawannabe,

    It is many years since I trained and the course I did no longer exists although something similar is provided by CACHE nowadays. The BTEC was a new qualification at that time too. The vast majority of TAs now complete an NVQ, usually attending college on a part-time basis - for this it is necessary to have a placement, either paid or unpaid, at a school in order to carry out the assignments set.

    If you are fortunate you may find a school who will actually employ you without a qualifiaction whilst you complete this course! I'm not sure whether that happens quite as often as it used to - I have even heard of schools who have paid the cost of the course - though none of the TAs I work with had that happen.

    The standard of tuirtion and support offered on an NVQ course vary wildly so you would be well advised to make some enquiries specific to the area where you live to find out any which are recommended. The length also tends to be variable - I know of people who completed a level 3 course in one year and others who have taken much longer. If you have any experience at all I would think that you could cope with going straight to level 3, although when I have said this before, there are people who disagree and say that doing level 2 first is best -don't know because I didn't do the course.

    On a personal note, I remain glad that I completed a full-time college course , and had experiences during those two years in placements which I would never have got just working in one school. However, given the situation now I am not sure if I would do it again - to have been earning a wage, even a low one, during those two years would have made an enormous difference to my family.

    In my authority the top level of pay for a level 3 TA working 32.5 hours a week will be going up next year to somewhere in the region of £17000, and an HLTA working 36.6 hours is on around £22500 - wages do vary a great deal across local authorities and according to working hours, and HLTA jobs are very hard to come by!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  6. hi, if you do the Foundation Degree, you may, as some Uni's do, be able to bridge onto the final year of the BA Ed hons with QTS course.
  7. rolls

    rolls Occasional commenter

    I would seriously consider the Foundation Degree. This will enable you to go into teaching in the long term but also make you more employable as a TA in the short term as it is the highest level TA qualification available. You might also be given some credits towards a Foundation degree from your Hnd as long as you took it fairly recently.
  8. E111 Teaching Assistance in Primary Education, by the Open University is a good course. You need to be in a primary setting (voluntary is ok) for 6 hours a week. It runs from October to May, and costs about £600. The work load is about 10 hours a week and you will do 6 or 7 assignments throughout the course and and end of course project. It is rated higher than an NVQ 3. I did it and it was an excellent start to my TA life - and got me a job at the school I did my placement in! As well as a stand alone certificate, it can count as a module towards an OU degree. Go on the OU website and search "E111" for more info.
  9. I ma currently on the CACHE level 3 teaching assitants 1 year course. I have to do 120 hours ina school spread over the year which is fairly easy. I ma doing a day a week in my local primary school in year 2 class.If you work it out its actually only a requirement to do about 3.5 hours a week but I do a whole day as it gives more flexibility if I have to take time of or whatever.
    If you have done some education recently which you have uts not that hard to deal with the written work. Its 2 assignments both about 3500 words in length and is structured with you answering particular specific criteria. i have done the first one and I found it fairly easy even though I havent done any writing since school 25 years back.
    Have a look at CACHE.org.uk they list the courses they do. Personally I would do the highest level course you are capable of doing to give you an edge over other applicants. I havent done any NVQ's but from ehat I can gather they are more assessed my observing you with in the school which might put more pressure on you and the school. I just use put my learning into practice in the school. You have to do observations on a particular child for unit 1 but thats not hard.
    On the oher hand taking up the university offer would be my choice, I have recently had an unsuccessful interview for the BA primary degree and if you have an offer take it. As someone said before you wont have to pay the fees until you start working and the loan repayments are small, its not like taking a bank loan. There will be support available to help you with childcare fees and other help available you would be surprised at what you can get. I have worked out that i can get around £140 a week with a loan, a grant and a bursary form the uni (which everyone gets) but I am single and childless and there are more grants available than that. Yoyu will be earning so much more as a teacher than as a TA.
    Go for it, follow your dream dont let money worries stop you
  10. It is a tricky one... there are a few different routes tbh...
    Firstly, and not to be patronising, have you volunteered in school to make sure you really want to teach? (the original post doesn't make it clear)
    I have never wanted to teach, but have a passion for support work, and to be honest, my first support role in school confirmed that for me. I would have to make sure it was truly what I wanted before I shelled out x amount of pounds for a uni course.
    I agree with what has been said about the OU, I think the courses are great, even better than trad uni in my opinion, but it is hard work. I probably wouldn't advise studying full time- I am doing a post grad course at a rate of 60 credits a year, which alongside working in school was more than enough.
    Other people have asid that if you want to be a TA then you don't need any quals at all, which isn't strictly true. Gone are the days that they recruit from the school gates (mostly, there will always be exceptions) and to get an interview you need an 'edge'- something that you can offer which makes you stand out. Whether that is previous child care experience, time spent volunteering in youth work, interests that the school can use (eg musical or dramatic ability)... it doesn't matter. Experience always counts higher than qualfications (or it does a lot of the time), and actually being passionate about it all is also important. Be interested in the whole picture; the Children and Young Peoples Plan, The Common Core Skills and Knowledge, the Common Assessment Framework... basically the Every Child Matters agenda. Look into role profiles for the job and develop useful skills.
    Another thing to remember at this moment in time is that we are in the midde of a downturn. My council, whn I enquired, said that they have had hundreds of applications for each TA post at the moment because people want the hours and holidays that generally come with the job.
    The money is, frankly , rubbish, so it is more of a vocation than a way to earn cash, but I love working in education,The rewards (and also frustrations) are so big- helping young people achieve is what gets me up in the morning. I use to money to finance my studies whilst doing the thing I want to build on in the future- being in a position to work with children that need help.

  11. What is the name of the OU degree?


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