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the magic key to getting a TA role?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Doratheexplorer2, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Hi all..
    I'm feeling a little annoyed/frustrated with trying to get a TA role in my area.. I've been volunteering form 1.5 years (not long compared to some I know).. have been nannying and working in nurseries with the children needing funding and doing EYFS. I don't have a huge amount of additional needs experience but I do have some.
    I have applied for at least 4 jobs at the school I volunteer at and am always being told by the teachers that I help that they are happy and enjoy me helping them.. yet I can't even get an interview. I've got a degree.. have numerous EYFS courses under my belt and special needs training. I have a NVQ in Childcare.
    I'm now wondering how much of getting a job is who you know not what you know.. am I being cynical (I'm just exploring).. recently one of the other parents I know did get an interview but still didn't get the job and she then told me that another parent got the job, but she has only started volunteering this academic year with no childcare experience previous to this it seems. I don't understand what I'm doingn wrong and why I didnt even get to interview. The Head is always friendly to me and I think I've built good relationships with the other staff members but clearly I'm missing something.
    Can anyone suggest what that magically something could be please? I've decided that from january I'm not going in 3 mornings a week anymore as I need to start focusing my efforts towards earning money over volunteering..
    Has this all been a big waste of time? part of me isn't too concerned over not getting this job and the other half of me is as I don't know what I could have done better..
    any advice would be great.x[​IMG]
  2. I know it's easy to say but don't give up. Why don't you ask the head where you went wrong in the interview. Could he give you any tips. I am sure if you made an appointment to see him rather than try to catch him on the hop he would have time to talk to you. Good liuckj/
  3. picsgirl

    picsgirl New commenter

    I feel the same.
    I volunteeered for a year - then did a temporary contract for a year - then when a permanent job came up it went to a volunteer who was working in that particular class where the vacancy was. ( The teacher was the 2nd person doing the interviews).
    I'm back to volunteering , plus the HT has asked me to be a supply TA - this has only resulted in 3 days of paid work since Sept.
    However the secretary (who sorts out staff cover) told me that I would have had more if I was available for the full 5 days.
    So after 9 years I have stopped my other parttime job (non TA) to make myself more available for TA supply work. It's a gamble, hopefully it will pay off and lead to a permanent job.
    If not, at least my house will be sparkling.
  4. I agree ask your Head why you haven't been offered an interview. If you have applied for four jobs at the same school it is worth asking that question. Did the jobs go internally or externally?
    It may be that your school looks for something very specific i.e level 3 NVQ. It is sometimes trickier to impress if you are an insider. Everyone knows everything about you 'warts and all' and there is no opportunity to arrive at interview like a shiny, new penny and embellish your experience.
    Are you a parent at the school? I know that a parent at our school didn't get offered an interview because it was felt that the complexity of her two children's special needs would make it difficult to manage that work/parentbalance.Does your school employ parents or does it have a policy against that?
    Could you possibly be unintentionally doing something that makes teachers look at you unfavourably.I know that you are working on a voluntary basis but are you always prompt, do you take time off. It's unfair but I am saying this because one of our volunteers was unfavourably judged because they regularly phoned in with childcare issues. Unfair I know!
    I don't want to imply that you are not working to a high standard I am sure from the tone of your post that you are putting in an enormous effort. However I know from some of our volunteeers that it isn't easy to get it right all the time and schools can sometimes be quite harsh when they judge people's performance.
    Schools can be so choosy nowadays and if your school thinks that they can get you for free and then employ someone who has a different set of qualifications that they think are vital for the job then they may prefer that.
    Are you checking that your job applications are very specific to the job specification. It is worth asking a teacher at your school to check your application before you submit it. Headteachers often have particular views about certain things and if it appears in your application they may simply discard it.
    It is really disappointing when you make such a commitment to something and you are unable to secure a position. What happens when you apply for jobs at other schools?
    Anyway good luck with whatever you decide to do in the future.

  5. Definitely ask as the others have said but I suspect strongly that it is a case of 'we are getting her for free' at the moment so why employ her? I would just go in a morning or afternoon a week and see what happens then. Make it clear that you are looking for and NEED paid work and that is why you cannot give so much of your time anymore. Good luck!
  6. Hi there,
    A few questions spring to mind from your post :
    1) You may well be over qualified for the role they are seeking to fill ?
    2) Are you setting your sights in too narrow a sphere? Apply to other schools !
    3) Depending on the applying parent/child dynamic schools may avoid employing certain parents in the same school as their child, but cope with them as a volunteers ! This may have nothing to do with the parent, but everything to do with the child, so don't take it personally.
    4) Are you seeking employment in the same school as your child? If so why? Be honest with yourself, it is a lot easier on everyone, esspecially the children you work with not to have familial connections in school.
    5) Ask yourself what you can bring to the school that no one else can, lots of people qualified or not have vast experience with special needs and early years, what makes you different?
    Often very experienced people can apply for TA roles and a seemingly unqualified applicant gets the job, simply because they have that something the interviewers recognise as a benefit to the school ie: a gandmother figure, experience of working with the homeless, excellent maths skills, experience in art or drama, a second language, IT experience and the list goes on. It is not all about TA qualifications, it's more about life experience and how that will impact positively for the children and the staff as a whole.
    The Volunteer you refer to, who had little experience in school, obviously had that something in her life experience the school was looking for, what do you have? Think widely and sell yourself as a whole person and not just special needs or early years, they can be taught in situ to any TA who has compassion.
    Wishing you the best
  7. Have you tried an agency, my wife completed her cache level3 TA and applied to an agency, she got work straight away and within 3 months she had a permanent job offer. Might be a way to go. Good luck
  8. ld7675

    ld7675 New commenter

    Hi, I do know how you feel having had two job applications ignored. But today I had an interview and am starting the job in two weeks!!!
    I found that where jobs posted a detailed person and job specification I could tailor the application, taking each part of the job and person spec and literally stating where I matched each requirement. The jobs I didn't get considered for had a very vague job description and so I felt it was difficult to know what to sell myself on.
    I have been unable to even get volunteer time at my children's school so applied for jobs in the vicinity - none of the six applicants selected for interview today had any prior connection with the school, which surprised me as I thought there would be parent volunteers selected. We all seemed to have in common some work with children in the past, some SEN experience and they asked for GCSE Maths and English.
    On the forums here, there are loads of posts giving examples of questions to expect to be asked, every question i was asked has appeared on the forums over the last couple of years and I had practised them. I am an EYP and have NVQ3, so I was asked why I was moving from early years to school, I just said I wanted a more structured environment and I'd put on the application form that I would eventually like to progress to QTS, when this came up in the interview I stressed this was a long term goal but the headteacher said it was good to have a career aim.
    I am still stunned as I know each post has loads of applicants but it could be that the school does not want to employ too many parents. I am sure another school in the area would consider you as you seem to have the right qualifications and experience. Good luck.
  9. A while ago I tried to go from volunteering to a paid role and failed - I got the feedback that they absolutely loved my work, but that at interview, I failed to mention most of the things that they really appreciated about me. Because I was being interviewed by people I knew and who knew me, I made far too many assumptions about my skills and abilities standing from my track record - in fact the recruiting team had to decide purely on the recorded evidence from the interview itself and were scrupulous in discarding everything else, to my loss.
    One thing that has been a great help for me is mock interviews - do you have someone who could really grill you from the person spec and jd? You use a different part of your brain to verbalise responses, and it made all the difference for me.
  10. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    It sounds like your face doesn't fit for that role/school. If they are interviewing and hiring other parents , that suggests they don't have a problem with recruiting parents with children at the school and if they have hired someone who has not volunteered for as long, then that suggests something you're doing isn't quite right for their needs. I'd volunteer in a different school; you can't make them hire you.

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