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Your Career• 3 Min read

11th August 2023

What does being a Teaching Assistant involve?

Being a Teaching Assistant is rewarding but it is also hard work. You’ll get to know students well and be instrumental in their progress, but you’ll also be teaching pupils who exhibit challenging behaviour and you may be required to change your day’s structure or provide cover at a moment’s notice. To be a great Teaching Assistant you’ll have to be creative, patient and have great communication skills and a positive outlook.

As a Teaching Assistant, you cover a range of roles and responsibilities, what you’ll be doing as a Teaching Assistant depends on your level of experience, TA status and the school you work at. At the core of the role as a Teaching Assistant, you will provide essential support to teachers in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and school settings.

How to become a Teaching Assistant

Whilst there are not any nationally-specified requirements or qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant, there are numerous TA qualifications and programmes that you can take to make yourself more attractive to a school. Some schools will also require you to take a test to prove you have basic skills in numeracy and literacy.

Our training programme for Teaching Assistants – Engage Teaching Assistant Programme (ETAP) gives you the knowledge and confidence to work in schools. ETAP is a great opportunity whether you’re a university graduate or looking for a change in career to consider and take your first steps within a role in the education sector.

Your ETAP journey will start by completing a course on our partners’ CPD portal. This course will provide you with the necessary information needed to widen your knowledge, build your confidence and help you to understand what to expect and what’s expected of you in a TA role. To discuss the programme with one of our specialists, register here

The introductory course will cover:

  • Enhanced Safeguarding Pathway
  • How to be a great Teaching Assistant
  • Special Needs Awareness Pathway

Once you’ve completed your initial training and depending on which type of school you want to work in, we’ll then provide you with some additional training, covering either Primary, Secondary or SEND.

Whatever your level of experience, we’re here to help passionate new teaching assistants make a real impact in the lives of their pupils, and we’ll support you every step of the way. 

Your responsibilities as a Teaching Assistant

As a Teaching Assistant, you will be expected to fulfil some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Deliver tailored teaching activities to individual pupils or small groups of pupils
  • Make sure that the pupils you are working with are able to engage in the learning at hand and stay on task
  • Support the social and emotional development of pupils and report any issues when necessary
  • Support the teacher in managing challenging pupil behaviour and promoting positive behaviour
  • Guide and monitor pupil progress
  • Help with the planning of some lessons
  • Carry out administrative duties, such as preparing classroom resources
  • Create displays and prepare classrooms
  • Listen to pupils read, reading to them and telling them stories
  • Look after pupils who have had accidents, need help, or are upset
  • Provide support outside of the classroom such as helping during exams or on school trips
  • Help with extracurricular activities such as after-school clubs and revision sessions

What does a Teaching Assistant do day-to-day?

As a teaching assistant, you may have a busy day-to-day as your job will include many roles and responsibilities. Assisting the teacher and certain students will be the most common tasks that you will face. 

At the beginning of the day, you will likely have to help the teacher set up the classroom before the students arrive, tasks may include; preparing resources, amending displays and creating any PowerPoints for the day ahead. 

Once the students have come into the classroom, you will have to help get them settled and prepared for the day. Throughout the day, you will have to provide assistance to any struggling students and give any support to pupils that the teacher hasn’t had a chance to help.

After the day has ended, you may have to help the teacher with marking work and homework and monitoring any detentions or after-school activities.

You may work with individual pupils, groups of children, or the entire class – supporting pupils across a range of abilities, such as pupils who require extra support or have disabilities. As a TA, you will receive direction from both the class teacher and the special educational needs and disability co-ordinator (SENDCO).

There are Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Higher-level Teaching Assistants, which come with different responsibilities, training and expectations. There are also specialisms within training to become a Teaching Assistant, such as learning SEND provision. For more information visit our website

Looking For Staff? Find out more about our teaching assistant training programme.

Speak to Education Support

If you find you’re struggling during the holidays, our partners at the Education Support Partnership are on hand throughout the holidays to assist. From short-term financial aid to counselling, advice, or just a friendly chat, the Education Support Partnership was created to help teachers when they need it. (Just call them at 08000 562 561.)

If you’re a teacher with Engage, you can benefit from the full Employee Assistance Programme, which includes up to six sessions of face-to-face telephone counselling, access to online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), financial and legal information, and more.

You can find out more on the Education Support Partnership’s website. If you’d like more information on how we support our teachers throughout their career, check out the Employee Assistance Programme and all our other benefits.

Book a CCS Consultation

Our East Anglia team are on hand to support your school or MAT with bespoke recruitment solutions, arrange a consultation with the team today.

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