back to blogs

5 Steps to Becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant

About about 1 month ago By Eloise Gladwyn

5 Steps To Becoming A SEN Teaching Assistant

​Teaching Assistants (TAs) are essential elements of any classroom. Any teacher will tell you how critical TAs are critical for keeping the day running smoothly (not to mention their own sanity(! The role of a teaching assistant is becoming a highly sought-after position, meaning competition can be tough.

The role of a TA in a Special Education Needs (SEN) environment is all about collaborating with the class teacher to support pupils with physical, behavioural or learning difficulties. Working as an SEN teaching assistant can be physically and emotionally challenging at times, but people entering the career will soon realise it is also one of the most rewarding careers on offer.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already thinking about working as a TA in an SEN school. If you’re not quite sure where to start, these five simple steps should guide your path to becoming a SEN teaching assistant.

1.    Know what it takes to be an SEN Teaching Assistant

To work in SEN, you need bucketloads of patience. Educating children and young people with varied and complex needs is an extremely rewarding, but frequently challenging vocation. Before embarking on your journey in SEN, make sure you have researched what you will be doing day-to-day as a learning support assistant assistant and the kinds of qualities schools are looking for. Most schools will be looking for caring, creative and understanding individuals with the resilience to deal with episodes of challenging behaviour.

If this is a new path for you, you should get acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of a TA. Coming in armed and clued up on what to expect as a SEN TA will help you walk your next interview.

2.    Get the relevant experience

You may already have a ton of transferrable skills for the SEN sector, if so, great! You’re ready to move onto step 3. But if this is new territory for you, it’s worth looking into how you can gain relevant experience.

You could gain SEN experience through voluntary work at a school in their learning support department. Alternatively, you could step further outside the box and look for positions as a play worker for children with disabilities. Any experience you can get helping and supporting children or adults with additional needs would make a great addition to your skill set.

If you have any experience working with children, you may already have a meaningful head start. At the very least, you’ll have a talking point for an interview, even if your experience is not specifically in special needs.

Think back to your time working with children - did any children in your care have additional needs you had to consider in your practice?

3.    Brush up your CV

Your teaching assistant CV is your chance to really wow the school or recruiter you are applying for and show them you are the best fit for the job. Be sure to highlight any experience you have working with children or any educational experience. Even just helping your own children (if you have any) understand concepts from the homework!

Make sure to emphasise your strong points, particularly in SEN. Schools will be looking for people with specific talents they can share with their pupils, so if you have a passion for music or a black belt in karate, don’t be afraid to include it in your CV.

4.    Search for jobs

So you have the experience, and the CV to match. Now it’s time to hunt for teaching assistant roles.

Every year, Protocol Education helps thousands of people find SEN teaching assistant jobs. With hundreds of vacancies across the UK, our consultants will work with you to find the right position in the right place for you.

5.    Start working as an SEN teaching assistant!

So now you’ve got to the interview stage, your future career is nearly within reach. While experience and qualifications are desirable to schools, many recruiters will be looking at your personality. If you can show the interview panel you are patient, kind and understanding, it will be a big tick for them, with extra points if you have a great sense of humour!

Be sure to brush up on your knowledge of special educational needs and how you can support learning for pupils with SEN. You might want to do some research in, for instance, the best teaching methods for pupils with ADHD, as well as a few essential behaviour management strategies.  

A Teachers’ Guide to Trauma-Informed Practice In UK Schools
15 Jun 22, by Alex Schulte

A Teachers’ Guide to Trauma-Informed Practice in UK Schools

Nowhere in the world should be safer than a school. Yet for all the work that teachers do to create...

Read More
Busben
13 Jun 22, by Scott Owen

Considering a Career in Recruitment? Join Our London Team

​Have you ever considered a career in recruitment? ​If so, we are looking for people to join our fast-growing London...

Read More
I Stock 1047532500 Min
09 Jun 22, by Alex Schulte

More Options Announced for Using your NTP Funding

​To encourage greater uptake of NTP funding during what’s left of the academic year, the Department for Education has offered...

Read More
5 Steps To Becoming A SEN Teaching Assistant
30 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

5 Steps to Becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant

​Teaching Assistants (TAs) are essential elements of any classroom. Any teacher will tell you how critical TAs are critical for...

Read More
This Teaching Assistant CV will help you land your next job
23 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

This Example Teaching Assistant CV Will Help You Land Your Next Job

Download example teaching assistant CV here​When it comes to job hunting, a great CV is your best friend. With just...

Read More
The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher
16 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher

​Effective Special Educational Needs teachers are a special type of person. You will be teaching and supporting some of society’s...

Read More
Microsoft Teams Image (28)
12 May 22, by Scott Owen

Protocol Education's Educator Festival

​Come to our Educator Festival! This term, Protocol Education is holding an Educator Festival, a series of events that will...

Read More
How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload
10 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload

​As every educator finds out in their own time, teaching can be exhausting. A teacher’s to-do list is rarely complete,...

Read More
I Stock 181086033 Min
04 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

What Is the Average Salary For A UK Teacher?

​Are you about to make a whole new move into the world of education? Or perhaps you’re currently working as...

Read More
I Stock 1297509194 Min
25 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Adapting Your School’s Catch Up Tuition Programme For The Summer Holidays

​The summer term is upon us, and with it comes the final stage of this academic year’s edition of the...

Read More
I Stock 1007214476 Min
20 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

4 Behaviour Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know

​Remember your first day as a teacher. Was it the curriculum material itself that seemed most daunting? Or was it...

Read More
Tutor Working With Middle School Student Picture Id1130407049 (1) Min
19 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

The NTP’s Funding Model is About to Change: Here’s Why That Matters For Your School

​The Education Secretary has announced a major overhaul of the funding structure for its flagship catch up tuition scheme, the...

Read More
I Stock 679417234 Min
12 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How To Gain Experience as a Teaching Assistant

​Do you love spending time helping children succeed? Do you feel an abiding passion for education and learning but don’t...

Read More
Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support
11 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support

​Protocol Education is proud to announce that we have been awarded Investors in People’s Silver ‘We invest in people’ award....

Read More
Summer wellbeing tips for teachers: 5 ways for healthy and happy holidays
04 Apr 22, by Ruth Bell

Easter Wellbeing Tips for Teachers: 6 Ways for Healthy and Happy Holidays

Just like everyone, teachers need to relax and recuperate. Whether we call it switching off, relaxing or resting, taking time...

Read More