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A Guide to Becoming a Teaching Assistant

About 11 months ago By Michelle Tilley

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Teaching assistants play a crucial role in education, providing support and assistance to both teachers and students. If you have a passion for education and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young learners, becoming a teaching assistant can be a rewarding career choice. In this blog, we will guide you through the steps to become a teaching assistant in the UK, highlighting the necessary qualifications, skills, and potential career paths.

1. Understand the Role of a Teaching Assistant:

Before embarking on your journey to become a teaching assistant, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the responsibilities and expectations of the role. Teaching assistants provide support to teachers in various capacities, such as helping with classroom management, assisting students with their learning, and providing one-on-one support to those who require additional help. They work closely with teachers, students, and parents, creating a positive and inclusive learning environment.

2. Gain Relevant Qualifications:

While formal qualifications are not always mandatory for entry-level teaching assistant positions, they significantly enhance your chances of securing a role and advancing in your career. Some schools may require specific qualifications such as:

a. Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools: This qualification provides a solid foundation for teaching assistant roles, covering topics like child development, safeguarding, and supporting learning activities.

b. CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools: This diploma focuses on developing specialised skills to support students with special educational needs (SEN) and covers areas such as supporting positive behaviour and promoting equality.

c. Foundation Degree in Supporting Teaching and Learning: This higher-level qualification provides a comprehensive understanding of educational theories and practical skills required for teaching assistant positions.

3. Gain Relevant Experience:

While studying for qualifications, gaining practical experience is equally important. Seek opportunities to volunteer or work as a teaching assistant in schools, nurseries, or educational settings. This experience will provide you with first-hand knowledge of the role, allow you to develop valuable skills, and demonstrate your commitment to a career in education.

4. Enhance Key Skills:

Teaching assistants require a range of skills to effectively support teachers and students. Some essential skills include:

a. Communication: Excellent communication skills are essential for interacting with teachers, students, and parents. You should be able to listen attentively, express ideas clearly, and adapt your communication style to different audiences.

b. Patience and Empathy: Working with students of varying abilities and backgrounds requires patience and empathy. Understanding and supporting their individual needs is vital to their educational development.

c. Organisational Skills: Teaching assistants often assist with administrative tasks, manage resources, and help plan lessons. Strong organisational skills ensure smooth classroom operations.

d. Flexibility and Adaptability: Educational settings can be dynamic and fast-paced. Being adaptable to changing situations and willing to take on different tasks is key to being an effective teaching assistant.

5. Job Application and Continued Professional Development:

Once you have the necessary qualifications and experience, it's time to start applying for teaching assistant positions. Update your curriculum vitae (CV) to highlight your relevant skills and experience. Tailor your application to each position, emphasising how you meet the specific requirements outlined in the job description.

Additionally, consider pursuing continued professional development opportunities. Attend relevant workshops, training sessions, or conferences to enhance your knowledge and stay updated with educational trends and practices. Protocol Education provides free webinars throughout the year, take a look at what is coming up. Continuous learning will help you progress in your career and open possibilities for promotion or specialisation in areas such as SEN support or English as a Second Language (ESL) education.


Becoming a teaching assistant can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. By acquiring the necessary qualifications, gaining relevant experience, and developing key skills, you can embark on a successful journey in the field of education. Teaching assistants play a vital role in supporting teachers and fostering a positive learning environment for students.

Remember, every step you take towards becoming a teaching assistant, whether it's obtaining qualifications, gaining experience, or honing your skills, brings you closer to achieving your goals. Embrace the opportunities for growth and development, and never underestimate the impact you can make on the lives of students.

So, if you have a passion for education, a desire to make a difference, and a love for working with children, take the first step on your path to becoming a teaching assistant. Start your journey today, and embark on a fulfilling career dedicated to shaping the minds of future generations.

 You can view our teaching assistant vacancies here.