What is a SEN teaching assistant?
SEN (Special Educational Needs) teaching assistants help the teachers in the classroom by providing support to children with learning difficulties. A SEN teaching assistant will not necessarily work in a SEN school – many mainstream schools have SEN teaching assistants to support their pupils with additional needs. Depending on the severity of the needs of each child, it may be expected that a SEN teaching assistant needs to work one-to-one with individual pupils, or with a small group of children in a classroom setting.
On a day-to-day basis, the job is extremely varied. The SEN teaching assistant will be heavily influenced by the class teacher and the role will be determined on the needs of the children present in the class. Overall, this role encourages children to communicate and understand instructions, while being comforted by the fact they are not alone in the class.
How long is a working day?
A SEN teaching assistant is expected to be in school for normal school hours, Monday to Friday. However, there may be times when you will be expected to come into school early and finish later. No two working days will be the same and your day-to-day schedule will be extremely varied, with each child presenting different needs and requirements everyday – you will never have to worry about not having anything to do; there will always be something!
What qualifications will I need?
To become a qualified SEN teaching assistant, you will need to complete a couple of written assessments – but you will be fully supported throughout the whole process.
You can find out more about what kinds of qualifications you may need here. Along with this, you may also want to consider undertaking the NVQ Level 2 and 3, to further your understanding – and some schools will insist that you have this.
Am I right for the role?
When becoming a SEN teaching assistant, you will need to be able to demonstrate your resilience, compassion, empathy and, most of all, dedication to the children and other members of staff at the school. Becoming a SEN teaching assistant is an extremely selfless decision – and you need to make sure it is the right one for you, your existing commitments, and your own physical and mental wellbeing.
We all know that no two children are the same, which is why there is no specific criteria for the TAs who will be working with them. You will be expected to bring an element of uniqueness to the role, while also remaining professional and committed at all times.
Each child deserves a chance to reach their full potential – you could be the one to help them along the way. No child deserves to be left behind, and you could be the reason they achieve those positive outcomes.
For more information regarding becoming a SEN teaching assistant, you can visit the National Careers Service page for special educational needs teaching assistant. Here you can get more information on salary, career progression and current opportunities in your area.
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