Training to be a Special Needs Teaching Assistant

by Angela | Published on June 30, 2014

If you love working with children and want to help them to learn and develop then this could be the ideal career choice for you. Special needs teaching assistants help children who may have a range of learning, behavioural or physical difficulties.

special needs teaching assistant

The qualifications you need all depends on local education authorities and also schools. If you are looking for paid work then you will need to have previous experience in working with children. To get this experience you could try volunteering at a local school.

Special needs teaching assistants must be patient and must be able to help children with personal needs.

What do special needs teaching assistants do?

The work you’ll be asked to do really all depends on the age of the children you are helping, but you will usually have to help children with their schoolwork with the teacher supervising you, you will help to prepare any learning materials, help encourage the children to be independent and confident. They also help children understand any instructions and encourage them to communicate. They also give help and information to the teachers and must support children during any social outings and activities. Children will also need your help during therapy sessions. You must also be able to recognise when their sad and then comfort them and also look after the children’s physical requirements. You will also have to keep records.

Special needs teaching assistants also work in special schools for children with complex or severe educational needs. You may be required to work with individual pupils or a group of pupils in a mainstream class.

Special needs teaching assistants also go by the names, special needs classroom assistant, learning support assistant, support worker and also special needs assistants.
What hours do special needs teaching assistants work?

They will usually work during school hours, Monday to Friday, during term times. Some do work on a part time basis and you may have to go on training sessions and also meetings outside of school hours. There are some schools that are residential and so you may be required to work a mixture of shifts maybe covering seven days a week.

How much do special needs assistants earn?

If you’re working full time then you could earn from £12,000 to maybe over £17,000 a year.

Your wages will be set by each local educational authority or the school itself. Part timers or those paid for term time only will earn a portion of the full time rates this is also known as pro rata.

What qualifications do I need to become a special needs teaching assistant?

Local authorities and individual schools will decide on the qualifications you will need and if any previous experience will be needed. You will usually need previous experience before you can begin working with children with special needs. A useful way to gain this experience is to volunteer at a local school for a few hours a week. For paid work qualifications in childcare, play work or nursery nursing will probably be required.

You can gain these qualifications through your local college. These qualifications include level 2 Award in support work in schools, level 2 Certificate for the children and young people’s workforce and also level 3 Award in supporting teaching and learning in schools.

Qualifications in numeracy and literacy at GCSE levels are also required and if you are working with children with hearing impairment you may need a sign language qualification at stage 1 or above. You will also be checked via the disclosure and barring service, everyone wanting to work with children has these checks.

So there you have it, I really hope I’ve covered all the information you were looking for about special needs teaching assistants. As you can see it really is a career with bundles of job satisfaction, perfect for anyone who wants to give those with special needs the extra care and help they need through their young lives. Well let me now wish you the very best of luck with your new chosen career.