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What is the best teaching assistant qualification to aim for?

(32 Posts)
Alima Mon 01-Aug-16 17:49:37

DD2 would like to become a teaching assistant so she can spend more time with her son (school terms) as he starts school in September. Does anyone know of a particular home- studied course which primary schools recognise as the one to have?

DaphneBroon Mon 01-Aug-16 17:53:36

I am afraid I don't but I would just beware. So many TA jobs have been axed and even qualified teachers who are looking for something less stressful are finding it hard to get a job. Obviously it varies depending on region. Pay rates are low, so nobody is in it for the money, but the satisfaction of making a real difference.
Best of luck to her!

Alima Mon 01-Aug-16 17:57:03

Thanks DaphneBroon, valid points which need taking into consideration.

gettingonabit Mon 01-Aug-16 18:18:06

I'd be careful about courses being offered. Some may be useless. Check with the General Teaching Council about what qualifications.

Has the school offered her a placement?

Lillie Mon 01-Aug-16 20:40:50

If she wants to work with young children she needs an EYFS recognised qualification Level 3. With this she can work in schools and nurseries. I am not sure there are any home-studied courses because it is a practical course. She can become a classroom TA without any formal training but she would probably need to have experience to get as far as interview.

NotTooOld Mon 01-Aug-16 22:30:41

IMHO TAs are exploited because they are paid peanuts and often expected to undertake tasks that should be done by a qualified teacher. Unfair to TAs and to teachers, not to mention the school children. I should encourage your daughter to train as a teacher if she wants to work in a school.

durhamjen Mon 01-Aug-16 22:44:13

I do not know of any teaching assistants applying now who do not have a degree and lots of experience in schools.

MiniMouse Mon 01-Aug-16 23:50:33

Alima Depending on what qualifications your DD already has, she may be interested in a distance learning course with the Dyslexia Association. I did this a few years ago - very hard work, but worth it! There's a certain number of hours that you have to work with a pupil (at home or in a school). It took two years to qualify.

grannyactivist Tue 02-Aug-16 00:24:19

I was a school governor in a Primary School and we regularly received hundreds of applications for TA posts. I agree with dj regarding applicants with degrees and experience. I found myself interviewing applicants for TA jobs who invariably had a degree and many of those applying for TA jobs are qualified teachers who have had enough of the paperwork; one applicant even had QT status and an MA in Early Years Education (she got the job and is still doing it 6 years later). There are a variety of TA qualifications now, including Foundation Degrees and Certificates in supporting Teaching and Learning, but all have a practical element and are not able to be done without classroom interaction. Like many other graduates my daughter in law worked as a TA for two years after getting her degree and before starting teacher training.
My advice would be to suggest your daughter volunteers in a school in order to get some relevant experience, but I realise that might not be practical if she needs paid work.

Humbertbear Tue 02-Aug-16 08:54:40

Just to say that not all schools exploit TAs. My son was given a Graduate TA post and the following year was supported through his training as a teacher via Schools Direct. The school have given him wonderful support and he is now a successful and happy teacher of year 3 in the same school. When he was timetabled to teach classes as a TA he negotiated to be paid as an unqualified teacher. As a former teacher and Chair of Governors I may have strong views on this but it is now quite common. Who is teaching your GC?

NotTooOld Tue 02-Aug-16 09:56:53

'Who is teaching your GC?' All my points exactly, Humbertbear. Hear, hear!

gettingonabit Tue 02-Aug-16 10:03:19

Hmmm.....OP does your daughter actually want to be a TA, though? Or does she just want to spend time with her son? hmm

Ana Tue 02-Aug-16 10:19:01

That's what I was thinking, gettingonabit. If she just wants to spend time with her son at school (why?) surely she'd be better off asking his teachers whether they need any volunteers?

Minty Tue 02-Aug-16 10:26:47

HLTA. Higher Level Teaching Assistant.

Jalima Tue 02-Aug-16 10:30:39

gettingonabit I assumed from the OP that Alimas DD wanted to have a job working in term time only so that she has the school holidays free to spend with her son.
I may be wrong, but I wouldn't have thought she actually wants a job in the school which her DS attends.

What about a job as a school secretary, finance officer etc? They get most of the holidays off too and jobs in smaller primary schools can be very varied and interesting, although not that well paid - and the jobs are like gold dust!

annsixty Tue 02-Aug-16 10:49:11

Why oh why don't people read posts properly ?

gettingonabit Tue 02-Aug-16 10:51:48

jalima yes, that makes sense now. I misread or misinterpreted the first post.

However, I think the OPs dd is being somewhat optimistic about finding work that fits neatly around her son speaks from bitter experience.

HildaW Tue 02-Aug-16 10:54:01

I do not recommend helping in a class in either a paid or voluntary capacity to simply spend time with a child.
For starters ones own child will not want to be in the same class - even when you help out at Pre-school you will find your child will eventually prefer to be as far away from you as possible. Also its important children learn to have their own lives in school - its all part of growing up and finding who you are and what you are capable off.
On the other hand becoming involved in your child's education by being a part of their school as a whole is hugely beneficial. Volunteer to help in another class, gain some experience or become part of the PTA (some areas have slightly different organisations nowadays) or as a Parent Governor. There may be lunch time assistant jobs going which are a good way to 'dip one's toe' in the school environment.
Becoming a classroom assistant or whatever they are called nowadays is a hugely rewarding job - but you need to do it for the right reasons.

gettingonabit Tue 02-Aug-16 10:54:57

annsixty I've read the post again, and it STILL looks to me as though the dd wants to actually be in the classroom while the son is in the same classroom. smile.

Ana Tue 02-Aug-16 10:55:34

Well, I'm still not sure what the OP's daughter actually wants - perhaps Alima could come back and confirm.

annsixty Tue 02-Aug-16 11:37:09

Well on reading again perhaps she did mean that, if so I think she is misguided.

Alima Tue 02-Aug-16 11:41:15

Thank you for your responses. DD is currently working full time and is a single parent. She is looking into finding something which gives her term time work with the school holidays off. Becoming a TA appears to be a mine field, with some experience required before even thinking of a vocational course. Jalima was spot-on when interpreting my OP as were others who answered my question. ( We currently have DGS for most of the holidays. This will change, DH is not well, we do not know how long we will be able to continue to do this. Clutching at straws springs to mind).

gettingonabit Tue 02-Aug-16 11:59:40

It's a tough one. Speaking from bitter experience, if I were in your daughter's shoes I'd cling on to that full time job. Even if she's in the fortunate position of being able to find a position with school hours, she'll still probably need help with getting the child to and from school. There's rarely a neat solution.

If she gives up her job there's no guarantee she'll get back in once she's ready. Sadly it doesn't seem to work like that.

She could do casual work to make ends meet? I worked Saturdays and some evenings for a while; then as a cleaner during school hours. It wasn't a living though.

Most people I know had to cobble something together with friends, gps, reduced hours if they were lucky. The only ones who seemed to be able to get the balance right were those who had very senior professional jobs and guaranteed free childcare. .

Jalima Tue 02-Aug-16 12:46:34

If your DD is a single parent then her finances may be tight if she did manage to find a job as a TA or school secretary - I think they are paid pro-rata the hours they work, so it is spread over the whole year.
Many schools, local churches etc run holiday clubs and if you could still provide some help she may be better staying where she is at least for the time being to see how you all cope, especially with your DH's illness too.
You will have some school holidays to sort out but it is a while until next year's long summer holidays.

I think your OP was fairly clear, well I understood what you meant - must be on the same wavelength - something to do with our names? grin

Alima Tue 02-Aug-16 13:01:23

Thanks Jalima. Either that or you are left handed too! I often find I approach/word things differently to the majority! Yes, it would seem DD is better off as she is and we will cross the bridge when we get to it.