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SEN Teaching Assistant Interview: 7 Key Questions to Expect

Lucy Zetterlund
13 Nov 2023
5 min read
SEN Teaching Assistant Interview: 7 Key Questions to Expect

When it comes to special educational needs (SEN) Teaching Assistant roles, preparation is paramount. The interview stage is crucial as it gives you the opportunity to showcase your capabilities and demonstrate how you can make a positive impact. So, let's delve into the top 7 SEN Teaching Assistant interview questions that you might come across, along with some guidance on how to approach them.

Please note that this article is just a guide and should be used as such! The actual questions you encounter may vary.

Demonstrating Your Experience

Question 1: What special educational needs have you supported in the past?

This question is an opportunity for you to show your understanding of the SEN Teaching Assistant role and how you can contribute positively to the learning and development of students. Be specific about the needs you have supported.

Your response could highlight your knowledge of different classroom strategies, as well as your awareness of alternative communication methods and how they can be used to support non-verbal learners, but could also cover how you would respond, or have responded in the past, to specific situations. Eg. 'when I have worked with students with autism in the past, I've been sure to demonstrate my patience and empathy in order to make students feel at ease and supported'.

Personal care

Question 2: Are you comfortable with personal care?

Personal care is a non-negotiable for most SEN schools, but can also be required in mainstream schools when an SEN TA is needed.

You can watch our full guide on personal care in SEN here:

Managing Distress

Question 3: How would you assist a child displaying signs of distress?

Here, it's crucial to demonstrate your empathy and your understanding of different strategies to comfort and reassure a distressed child.

Handling Unexpected Behaviours

Question 4: What de-escalation methods could you employ to manage unexpected behaviours?

Your answer should reflect your knowledge of behaviour management strategies and your ability to apply them effectively in a classroom setting.

You can find a full guide on managing unexpected behaviours here:

Maintaining Focus in the Classroom

Question 5: How would you engage a child who is having trouble concentrating?

This question allows you to show your creativity and your understanding of different learning styles and techniques to engage students.

Looking Ahead

Question 6: Where do you envision yourself in 5 years' time?

This question is designed to gauge your commitment to the role and the profession. It also provides an insight into your career aspirations. To make your journey towards becoming an SEN Teaching Assistant smoother, make sure to check out our SEN TA Interview Tips and What Makes a Great Teaching Assistant articles.

Remember, preparation is key to a successful interview. Understand the role, know your strengths, and be ready to discuss how you can contribute to the school and the learners you support. Good luck!

Understanding Safeguarding

Question 7: If a student or a colleague raises a safeguarding concern to you, how would you handle the situation?

Safeguarding is a critical aspect of your role as an SEN Teaching Assistant. You're expected to understand the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance issued by the Department for Education and know how to apply it in real-life scenarios.

This question is designed to assess your judgement and understanding of confidentiality, but also your knowledge of the correct way to communicate safeguarding concerns. Showing that you respect confidentiality is vital, but it's equally important to recognise when information needs to be shared with the appropriate people to ensure a child's safety.

When a parent or colleague is involved, your response should emphasise your ability to act responsibly and professionally, prioritising the welfare of the child.

"Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be." – Rita Pierson

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