Are you passionate about working with children with special educational needs? Do you enjoy making a difference in the lives of young people? If so, becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant might be the perfect career for you! SEN Teaching Assistants work alongside teachers to support students with special educational needs, helping them to achieve their full potential. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to become a SEN Teaching Assistant in the UK.
A SEN (Special Educational Needs) Teaching Assistant is a professional who works in schools to support students with special educational needs. They work alongside teachers to provide additional assistance to students who require extra support to keep up with their peers.
The role of a SEN Teaching Assistant can involve providing one-on-one support, assisting with reading and writing, helping with behavioural management, ensuring students have access to necessary resources, and adapting teaching methods to meet the individual needs of each student. SEN Teaching Assistants play a crucial role in enabling students with special educational needs to participate fully in the classroom and achieve their full potential.
Becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant is a rewarding career choice for those who have a passion for working with children with special educational needs. If you fall into this category, below are steps you can follow to become a SEN Teaching Assistant:
To start your journey towards becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant, you'll need to equip yourself with the right qualifications. While there are no set qualifications required, it is recommended that you have a Level 2 or Level 3 Teaching Assistant qualification. These courses will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively with children with special educational needs. Additionally, some schools may require candidates to have GCSEs in English and Maths.
Qualifications aren't the only thing that matters when it comes to becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant. Gaining relevant experience is also essential. Volunteering in schools or working as a classroom assistant can provide valuable experience in working with children with special educational needs. This experience will help you to develop the necessary skills to work effectively as a SEN Teaching Assistant. You can also consider shadowing an experienced SEN Teaching Assistant to gain insights into the role.
Experience in performance art like drama or music (as well as experience in psychology and drama/music therapy) also lend themselves nicely to working as an SEN TA!
Once you've gained the necessary qualifications and experience, it's time to start applying for jobs as a SEN Teaching Assistant. There are many websites and job boards that advertise Teaching Assistant vacancies, and you can also approach schools directly to enquire about vacancies.
When applying for jobs, be sure to highlight your relevant qualifications and experience, as well as any additional skills you may have, such as proficiency in British Sign Language or experience working with students with specific disabilities.
Once you've secured a job as a SEN Teaching Assistant, the learning doesn't stop there. It's essential to continue your professional development by attending training courses, workshops, and conferences. You can find Zen's free, 3-part SEN training here!
Continuous professional development will help you to stay up-to-date with the latest practices and techniques in working with children with special educational needs. It can also help you to progress in your career and take on more responsibility, such as becoming a lead SEN Teaching Assistant.
Working with children with special educational needs can be challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. It's essential to be patient and adaptable in your approach, recognising that every student requires a different level of support.
You must be able to adjust your teaching methods to meet the individual needs of each student and be flexible enough to change strategies if necessary. Being patient and adaptable will help you to create a positive and supportive learning environment for your students.
Building positive relationships with your students is crucial to their success. As a SEN Teaching Assistant, you will be working closely with students who require additional support, and building trust and rapport with them is essential. You can do this by being kind, patient, and understanding.
Celebrating their successes, no matter how small, can also help to build their confidence and self-esteem. Building positive relationships will make a significant difference in your students' lives and help them to achieve their full potential.
What kind of disabilities or conditions will I be working with as a SEN Teaching Assistant? As a SEN Teaching Assistant, you may work with students who have a range of disabilities or conditions, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, physical disabilities, and mental health conditions. Each student will have unique learning needs, and it will be your responsibility to provide tailored support to help them achieve their full potential.
Is it possible to progress in my career as a SEN Teaching Assistant? Yes, it is possible to progress in your career as a SEN Teaching Assistant. With experience and additional qualifications, you can progress to become a lead SEN Teaching Assistant, an inclusion coordinator or a specialist teacher. There are also opportunities to move into other roles, such as educational psychologist or special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). What qualities do I need to become a SEN Teaching Assistant?
To become a SEN Teaching Assistant, you should have empathy, patience, and strong communication skills. You also need to be adaptable, creative, and have a willingness to learn. A positive attitude and a passion for working with children with special educational needs are also essential.
How much do SEN Teaching Assistants in the UK get paid? The pay for support staff, including SEN TAs, varies depending on the school, location, and experience.