TA teaching a pupil in the classroom

Primary Teaching Assistant (TA) Job Description

Primary Teaching Assistant’s (TA’s) work under the guidance of teaching staff, undertaking support programmes that enable access to learning for all pupils aged 5 to 7 years (Key Stage 1) and 7 to 11 years (Key Stage 2).

With a focus on encouraging pupils to actively participate in learning and classroom activities, Primary Teaching Assistants (TA’s) are responsible for providing learning support to individuals and groups while supporting teaching staff.

What does a Primary Teaching Assistant do?

A Primary Teaching Assistant (TA) role is an excellent opportunity to make a real difference in children’s education, drawing on your commitment to developing pupil learning ability and knowledge accessibility. Primary Teaching Assistants (TA’s) work in a variety of educational settings, including private, public, religious, academies, specialised, independent and free schools. 

Working closely with class teachers you will be helping pupils to expand their knowledge and play a positive role in school life. You will utilise your knowledge, communication skills and creativity to help pupils understand the information presented. 

Education underwent huge changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, where classroom teaching was replaced with remote, online lessons. When schools re-opened, Primary Teaching Assistants (TA’s) worked to find new ways to support pupils and teachers through the challenges of phased returns, new hygiene regimes, mask wearing and social distancing. 

Is a Primary Teaching Assistant job a good fit for you?

If you are just starting your education career or are already working as a Primary Teaching Assistant (TA), this is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience in a classroom setting. 

By adapting your teaching support skills to suit a variety of learning support needs and difficulties, you will gain extraordinary experience in utilising a wide range of methods, aids, and approaches to bring out the best in all pupils.

Having some knowledge of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) can be useful in a Primary Teaching Assistant (TA) role, as you will be supervising and supporting pupils both with and without special needs, ensuring their safety and ability to access learning activities.

To teach in a state school in England, you must have a degree, and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET). 

Previous in-school teaching experience is often desirable. If you can show experience in supporting children within the primary age ranges 5 to 11 years, perhaps with a history of voluntary classroom and excursion experience, you will find many schools are supportive of new Primary Teaching Assistants (TA’s) without in-school experience. 

Your duties as a Primary Teaching Assistant (TA) will include:

  • Supervise and provide learning support for pupils with or without special needs.
  • Assist with the development of individual education and behavioural plans setting challenging expectations for pupils to achieve learning goals.
  • Establish trusting relationships with pupils and interact with them according to individual needs and personalities.
  • Encourage pupils to interact with the class and engage in activities.
  • Provide feedback to pupils and teachers on pupil’s achievement, progress and any problems that arise.
  • Create and maintain an orderly and supportive environment, undertaking administrative tasks as needed.
  • Promote good pupil conduct encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour.
  • Support the use of technology in learning and develop pupils’ competence and independence in its use.
  • Prepare resources required for learning activities and assist pupils in their use.
  • Uphold policies and procedures relating to child protection and data protection.
  • Supervise pupils before school, after school and on school trips.

Are you a good fit for a Primary Teaching Assistant job?

To succeed in a job as a Primary Teaching Assistant you will need to draw upon your own personality, passion and knowledge.

You will need to have:

  • A good understanding of the national Key Stage (KS) curriculum and child development and learning.
  • The ability to demonstrate active listening skills and strong verbal communication skills, building positive relationships with pupils and understanding their needs.
  • The ability to provide varying levels of individual attention, reassurance and support with learning tasks as appropriate to pupils’ needs.
  • The ability to monitor a pupil’s response to learning activities and modify or adapt the activities to achieve the intended learning outcomes.
  • The ability to provide constructive feedback to pupils in a way that reinforces self-esteem, handling complex and sensitive issues with empathy and understanding.
  • An interest in continuing your personal and professional development, self-evaluating learning needs and actively seeking new teaching methods.
  • The ability to use a computer and the main office software packages competently such as Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

Qualifications, Licences and Certifications

The essential qualifications required to become a TA include:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and Mathematics.
  • Previous experience in supporting children of relevant age.
  • Fluent level of English, both spoken and written.

The following qualifications are commonly sought in Primary Teaching Assistants as they demonstrate that you can exercise the expected standard of professional conduct:

  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools.
  • Level 2 Award/Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. (Induction Training for Teaching Assistants & Support Staff).
  • Level 3 Award/Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Level 4 Higher Level Teaching Assistant Certificate.

For more information about these qualifications, click here.

You will also need to pass an enhanced background check, known as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

In addition to the essential qualifications, employers will be looking for those who are empathetic, compassionate, supportive and understanding of the pupils’ needs. You will need to be well-presented, professional, trustworthy and ethical. A positive and motivational candidate who is flexible and resourceful will be well received.

Where can a Primary Teaching Assistant job take you? 

Starting out in a Primary Teaching Assistant position is a great option if you are looking to become a teacher due to the range of experience you will gain. 

Due to its flexibility and rewarding nature, you could find that you want to remain a TA, in which case, to future-proof and build a rewarding career deeply rooted in professional prowess you could progress your specialist knowledge of SEND/ALN.

Where next?  

To help with the next steps in your teacher training, click here for our advice.   

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