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Working in a school

You do not need to be a qualified teacher to work in a school environment as there are opportunities for teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants, learning support assistants and special needs assistants in many of the schools in Southampton.

What do I do next?

The Children and Young People's Information Service holds details of vacancies for teaching assistants in Southampton. You can search for vacancies in this directory. It is also worth checking the vacancy pages in newspapers such as the Daily Echo and the Hampshire Jobs website.

What qualifications do I need?

It would be advantageous to hold an Integrated Qualifications Framework (IQF) recognised full and relevant Level 2 or Level 3 qualification although there are opportunities to start without these. It is also recommended that you hold, as a minimum, level 2 Certificates in Literacy and Numeracy and ideally GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C or above.

Is there financial help available to gain qualifications?

This will depend on the school you are working in and the age group you are working with. If you are working with children aged 5 and above you may be supported by your school.

Who will I work with?

Assistants should enjoy working as part of team and with children from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. If you have an ability to speak more than one language (English), you may find you have more employment opportunities than those who don't have another language.

Can I work part time?

Many Southampton teaching assistants work part time. However, even among full time assistants, a majority work less than 7 hours a day. It is usual for teaching assistants to work term-time only and school hours only, and often on a renewable contractual basis.

Support roles in schools

Teaching assistant/Learning support assistant

These roles provide support in the classroom for children and the teacher. You may be working with a child individually on a specific task or with a small group of children on a variety of tasks. These tasks range from hearing a child read, to supervising an art and craft activity, to displaying children's work, to supporting children with information technology.

Higher-level Teaching Assistant

Individuals who have attained higher level teaching assistant recognition will contribute more directly to the planning and learning that children are involved in and may on occasions take a direct lead in the classroom.

For more information on Higher Level Teaching Assistants visit the Department of Education website.

Special Needs Assistant

This is the title of the role for individuals who work with children with disabilities either in a mainstream classroom or in a special school. You would be expected to attend to the child’s physical, personal and emotional needs under the guidance of the classroom teacher. You may find that you also work under the guidance of a specialist team such as physio and/or occupational therapists, sensory impairment teachers and educational psychologists.
If you work with young adults you may be required to help them to apply for a job or community experiences in preparation for working.

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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this directory, we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors that have occurred. It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. We offer an impartial service and we cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

Further information