Do you want to become a SEN teaching assistant? We’ll help you learn about the skills and qualifications that will help you get the job, how to apply for teaching assistant jobs and how much you’ll earn working as a SEN teaching assistant.
A special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistant supports pupils with physical, behavioural or learning difficulties with the supervision of the classroom teachers. This can be supporting a small group of pupils or one-to-one, in a special SEN school or mainstream class.
The responsibilities of an SEN teaching assistant typically involves helping the pupils understand instructions and school work using techniques that work for them, encouraging pupils confidence and independence and providing feedback and assistance to teachers. You may also be expected to accompany the pupil in their spare time or with social activities.
SEN teaching assistants will get the same training as teachers and teaching assistants, however patience, creativity and flexibility are vital in this role as the needs of each child will differ day-to-day and from one another.
Being a SEN teaching assistant can be challenging, however it is extremely rewarding for anyone who wants to help disadvantaged children thrive in their education. If this sounds like the career for you, then read on for our tips on becoming a SEN teaching assistant.
The national average SEN teaching assistant salary is £17,000. The starting salary for a SEN teaching assistant is £12,500 and you can earn up to £23,000 if you are highly experienced however, your wage could vary depending on the organisation and location.
You can improve your chances of getting a SEN teaching assistant job by ensuring you have all of the necessary skills and qualifications. The requirements the school has for their potential employees can vary from job to job, but there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of standing out to the employer.
When applying for a SEN teaching assistant job, there are some qualifications that are required, and some that are desirable. Many schools will need you to have GCSE grade 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent in Maths and English, however individual schools will have their own requirements . Previous qualifications in similar settings, such as nursery work, childcare or youth work can help you stand out.
You can do a college qualification such as:
You may get the opportunity to do a placement working with children with SEN whilst you are studying.
You can also get this job through an apprenticeship, such as an intermediate early years practitioner, advanced early years educator and advanced teaching assistant
Having work experience in a classroom or similar field isn’t necessary for all schools, but it can strengthen your application and help you determine if the role is for you. You can gain some experience through volunteering in a local school, by observing lessons and talking to teachers. This can sometimes lead to paid work. General experience with children with disabilities or learning difficulties would also be useful for this role.
If you don’t have any experience, it is always good to highlight any transferable skills you have gained in previous employment that can help you transition into the SEN Teaching Assistant role.
Update your CV and include details of your new qualifications, as well s the experience you have that shows you’re well suited for the SEN teaching assistant role.
We have written tips on how to improve your CV and Cover Letter for a Teaching Assistant job.
When writing your cover letter/personal statement for a SEN teaching assistant job, use the job description to prioritise the qualifications and experience you highlight. Work through the job description as you write the cover letter matching up your skills and experience with the ones they’re looking for.
Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. Being well prepared for the interview will help you be more calm and confident.