Many people are familiar with the term Learning Support Assistant but lack understanding of the true meaning of the term and their role in a school. Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) are the backbone of many schools – read on to find out more on!
What is a Learning Support Assistant?
The role of a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) is to provide extra support to children and young people in the classroom who require that little extra help. Whether these students have SEN, behavioural difficulties or specific individual needs – an LSA is there to make their classroom experience the most successful, inspiring and accessible it can possibly be. As an LSA you could be working one-on-one or in a small group, supporting children with their education, behavioural and social development, helping children who find it difficult to learn because they have dyslexia, a disability, a health issue, or those who don’t speak English as a first language.
What are the day-to-day duties of a Learning Support Assistant?
It goes without saying that in the role of a Learning Support Assistant, no two days are ever the same! The role is extremely dynamic, but some of the routine duties of a Learning Support Assistant typically include:
- Motivating your students to achieve beyond their potential
- Supporting and encouraging those students that need a little extra help in the classroom
- Encouraging children to communicate effectively
- Help children to understand instructions
- Ensuring students feel comfortable and confident in their own abilities
- Provide a personalised and tailored approach to the learning of individual students
- Supporting teachers in controlling classroom behaviour
- Assisting teachers to plan learning activities, prepare specific learning materials and carry out lesson plans
- Follow individual child’s care plans
What does it take to become a Learning Support Assistant?
To be a good fit for a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) role, you will need to be positive, calm, motivational, creative and innovative. You must be able to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and ethical, that you have a supportive nature, as well as being assertive, confident and resourceful.
To succeed in a job as an LSA you need to be proactive, energetic and committed to engaging students in wanting to learn, inspiring them to be confident and independent. You also need to be patient and sensitive and able to comfort children when they’re upset.
Ideally, as a current or aspiring LSA you will have:
- Experience in supporting pupils in a classroom environment, with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN)
- Knowledge of the national Key Stage Curriculum
- A sound understanding of how children develop socially and mentally
- The ability to demonstrate active listening skills and have strong verbal communication skills
- A dedication to establishing 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 each pupil’s individual needs
- A willingness to adapt to a wide range of duties with changing circumstances
- A strong desire to inspire and a passion for supporting and nurturing pupils
How to get experience as a Learning Support Assistant
Any experience working in an educational setting will be invaluable to you when you’re looking at getting a position as a Learning Support Assistant. This experience could range from anything from previous work as a TA in schools to caring for children with learning difficulties.
Many LSAs start off as regular TAs, so if you’re already in a position as a Teaching Assistant then you’re in an excellent place to get started. If you don’t have any previous experience in a school environment then it’s good to highlight the transferable skills you may have from other work experience that will help you to transition into the position.
If you need some experience in schools then it’s always good to volunteer at a local school. As well as being great for your CV, this could lead to paid work opportunities.
Can I become a Learning Support Assistant as a recent graduate?
In simple terms – the answer is yes! It is possible to get a role as a LSA as a graduate. At i-teachers, we specialise in placing talented graduates in classroom support roles as part of our Step into Teaching programme.
i-teachers’ Step into Teaching programme
At i-teachers, we aim to support you and allow you to explore teaching roles with our ‘Step into Teaching’ programme to support all graduate roles in education. Our experienced education consultants will place you in a paid teaching assistant position that is perfectly suited to your skill set, in a school that suits your personality. We believe that practical experience is invaluable and learning from teaching experts is key. On your ‘step into teaching’ programme you will get to experience the life of a teacher or teaching assistant, and truly impact the lives of pupils, whilst in a fully supportive environment. It is fantastic work experience both for your own personal development as well as for your CV, and you can earn whilst you learn!
Take a look at some of our current Learning Support Assistant roles now, or contact us for more information!