What is a SEN Teaching Assistant?

20/04/2022 | All

You may have heard the term SEN Teaching Assistant before but wondered what the term means. SEN TA’s play a pivotal role in our schools. Read on to find out more on what a SEN Teaching Assistant is…

What is a SEN Teaching Assistant?

SEN (Special Educational Needs) teaching assistants help the teachers in the classroom by providing support to children with learning difficulties. An SEN Teaching Assistant will not necessarily work in a SEN school – many mainstream schools have SEN TA’s to support pupils with additional needs in blended classrooms. Depending on the severity of the needs of each child, it may be expected that an SEN TA needs to work one-to-one basis with individual students, or with a small group of children in a classroom setting. Their work varies depending on what grade level (primary/secondary) and which subject they are working within.

What are the day-to-day duties of a SEN Teaching Assistant?

An SEN TA is usually expected to be in school for normal school hours Monday – Friday. However, there may be times when you will be expected to come into school early and finish later. No two working days will be the same and your day-to-day schedule will be extremely varied, with each child presenting different needs and requirements everyday – you will never have to worry about not having anything to do! 

The responsibilities of a SEN Teaching Assistant typically involve 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. 

What does it take to become a SEN Teaching Assistant?

Here are a few of the key traits associated with being a SEN TA:

  • Sensitivity and understanding 
  • Patience and the ability to to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Extremely flexible and open to change 
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • The ability to understand and adapt to different people’s reactions
  • Active listening skills 
  • Knowledge of teaching and a passion for education 
  • Inspiring and compassionate personality 

How to get experience as a SEN Teaching Assistant

Any experience working in an educational setting will be invaluable to you when you’re looking at getting a position as a SEN teaching assistant. This experience could range from anything from previous work as a teaching assistant in schools to caring for children with disabilities or learning difficulties. 

Many SEN TAs start off as regular TA’s, 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 prior experience in a school environment then it’s good to highlight the transferable skills you’ve got from other work that will help you 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 good for your CV, this could also lead to paid work.

Can I become a SEN Teaching Assistant as a recent graduate?

In simple terms – the answer is yes! It is possible to get a role as a SEN TA 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 SEN Teaching Assistant roles now, or contact us for more information!