Working as a learning support assistant is often a very fulfilling career, but it can be stressful and frustrating as you must sometimes deal with parents and red tape that doesn’t seem focused on the best interests of the child.
Learning support assistants are primarily classroom based, although their day to day work may include some administrative tasks, especially during certain times of the school year when end of term reports are due. The job is all through term-time, working the same hours as qualified teachers, usually starting at 08.00 or 08.30 and finishing around 15.30 or 16.00, depending on whether or not there are additional meetings, training courses or projects to be completed.
SalaryThere are usually pay scales denoted by your local authority, if you work in a state-run school, or determined by the school or governors if you work at a private school. Learning support assistants with no relevant experience can expect to start on a salary around the minimum wage, although this will increase each year, with larger pay awards gradually leading up from the lowest scale or grade to the next scale or grade every two or three years. Unlike the private sector, this pay increase is not largely performance based, although some reviews may include such information.
Required QualificationsYou do not need any specific qualifications to begin work as a learning support assistant and it is the ‘entry level’ position for working alongside teachers in schools. Most learning support assistants do have GCSEs and A Levels, with a good standard of English and Maths. However, many learning support assistants have taken on courses of additional study after starting employment, sometimes with a view to becoming a qualified teacher but more often to help them move more quickly up the pay scale as they take on more specific roles.
Over and above the basic requirements of literacy and numeracy, the character of the learning support assistant is most important. As a role that requires the ability to gain the trust and confidence of children and young people that have often experienced some difficulty in their school life, whether that is learning difficulties such as dyslexia, or social difficulties that affect their development, a learning support assistant must have the right personality.
The Right CharacterThe type of personality that makes a good learning support assistant is someone that is supportive, non-judgemental, patient, easy to talk to, positive and flexible. They must be able to speak to the pupils in their care in a manner which encourages and supports them. Much of the day to day classroom work is done on a one-to-one basis with a particular child that needs help, perhaps just in one particular subject or across the curriculum, so the learning support assistant, often shortened to LSA, must be able to build trusting relationships.
Where Jobs Are AdvertisedMost learning support assistant jobs are advertised on the local authority websites for each region, with most London boroughs having both their own sites and a general site for Greater London. If you are keen to work in a particular area or at a certain school, this is the best place to start. Private schools tend to advertise on their own websites or in local newspapers. It is also worth baring in mind that these vacancies are not always advertised, so if you feel you have what it takes, a speculative application to the Head teacher may be welcomed.
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..Volunteer in your local primary doesn't have to be full days a couple of hours here and there helping with reading then once you've been thee a while ask if they need any help in the classrooms most schools will bite your hand off, once you've had a dbs check done you're away, I started this way I had a job as well elsewhere but I stuck at the volunteering and out of the blue was offered a position as a learning support assistant doing one to one!!
Nellsbells - 4-Nov-15 @ 7:30 PM
Yan - Your Question:
Hello there, Could anybody help please?I would love to work with toddlers/infants in a school, preferable in Bournemouth or in the Christchurch or Poole area. Any places that do not require certain qualifications, just go for an interview and explain about my previous work experience?I have been abroad and worked in a private bilingual school (Spanish-English), helping the students and teachers with the English and doing activities. (Primary school and Kindergarten). Role: English teacher assistant checking the students work, doing breaktime and after school duty looking after the toddlers. I enjoy very much art & music and doing music therapy.Thank you very much for your help
Our Response:You would have to apply directly to the schools for consideration, or conduct a search on job websites. Good luck.