A Day in the Life of a Primary School Teaching Assistant
National Teaching Assistant Day is on 16th September 2019.
National Teaching Assistants' Day was created by Teaching Personnel to recognise the valuable contribution TAs make to the education and support of school children across the UK.
Teaching Assistants are an incredibly valuable source of support in schools. 96% of headteachers believe that TAs add value to their school.
The DfE states there were 262,800 Teaching Assistants working in England in 2017, which is an increase of 43 thousand since 2011:
The numbers of Teaching Assistants in schools in England have increased consistently 2011-2017.
This means TAs accounted for an incredibly important 27.8% of the workforce in schools in 2017:
We passionately believe every Teaching Assistant can make an invaluable contribution to the classroom.
Having said that, the Teaching Assistant role – what they actually do – can be a bit of a mystery to parents and new teachers!
To help NQTs and those thinking of going into education roles, here's our guide to the typical roles and responsibilities of a Teaching Assistant during a typical day.
A typical day for a Teaching Assistant
Wherever a TA works, their primary purpose is the same, namely to support the teachers and pupils in a classroom to ensure the lesson runs as smoothly as possible.
But what does this actually look like?
The start of the day
First thing in the morning, the Teaching Assistant will often help to set up the resources needed for the day. With their teacher, they will also run through the tasks for the morning.
Generally, this very important part of the day takes place in less than five minutes. Teachers and TAs can talk fast!
When the children arrive, the TA's duties could include helping to hang up coats and settling the children before a lesson begins. Additionally, they may hear readers. Some might start working straight away with a specific child who is struggling, has behavioural problems or a Special Educational Needs Diagnosis.
The first lesson of the day
When the lessons begin, the Teaching Assistant may have a number of different responsibilities.
Some TAs provide 1:1 support for a child. Others are assigned to the class as a whole. Their jobs can include helping children who need more support, settling children who are being disruptive, or providing pastoral care.
During break times, Teaching Assistants may also help out in the playground. They are often trained first-aiders. TAs make sure that children are playing safely and responsibly. Perhaps most importantly, they also ensure children stay on the school premises!
Ready to step in and take the lead
A Teaching Assistant's responsibilities are countless; the support they provide teachers and learners is invaluable.
It is also possible that, should a teacher fall ill, a primary Teaching Assistant may be required to take over the lesson.
For this reason, TAs must always be aware of what stage pupils are at in their learning. They must also be prepared to confidently lead the class if necessary.
Let's celebrate our Teaching Assistants!
The role of Teaching Assistants is a seriously versatile one. It seems to get bigger every year, with more responsibilities added all the time.
There is no doubt in our minds that TAs help teachers be more effective educators. They provide an essential contribution to any school. They help children to be happy, productive and successful.
So why not join us this National Teaching Assistants Day to celebrate and give thanks to all the TAs out there for everything they do!
Here are some of the ways Twitter teachers thanked their Teaching Assistants last year:
So massive shout out to all of the TAs out there! You guys are the unsung hero’s of school! You make a huge difference to the lives of the children you are supporting as well as our classes! For that we cannot thank you enough! #NationalTADay #NationalTeachingAssistantDay #School
— chrisbaileyteacher (@chrisbaileytea1) 14 September 2018
— Mrs L. Prichard (@MarkhamHead) 14 September 2018
Spent the last 2 days making 2 chocolate cakes and 1 Biscoff cake for our wonderful TAs tomorrow in celebration of #NationalTADay .
It's a secret until tomorrow lunch! #cake #NationalTADay pic.twitter.com/8NM8I1HKi6
— Miss Amy (@GuidingTawny) 13 September 2018
— St. Aidans Primary (@staidansbburn) 13 September 2018
Let us know what you are doing to celebrate your Teaching Assistant in 2019. We'd love to share your messages here!