How to become an SEN teaching assistant

Are you passionate about help children with special education needs (SEN) reach their full potential? Do you want to make a real difference in the lives of these students and their families?

If so, becoming an SEN teaching assistant might be the perfect career for you.

What is an SEN teaching assistant?

An SEN teaching assistant, or SEN TA, is a trained professional who works with students who have special educational needs.

These students may have learning difficulties, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, or mental health conditions.

As an SEN TA, you’ll support these students in their academic, social, and emotional development, working alongside teachers and other professionals to create a safe and supportive learning environment.

How to become an SEN teaching assistant?

To become an SEN teaching assistant, you don’t necessarily need a degree or formal qualifications. However, you will need to have some relevant experience or training.

Here are the steps you can take to become an SEN TA.

Gain relevant experience

If you’re new to working with children with SEN, it’s a good idea to gain some experience in a voluntary or paid capacity.

This might involve working in a school or educational setting, volunteering for a local charity or community organisation, or supporting a family member or friend with SEN.

This will give you a better understanding of the challenges faced by these students and the skills needed to support them.

Undertake SEN teaching assistant training

While you don’t need a formal qualification to become an SEN training assistant, many employers will look for evidence of relevant training.

This might include courses such as the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in Supporting Individuals with Learning Abilities or the Special Education Needs SEN Level 3. These courses will help you develop your knowledge and skills in supporting students with SEN and provide you with a recognised qualification.

Apply for SEN teaching assistant jobs

Once you have gained some relevant experience, training, and qualifications, you can start applying for SEN teaching assistant jobs.

These might be advertised on school or local authority websites, or on job boards such as Indeed or Reed.

Make sure you read the job description carefully and tailor your application to the specific requirements of the role.

Prepare yourself for your SEN teaching assistant interview

If you are invited for an interview, it’s important to prepare thoroughly. Research the school or setting you are applying to and think about how your skills and experience match the requirements of the role.

You may be asked questions about safeguarding, behaviour management and supporting students with specific needs, so make sure you have some examples of your experience ready to share.

What makes a good SEN teaching assistant?

To be a successful SEN teaching assistant, you will need a range of skills and qualities. These might include:

  • Patience and empathy
  • Good communication skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • A willingness to learn and develop
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • A commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people

SEN teaching assistant salary and SEN allowance

SEN teaching assistant salaries can vary depending on experience, qualifications, and location. According to data from the National Careers Service, the average salary for an SEN teaching assistant in the UK is around £16,000 to £22,000 per year.

However, some roles pay more, particularly if you have additional responsibilities such as managing behaviour or leading small group sessions.

In addition to your basic salary, you may also be eligible for an SEN allowance. This is a payment made to support staff who work with students with SEN and is designed to help cover the additional costs and time involved in supporting these students.

The SEN allowance is usually paid as a fixed amount per year and can range from £2,270 to £4,479 depending on the level of responsibility and the number of students you are working with.

SEN teaching assistant job description

As an SEN teaching assistant, your job description will vary depending on the school or educational setting you are working in.

However, some common duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Supporting students with SEN in their learning, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Helping to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.
  • Liaising with teachers and other professionals to ensure students’ needs are being met.
  • Implementing individual education plans (IEPs) and behaviour plans for students with SEN.
  • Providing pastoral care and emotional support to students with SEN.
  • Assisting with personal care, such as feeding, toileting, and changing, where necessary.
  • Attending meetings and training sessions to develop your skills and knowledge.

SEN teaching assistant course

If you’re interested in becoming an SEN teaching assistant, there is a range of courses and qualifications available to help you develop your skills and knowledge.

These might include:

These courses are studied online and will typically take between six months and two years to complete.

Becoming an SEN teaching assistant can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for those who are passionate about supporting children with special educational needs.

By gaining relevant experience, completing relevant training, and developing your skills and knowledge with a qualification, you can build a successful career as an SEN TA.

With competitive salaries, SEN allowances, and a range of opportunities for professional development, this is a career path that can offer both personal and professional fulfilment.

 If you’re interested in becoming an SEN teaching assistant, now is the perfect time to take the first step towards your new career. Check out our courses to help you along your way.