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What is a Teaching Assistant?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Teaching Assistant and pupils at a laptop


If you've ever been a student in a classroom, then you know that there's some pretty heavy lifting to be done. Teachers are expected to teach students about everything from reading and writing to maths and science. But what if they need some help? That's where Teaching Assistants come in.

A Teaching Assistant (otherwise known as Classroom Assistant, Learning Support Assistant) is someone who helps teachers by taking over some of the responsibilities of teaching so that the teacher can focus on educating their students.

A Teaching Assistant is a teacher's right hand

A Teaching Assistant is a teacher's right hand. They help with student learning, attendance, and behaviour. They assist with classroom management; they can even help plan lessons. Teaching Assistants often work with students in small groups or individually.

Teaching Assistant jobs are found in:

  • academies

  • colleges and sixth forms

  • independent schools

  • nurseries

  • primary schools

  • secondary schools

  • special schools.

Teaching Assistant supporting arts and crafts

Support kids with special needs to reach their full potential

A Teaching Assistant can also be hired to support specific students with special needs. They can assist with anything from physical and sensory disabilities to learning difficulties, behavioural issues, and dyslexia.

Teaching Assistants are often trained to use specific techniques when working with children who have additional needs such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To support pupils with particular individual needs, some teaching assistants work one-to-one, while others work in small groups. Many schools employ teaching assistants with particular specialisms, including literacy, numeracy, special educational needs (SEN), music and creative arts. If you are bilingual, you might do more work with children whose first language is not English.

A rewarding and flexible career

Helping students achieve their goals and make progress can be extremely rewarding. It can be very fulfilling to see the positive impact you are having on your students' lives.

What’s more, working as a Teaching Assistant through an agency like Inspiring Teaching allows you greater flexibility and opportunities to learn than full-time with a single school.


A Teaching Assistant is a great job for anyone who wants to help children learn and grow. You can get paid to do something you love, and it will always be rewarding knowing that you've helped someone succeed in life!

Some Teaching Assistants go on to train as teachers. So if you’re thinking of going into teaching in the long term, then working as a Teaching Assistant can be an excellent place to start your teaching career.

Look out for our next blog post where we’ll go into more detail about what’s involved in a Teaching Assistant’s role.

Inspiring Teaching is a specialist recruitment agency for the education sector with experts in SEN schools and SEN placements in mainstream schools. If you are interested in finding your first role in a SEN environment, or you have experience and are looking for a new challenge, we can help. Find out more and register your details now by clicking the button below.

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