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Careers Advice: How To Become a Learning support assistant

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What is a Learning support assistant?

Learning support assistants (or learning assistant) help children in the classroom to get the most out of their education. As a learning support assistant you may be there to help in a particularly large class, but most of the time this role exists to provide 1:1 support for a young person with special educational needs (SEN). Sometimes this role is referred to as a special needs teaching assistant.

There are a variety of reasons that a young person may need extra support in a classroom. They may have a disability, health issues, behavioral issues or difficult external circumstances that make classroom learning more channeling. A learning support assistant provides extra care to help with these disruptions.

More generally, learning support assistants may also help the teacher with maintaining a good classroom environment by putting up displays, tidying up, or even helping smooth over a disagreement between students.

To be a good learning support assistant you must be empathetic and sensitive to the additional challenges that a young person may be facing that affects their learning. At the same time, you must be fair and able to be stern when necessary.

What does a Learning support assistant do?

In a learning support assistant job description, you’ll likely find the following responsibilities:

  • Providing support for children with additional educational needs

  • Assisting with general classroom maintenance

  • Helping the teacher to set up for lessons

  • Supervising children

  • Supporting classroom activities

Learning support assistant Jobs

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Working hours

Learning support assistant jobs can be either full-time or part-time depending on the needs of the school that you’re working in. The working hours also tend to be the usual school hours of 9:00AM-3:30PM.

Salary ranges & earning potential

The average learning support assistant salary is around £17,000 if you’re in a full-time position. You will find that the salary is slightly higher if the school you are working in is based in London. With experience, this can increase to £19,000.

Typical career developments offered to graduates in the Learning support assistant industry

Some learning support assistants pursue additional qualifications so that they can become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA), which means that you can help to plan lessons and in some cases step in as a substitute teacher when they are absent.

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