Careers Advice: How To Become a Learning support assistant
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
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.