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Careers Guides

Becoming a Teaching Assistant

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The Role of a Teaching Assistant

A Teaching Assistant, or Learning Support Assistant, provides support to Teachers at a school. Their duties include taking attendance every day and reporting that to the Teacher, working individually with students to improve their performance and answering questions about the lesson.

The roles and responsibilities of teaching assistants are varied and differ between schools but here’s a general overview of the duties you can expect when becoming a Teaching Assistant:

Teaching Assistant Skills & Requirements

You can start a career as a Teaching Assistant by obtaining a relevant qualification such as a Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools and Colleges. Each course, qualification and provider will have their own entry requirements for these courses. If you’d like to know what the requirements are for our Teaching Assistant course then click here.

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Teaching Assistant Salary

Teaching Assistant salary and pay scale often match the local government pay scale but it varies depending on the area and type of school. Independent, academy and free schools aren’t required to follow local authority pay guidelines for teaching assistant jobs.

The starting salary for Level 1 Teaching Assistants is usually £17,842 in line with the local government pay scale.

Level 2 Teaching Assistants can expect to earn between £18,000 to £20,000.

Level 3 Teaching Assistants can earn up to £25,000 if they have additional specialisms or SEN responsibilities.

HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistants) can expect to earn between £22,500 and £29,000 depending on experience.

However, the average annual salary for a teaching assistant may be around £12,081 due to term time working and variations in hours.

Teaching Assistant Working Hours

The average working hours for a full time Teaching Assistant are 32-40 hours a week subject to term times. Some staff work all year round while some take term holidays.

The summer term stretches from the end of the Easter break to mid-July.


It includes a half term week long holiday in late May.


This is usually the busiest time, with later students sitting their GCSE’s.

The academic school year starts in early September, with the term stretching till Christmas.


The winter term is a half term holiday, usually a week long at the end of October.


Most schools have a 2 week end of term holiday stretching over New Year and Christmas.

This is the spring term and stretches from early January to Easter.


Easter usually falls on a different weekend each year, so the end of term two-week break can be either early April or late March.


This term also included a week-long half term break, usually in mid-February.

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Teaching Assistant Career Progression

After starting out as a teaching assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to increase your salary and role responsibilities by progressing to a new level.

Typically, there are three levels of experience within the standard teaching assistant role each with their own pay scale/salary. Although most Teaching Assistants go on to become Teachers there’s plenty of options available to further your career for example:

There is also the option to go into a specialised role such as an SEN Teaching Assistant or a HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) which would offer a higher salary and more challenging role.

Ready to start your journey?

We offer both Level 2 and Level 3 Teaching Assistant Courses & Qualifications. Some of these may be eligible for government funded learning meaning you could study for free subject to eligibility.

Here's how to get started: