Teaching Assistant Job Responsibilities: Contributing to Classroom Success

Teaching Assistant Job Responsibilities: Contributing to Classroom Success

The teaching assistant’s job responsibilities make this role the perfect way to gain hands-on classroom experience without a teaching qualification.

If you enjoy working with children, supporting their learning and making a difference, you’ll love working as a teaching assistant.

But what does the role entail, what qualifications are needed and what skills are needed to make a great teaching assistant? Read on to find out more.

teaching assistant walking with two schoolchildren in hallway

Duties for teacher's assistants

A teaching assistant supports the teacher in the classroom to deliver learning. A teaching assistant will work with children and assist with reading, writing and learning activities… but this merely scratches the surface.

You will either work across the classroom, one-to-one with a pupil or with a small group, assisting students who need a little extra help in the classroom. You’ll be there to boost the confidence of the pupils you are working with, empowering the children in a nurturing and supportive environment whilst openly assisting the teacher during class and making sure that all pupils understand what’s going on in the lesson.

Part of the teaching assistant’s job responsibilities, as the name suggests, will be to support the teacher. You’ll build a great working relationship with the teacher, helping to set up the classroom for the day, prepare lesson materials and tidy up afterwards. You’ll work as a double act, prompting children to answer questions and prompting the teacher if the class aren’t quite grasping the topic.

You will be an extra pair of eyes in the classroom, picking up on any changes in behaviour and reporting back to the teacher. Was Evan trying to wind Amir up in class? Does Jade seem withdrawn and quiet? It is often through good observation skills you’ll be able to spot these differences and report back, helping to ensure that every child has a safe and happy learning experience.

Teaching assistant qualifications - what's needed?

There are teaching assistant qualifications and courses you can undertake to become a teaching assistant, which will see you study practices behind education and go on placements to learn more about the role.

A commonly achieved qualification is a Level 2 or Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, taken while studying at college. Other qualifications include (but not limited to) a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education or a T Level in Education and Early Years. You can also undertake an apprenticeship to start working in the classroom straight away.

If you want more experience outside of your studies, you can volunteer at youth groups, after-school clubs or outdoor learning sessions working with children, following a DBS check.

teaching assistant and class of children learning at desk

Teaching assistant skills - how to contribute to student success

Some skills needed to be a great teaching assistant include:

Good ICT skills - Anyone working in teaching needs to have a basic level of ICT skills, as this will enable you to support children while using computers and tablets. Teaching assistants are also asked to write reports and input data, so having key skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Windows in general will be beneficial.

The ability to work under pressure – This is an essential skill; from the moment a teaching assistant walks into school there are things to do! It may be photocopying, liaising with the teacher, preparing for the child/children you are working with or preparing resources. Being efficient and organised with the ability to plan will support you in your career and keep the school running smoothly.

Marking and recording pupil progress – This will also use your organisation skills, but a trusted teaching assistant may take responsibility for small groups of children and take on the responsibility of marking and recording appropriate data too.

Motivating children – This role focuses on helping children after all, so praise, encourage, motivate, care for and nurture all children so they feel safe in their learning environment. It’s not always an easy task with some children and this is where a teaching assistant can make a world of difference to a child and how they feel about learning. Sometimes that child just needs one person to give them extra attention which could positively change their outlook on learning.

Cover classes – This will only happen with higher-level teaching assistants and on a rare occasion, covering the class would be discussed beforehand and agreed to by all. However, in an emergency, a teaching assistant may be left with the class. Being confident and in control is a key skill here! Keeping the children on track or recapping what the teacher said is ideal for this scenario. The ability to praise and encourage will help motivate and support behaviour management and you will gain more confidence in controlling a classroom in turn.

Be relatable and personable – This is less of a skill and more of a personality trait, but you need to be welcoming and by nature love interacting with people. Students will come to you with a problem or perhaps when they are upset, so to build that trust you must be someone they feel comfortable approaching.

teaching assistant talking with schoolchildren using tablets

Safeguarding in education – your role as a teaching assistant

No matter your job role, you must have comprehensive knowledge of safeguarding when working in an educational setting. Safeguarding ensures that children and vulnerable adults are protected from harm and abuse and have safe and effective care.

As you are working with children, you need to ensure that you are following safeguarding protocols and, as a teaching assistant with a watchful eye on the class, you may spot a possible safeguarding concern. It is your duty to report any concerns you have to the designated safeguarding officer for the school you’re working in. For more information, watch My-Progression’s video on reporting safeguarding.


Working as a teaching assistant is a rewarding role that will see you gain hands-on experience in a classroom, making a difference in children’s lives. TeacherActive is hiring teaching assistants across England and Wales, to apply, submit a CV today.