Classroom assistants, working in primary or early years, help the teacher in the classroom. They may work in only one class, or spend some time in different classrooms.
You could be:
helping pupils, individually or in groups, with reading, writing, counting, computing, science and craft work
helping pupils with creative activities such as drawing, painting, music, singing and dancing
encouraging pupil participation and team work, and giving praise
helping the teacher supervise physical education (PE)
helping the teacher prepare for lessons, collecting the materials needed and setting up the classroom
helping escort pupils on school trips, and perhaps supervising the playground at the interval and the dinner hall at lunchtime
helping keep the classroom tidy
photocopying materials for lessons, keeping pupil records and doing other clerical tasks.
The figures below are only a guide as actual pay rates vary, depending on which local council you work for. Local councils generally pay on full time scales ranging from around £14,500 to around £20,200 a year, but based on the actual hours worked.
You would work in a primary or nursery school with children aged 3 to 12.
Your working hours would usually be 9.00am to about 3.00pm.
Most jobs are term time only, so you will not be paid during school holidays.
A lot of vacancies are part time.
You will be mainly in a classroom but sometimes outdoors in the playground.
You will be active and might have to move and set up equipment.
You need a good general education, which may mean at least 3 subjects at National 5.
Many entrants now have a qualification such as the Professional Development Award (PDA) Education Support Assistance (SCQF Level 6). Some courses can be taken over 1 year full time. Entry requirements range from no formal requirements up to 4 subjects at National 4 or 5, including English and Maths.
A Certificate in First Aid is always useful.
You usually need experience with children, whether paid work, voluntary activities, or bringing up your own children. Some classroom assistants start by becoming volunteer helpers in the classroom.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
There can be a lot of competition for jobs.
What Does it Take?
You need to be able to:
get on well with children and build good relationships with them
build good working relationships with teachers and parents
work as part of a team
keep accurate records
respect confidentiality in relation to children.
You need to have:
good communication skills, both spoken and written
patience with children of all abilities
confidence and accuracy in spelling, punctuation and basic number work
a flexible and adaptable approach
a caring nature
a firm approach when necessary
an interest in child development
lots of energy and creativity.
If you do not have a relevant qualification you can study part time, while working, for the PDA in Education Support Assistance (SCQF Level 6) or relevant National Certificate (NC) (SCQF Level 5-6).
You might take further qualifications and then apply to train as a teacher.
In England you can train to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, but this job is not available in Scotland.