Learning support assistants work in primary or secondary schools, giving help and support to children who have additional learning needs.
You could be:
working with the teacher in class, or with individual pupils, to help with school work and to build their confidence and independence
supporting pupils who have social, emotional or behavioural problems, learning difficulties, limited hearing or eyesight, difficulties with mobility, or other physical disabilities, and perhaps assisting with therapy sessions
building up, and keeping, a good relationship with individual pupils and with groups
helping pupils who have difficulty communicating with others – including those whose first language is not English
helping pupils who have difficulty with reading, writing or counting
helping pupils learn to use computers and assisting them with other practical subjects
helping teachers prepare for lessons, collecting the materials needed and helping keep records
helping supervise games and outings, and perhaps supervising the playground at the interval and the dinner hall at lunchtime
helping keep the classroom tidy.
The figures below are only a guide as actual pay rates vary, depending on which local authority you work for.
Many posts advertised are part time. However, local authorities advertising full time salary scales have been ranging between around £19,000 and £24,500 a year.
You would work in classrooms with young people aged 3-18. Some children might need long term help, others might need help for only a short time.
Working hours are usually 9.00am to about 3.00pm.
Most jobs are term time only, so you will not be paid during school holidays.
A lot of work is part time.
You will be mostly in a classroom but sometimes outdoors in the playground.
You might have to move equipment.
You must keep information about the pupils confidential.
get on well with children and build good relationships with them
respect confidentiality in relation to the children
build good working relationships with teachers and parents
work as part of a team
keep accurate records.
You need to have:
good communication skills, both spoken and written
patience and perseverance
confidence and accuracy in spelling, punctuation and basic arithmetic
a caring nature
a firm approach when necessary
lots of energy.
If you do not have a qualification you can study part time, while working, for a PDA Education Support Assistance, HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in Additional Support Needs.
You might undergo first aid training, if you don't already have a certificate.
You might take extra 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.
Most jobs for learning support assistants are in mainstream primary and secondary schools, but some jobs are in additional support for learning (ASL) or additional support needs (ASN) schools. Apply to your local authority or look for vacancies in your Jobcentre Plus.