You’ve decided to apply for a teaching assistant (TA) job. Now you just need to nail that covering letter and CV.
Most job adverts will either ask for a CV or for you to fill out an application form. They will also expect either a covering letter or they will leave space on the application for a “personal statement”. This is your opportunity to allow your personality to shine through and let the HR manager know exactly why you are the perfect person for this role.
1. Make it personal
Hannah Wilson, headteacher of Aureus Secondary School in Oxford, advises that you personalise your letter to the school you’re applying to.
“Do your research: you’ve got to visit the school, review the website, read the prospectus,” she advises. Then use this information to inform your application.
“You have to make it clear why you want to work at this school specifically,” says Wilson.
2. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have
Instead of wasting precious word count explaining why you don’t have experience, make the most of what you do have.
“Share your experiences looking after children, volunteering in your community, raising your own children. Show your understanding of child development and supporting children with additional learning needs,” Wilson says.
3. Any SEND experience is valuable
As an learning support assistant (LSA) or TA, you’re likely to be tasked with working with those students who have special educational needs and disability (SEND). Therefore, any experience you have of children who have additional needs is beneficial.
“You should mention all the experience you have, even if it is your own children or family members,” says Wilson.
“You can show you have read up on SEND issues, and you are willing to learn. If you have not had experience, you can still demonstrate your understanding and link to your own temperament and character, and how you are suited to this type of work.”
4. Cheque you’re spellign
“Make sure your statement is proofread, and that your application is grammatically correct,” Wilson warns.
Some applications won’t allow you to edit the form or submit online. In those situations, Wilson warns against writing straight on to the form.
“Write it in Word first, and then proofread it before you copy it on to the application form.”
Many teaching assistants go on to become qualified classroom teachers. With Tes Institute’s Straight to Teaching course you can train while working in your current school.