Quick response to all my questions has made it all run smoothly.
Susan O'Shea
Did you know
86.6% of teaching assistants work part-time.


Please find answers to the most commonly asked questions below. For any more queries and enquiries please contact us and we will be happy to answer them.

What does a Teaching Assistant do?

Roles vary depending on the types of school you work in, but generally they are divided into four categories:

Supporting children: supervising small groups of children while they work on a task, helping individual children with their work, listening to them read, helping develop their social skills.

Supporting the teacher: handling routine classroom administrative duties, helping to manage pupil behaviour around the school, dealing with minor accidents, playground/lunchtime supervision. 

Supporting the curriculum: this might include supporting children using computers within the school, observing and recording children’s progress, supporting children in specific areas of the curriculum.

Supporting the school: working with parents and with other professionals.

Are Teaching Assistants known by any other title?

Teaching Assistants are known by a number of different titles depending upon their role, including, Learning Support Assistants, Classroom Assistants, Special Needs Support Assistants, Teaching Aides, Cover Supervisor and Learning Mentor.

Where do TAs work?

TAs work in infant, junior, middle, primary, secondary and special schools. Childcare and Early years settings (such as nurseries)

What qualifications do I need?

No formal qualifications are required; however it will help you to obtain a position as a TA if you have previous experience of working with children on a paid or voluntary basis or if you have completed one of the Vocational Qualifications suitable for Teaching Assistants such as those offered by the TA College: Courses

There are so many courses advertised on the internet and in publications how can I be sure I am choosing one that will be recognised by schools?

You will see many training courses advertised for TAs courses which aim to prepare and qualify you for your Teaching Assistant job. It is in your interest to choose a course which will offer you a high standard of training and recognised certification. 

Such a course will enable you to gain employment with a reputable employer, will have wider recognition in the field, will enable you to earn more for your work, and will provide a good basis for future career moves. A good training course is an essential starting point for maintaining high professional standards.

If the course is not accredited many schools/nurseries or childcare settings will disregard the qualification as a basis for employment. You should always check with any course provider about course accreditation.

At The TA College we only offer courses for teaching assistants and early years practitioners, we are all specialists in the field of education.

What is an Awarding body and it’s status?

The awarding body – sometimes known as an examination board – is the organisation which sets the curriculum for the course, validates and monitors the course provider, and issues the final qualification (certificate, diploma, etc.). You should check whether the qualification offered and the awarding body are recognised by schools and institutions in the area where you intend to work as a teaching assistant. One such awarding body is CACHE.

Who is CACHE?

CACHE (Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education) is an awarding body officially recognised by the regulatory authorities to award qualifications in particular subject areas, and is internationally recognised.

Their website can be found by clicking here: CACHE

The TA College is an official CACHE Centre. Our centre number is 1458.000 

What sort of people become Teaching Assistants?

The demographic of the Teaching Assistant is diverse and may include: men or women, young adults, middle age or older people.

Those with or without qualifications administrators, cover supervisors or people fulfilling the ‘traditional’ role of the TA by performing clerical and administrative tasks, tidying classrooms, supporting display work, etc.

TAs that gain experience in the classroom environment before applying to undertake a teacher training course.

This experience also allows the individual to decide whether teaching is the career for them.

Do I have the right skills?

One of the most important factors is that you should like young people and enjoy helping them gain knowledge and experience.

You will need to be able to build good working relationships with both children and adults.

This includes being able to give respect and understanding to all children and their families, whatever their cultural background.

What can I earn?

Salaries vary according to the job description, to obtain an exact figure you will need to contact your local council directly.

How do I become a Teaching Assistant?

There is no one answer to this question, in In the past many TAs were employed as volunteers or as parent helpers and this is still a valuable way to gain an insight into the role.

Generally, LEAs now insist upon basic qualifications in English and maths and some prefer that applicants have a vocational qualification such as those offered by the TA College

By undertaking one of these courses schools will recognise your commitment and may be more likely to employ you should you wish to apply for a position.

Other schools require that you complete a vocational qualification once you take up a post.

How much does a Teaching Assistant course Cost?

The fees are variable according to the course you choose to undertake, please refer to the courses page

How do I pay for my course?

You can pay for your course fee by Cheque, Credit/Debit Card, by 12 monthly instalments, or full or part payment from your school, details of which are included on the application form 

Can I pay by instalments?

Yes you can pay for your course fee by way of 12 x monthly instalments. 

Can I obtain funding to support my studies?

In these times of Austerity I regret funding is becoming scarce but we do continue to seek regional funding sources, however until we receive confirmation of availability the fees quoted are applicable.

We have had students who have received support from either the school they have a placement in, the Local education authority (LEA) based within your local council, or from the particular agency from which you receive benefits-(if applicable).

Do I have to attend the TA College or a local college to undertake my course?

The training is delivered via e-learning giving you the opportunity to study whenever it is most convenient to you, or wherever you have access to the internet, you do not have to live near to or attend either the TA College or your local college.

This method of studying is great for students based within the UK or worldwide.

Do I need a placement in school?

Whilst studying for most of the courses it is a requirement that you spend time in a supporting role within a school classroom.

If you have not already done so a placement can be obtained by contacting the Head teacher of your local schools requesting a work placement on a voluntary basis to support your studies.

For students based overseas it is a requirement that you spend time in a British/International school.

If you already have a paid position in school you will need to ensure you are meeting the required hours to meet the standards.

For details of the individual course requirements please visit our course pages 

What do you mean by a school based Assessor?

To complete your Certificate or Diploma level qualification you will need to collect evidence to demonstrate that you are competent with all the mandatory and optional units so along with your placement in school it is of benefit for you to have a mentor (School based Assessor) This mentor/Assessor should have qualified teacher status (in most cases this tends to be your class teacher) and is prepared to take on the role.

They can help develop your skills to maximize your potential.

Your mentor will need to dedicate time to you for approximately 30 minutes per week. During this time they can help you compile your evidence utilising a variety of methods that may involve all or a mixture of the following:


Professional discussion (combination of assessor and TA College tutor)

Witness Testimony

Give instruction and discuss planning

Provide Feedback.  

Do I get paid during my studies?

Unless you are in a paid position in school or your placement is on a paid basis then you will be undertaking your course voluntarily to support your studies.

Where is the TA College?

The Teaching Assistant College is an e-learning college and therefore you do not need to attend this college to undertake your studies.

However we do provide an opportunity for you to visit the college on a drop-in basis every Thursday afternoon between 14:00 – 16:00 hours to discuss your options.

We are based in central England and our contact details are as follows: 

The Teaching Assistant College

First Floor

Unit 7

Greyfriars Business Park

Frank Foley Way


ST16 2ST

Tel: 0845 603 7782 | (+44) 01785 227 574


Does the TA College have a UK Provider Number:

Yes our provider number is: 10013038

What dates do the courses start?

You can begin your course whenever you wish as start dates are entirely flexible.

I have not previously worked with children or in a school; can I still do a course?

Yes we have courses that are suited to those who are new to working in schools or who have only some experience. Please refer to our courses page or phone us for friendly advice on Tel: 0845 603 7782 or (+44) 01785 227 574 or via email.

How long does the course last?

Depending upon the type of course you choose and the dedication you put into your studies the time range should be between 8 months to 14 months to complete.

Is there a time limit to complete the course?

For an Award there is a time limit of 6 months, for a Certificate it is 12 months and 18 months for the Diploma. For an ELP the time limit is 30 days.

Would an assessor come and assess me in the workplace?

If you are based in the UK an assessor from the TA College will visit you for ONE half day if it as requirement of the course you are undertaking. (see ‘Courses’ for details)

If you are based outside of the UK you can choose to have a visiting assessor or an in-school assessor (mentor) who must be a qualified teacher.

Your tutor/assessor will support you throughout your course, along with helping you carefully plan, track and monitor your progress.

If I live abroad can I undertake a course?

We are delighted that students based abroad can gain UK recognised qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant anywhere in the world.

As part of our continuing development to meet the individual needs of Teaching Assistants and the changes to the qualification framework we are pleased to offer a range of qualifications under the

QCF framework these replace all existing Certificate and NVQ qualifications (December 2010).

Further details of these courses can be found here

Why should I choose a particular course and the TA College over all the others?

  • We are the only institution to offer Teaching Assistant courses through online distance learning – with all study sessions on the internet via an e-portfolio.
  • There is no need to attend a local college on a day release or a series of evening classes. (other than a classroom attendance in a supporting role via a placement in a school).
  • We are specialists in courses for people wanting to begin a new career as a Teaching Assistant or for experienced Teaching Assistants wanting to gain a qualification or CPD training.
  • All our qualifications are accredited by CACHE and your qualification will be recognised across the UK and in British schools throughout the world.
  • We provide Career Professional Development (CPD) online courses for schools throughout the UK and in British Schools abroad.
  • We design and deliver face-to-face In-Service Training (Inset) courses for support staff in schools based throughout the UK and in British Schools abroad. 
  • We really care about the quality of learning that we are delivering.
  • We want to ensure that learning is as flexible as possible, to suit your lifestyle.
  • We really care about giving you the right support with ‘email your tutor links’ that you can use 24 hours a day, and telephone tutorials during each unit.
  • We understand that you want to make a difference to the children you work with and we want to help you achieve that.
  • Learning with us is never boring, everything you learning about is linked to school and delivered using a range of teaching techniques to ensure that you are always motivated.


Any age restriction?

In most cases you must be at least 16 years of age to study for a course with the TA College. Please refer to the individual courses for the age restrictions. 

Do I need a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau) Check?

A DBS clearance is required if you have not had one in the last 12 months.

If you have just started or about to start a placement please ask the school if they will be carrying a DBS check out, if not the Teaching Assistant College will arrange one for you as part of your enrolment.

Please note this does not apply for anyone undertaking an Award level qualification as you are not required to work in placement, however should you require a DBS we would be pleased to organise your application for an additional fee of £75.00.

Are there any further costs in addition to the course fee?

The Fees Includes:

  • Registration and Certification with CACHE
  • Course and Placement Handbook
  • Copy of the main course textbook
  • Personalised learning area within the e-learning website
  • Full range of learning resources
  • Easy access to your own personal tutor, who will support you through your course
  • CV and interview guidance
  • A DSB (Disclosure and Barring Service) check (formally known as a CRB check)
  • Please note the Award level price does not include a DSB check as a placement in school is not required, however, should you require a DSB check we will be pleased to organise your application for an additional fee of £75.00.

What is a HLTA?

Higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) status is aimed at reinforcing and improving staff’s skills, allowing senior support staff working in the classroom to make an even more valuable contribution to improving standards in schools. They work closely with the teacher, complementing their role and freeing them up to have more time to develop each child to his or her potential. Under the programme, which is currently available in England, support staff are assessed against the HLTA standards. People who achieve HLTA status receive a letter from the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) – on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills – which acts as proof of HLTA status for current and future employers.

Becoming a HLTA

The higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) programme is available to school support staff in England, who have sought the support of their headteacher or line manager. There are several steps to achieving HLTA status:

  • gaining support from your school
  • securing funding
  • identifying training needs
  • preparing for assessment
  • assessment
  • receiving the outcome and deciding next steps


What are Endorsed Learning Programmes (ELPs)?

What is an ELP?

The Endorsed Learning Programme (ELP) is designed to give formal recognition to an organisation’s bespoke courses that fall outside ‘regulated provision’, such as that on a national framework. CACHE have not accredited courses under this provision as ‘Ofqual regulated qualifications’ but through the ELP this gives formal recognition to courses which result in a certificate of achievement from CACHE. The CACHE certificate of achievement is not for a nationally regulated qualification.

How is the course accredited?

Our course has been accredited by CACHE who are recognised by the qualification regulators for England, Northern Ireland and Wales. CACHE’s regulators are the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) in England and NI, and the Welsh Government in Wales. This course is not accredited by Ofqual but has been accredited by CACHE under the ELP.

CACHE certification: On completion of this course, learners will receive a certificate of achievement through ELP. This certificate of achievement must not be confused with nationally regulated qualifications. 

Quick response to all my questions has made it all run smoothly.
Susan O'Shea
Did you know
86.6% of teaching assistants work part-time.
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