Woman teacher teaching with a girl having individual art therapy class

What makes a good SEN Teaching Assistant? 


There is no greater feeling than being able to help a struggling child reach their potential and succeed – and this support is what SEN Teaching Assistants give every day.

SEN Teaching Assistants are responsible for helping teachers provide children with special educational needs (SEN) the extra support they need to succeed in school.

Working as an SEN Teaching Assistant is an incredibly rewarding and varied job, with responsibilities ranging from lesson planning and providing one-on-one support to small group work. 

But what makes a good SEN Teaching Assistant? Read on to find out.

8 qualities of SEN Teaching Assistants

So, what is it that makes these classroom heroes exceptional? Undoubtedly, a dedicated and well-trained Teaching Assistant can make a big difference in a child’s learning experience.  

To that end, SEN Teaching Assistants receive professional training and education that helps them understand the uniqueness of every child, especially children with special educational needs and disabilities, and how to handle these difficulties. 

To provide the best possible care, each Teaching Assistant brings their own skills and experience to the role. So, what makes a good SEN Teaching Assistant? Here are a few of the qualities to look out for.

1. Flexibility

Children with special educational needs require an individual approach that cannot be resolved by a one-size-fits-all method.  

Therefore, an outstanding Teaching Assistant should have the ability to change their methods of teaching based on what the student needs. Furthermore, they should also be comfortable with deviating from originally planned activities to ensure the child’s success and well-being.

2. Open-mindedness

When you work as an SEN Teaching Assistant, you won’t only be dealing with children, but also with other teachers, parents, and carers. 

Therefore, SEN Teaching Assistants must be open-minded and respectful of others’ views. They should also be able to see different perspectives, find common ground, and promote collaboration and understanding, which are all essential in supporting a child with SEN.

3. Patience

There will be days when it seems like the student is regressing instead of progressing. However, in these times, it’s crucial to remember that growth is rarely linear. Professional Teaching Assistants know this, and they have the patience to weather these challenges and celebrate each small victory as a step forward.

4. Positivity

Positivity is an absolute must-have for SEN Teaching Assistants. Not only can it help you push through hard times and tricky challenges, but positivity is also contagious! 

When Teaching Assistants are always looking on the bright side, those around them will too, a quality that is essential when working with children who have SEN. These children often face difficulties in their learning, so a positive outlook from adults can show them that struggles are there to be overcome.

5. Perseverance

There are times when you might feel like giving up while working with children who have SEN. This feeling is natural, and what matters is that you don’t give in to these emotions. 

Outstanding Teaching Assistants persevere because they understand that every challenge is an opportunity for growth; as such, they never give up on a child or on the possibility of success.

6. Organisation

Any SEN TA worth their salt should be organised as they often need to juggle several responsibilities and duties at any one time. 

This quality can assist them in ensuring that everything goes smoothly and that no detail is overlooked. For example, an organised Teaching Assistant can plan and prepare lessons, manage conduct, and support children’s learning while still maintaining a calm and pleasant demeanor.

7. Communication

Communication is vital in any profession, but it’s especially important for SEN Teaching Assistants who frequently need to convey information to various parties such as teachers, parents, and carers.

While working as an SEN TA, you will also need to fine-tune your communication abilities to gauge a child’s specific needs. By being attentive and empathising with the children, you will be able to communicate efficiently and provide adequate support.

8. Balance

Being an SEN Teaching Assistant can take an emotional and physical toll, so an excellent work-life balance is essential. 

A big part of a good work-life balance is learning when to give 110% at work and when to take breaks to avoid burning out. Finding this equilibrium is a crucial quality if you want to cultivate and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What is the average annual SEN Teaching Assistant salary?

According to National Careers Service UK, the average annual salary for a Teaching Assistant is between £12,621 for beginners to £23,000 for experienced SEN TAs. However, this will vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of school you work in.

Apply for SEN Teaching Assistant positions here at The BIG Jobsite

If you have the passion and dedication to make a difference in the lives of children with SEN, then a job as an SEN Teaching Assistant could be perfect for you. 

At The BIG Jobsite, we have a wide range of education jobs available. So, whether you are looking for a full-time or part-time role, we are sure to have something right for you. Find your dream Teaching Assistant job now, or, sign up for email job alerts to make sure you are the first to know about the latest Teaching Assistant jobs as and when they come in.