Working as a learning support assistant is often a very fulfilling career, but it can be stressful and frustrating as you must sometimes deal with parents and red tape that doesn’t seem focused on the best interests of the child.
Learning support assistants are primarily classroom based, although their day to day work may include some administrative tasks, especially during certain times of the school year when end of term reports are due. The job is all through term-time, working the same hours as qualified teachers, usually starting at 08.00 or 08.30 and finishing around 15.30 or 16.00, depending on whether or not there are additional meetings, training courses or projects to be completed.
There are usually pay scales denoted by your local authority, if you work in a state-run school, or determined by the school or governors if you work at a private school. Learning support assistants with no relevant experience can expect to start on a salary around the minimum wage, although this will increase each year, with larger pay awards gradually leading up from the lowest scale or grade to the next scale or grade every two or three years. Unlike the private sector, this pay increase is not largely performance based, although some reviews may include such information.
You do not need any specific qualifications to begin work as a learning support assistant and it is the ‘entry level’ position for working alongside teachers in schools. Most learning support assistants do have GCSEs and A Levels, with a good standard of English and Maths. However, many learning support assistants have taken on courses of additional study after starting employment, sometimes with a view to becoming a qualified teacher but more often to help them move more quickly up the pay scale as they take on more specific roles.
Over and above the basic requirements of literacy and numeracy, the character of the learning support assistant is most important. As a role that requires the ability to gain the trust and confidence of children and young people that have often experienced some difficulty in their school life, whether that is learning difficulties such as dyslexia, or social difficulties that affect their development, a learning support assistant must have the right personality.
The Right Character
The type of personality that makes a good learning support assistant is someone that is supportive, non-judgemental, patient, easy to talk to, positive and flexible. They must be able to speak to the pupils in their care in a manner which encourages and supports them. Much of the day to day classroom work is done on a one-to-one basis with a particular child that needs help, perhaps just in one particular subject or across the curriculum, so the learning support assistant, often shortened to LSA, must be able to build trusting relationships.
Where Jobs Are Advertised
Most learning support assistant jobs are advertised on the local authority websites for each region, with most London boroughs having both their own sites and a general site for Greater London. If you are keen to work in a particular area or at a certain school, this is the best place to start. Private schools tend to advertise on their own websites or in local newspapers. It is also worth baring in mind that these vacancies are not always advertised, so if you feel you have what it takes, a speculative application to the Head teacher may be welcomed.
Hi, I used to be a teacher but not in uk , but now I want to upgrade myself with some qualifications or courses so that I will be able to become a LSA in an infant or junior school .
Liz - 21-Mar-23 @ 7:48 PM
Hi, I live in Myanmar teaching English Lang and Lit. I have taught P 3,4, and 5 here over the last 2 academic years. Before that I taught ESL, IELTS, and business English in Indonesia for 5 years.
I don't have a degree. I am CELTA qualified, and am 2/3 of the way through a diploma in teaching and learning. I want to come home and teach in England. What advice can you give me? Is learning support a way in?
Michael - 15-Apr-19 @ 6:58 PM
I am looking to be trained as a learning support assistant, can somebody help me with a course i can take up please. I have sent enquires at various websites, and few of my friends are saying those are not the right courses i am looking out.
I volunteer 3 days in a week in a primary school for 2 hours.
Any help is highly appreciated.
Sree - 4-Jun-18 @ 7:37 AM
Samira Elzaki - Your Question:
I have level 3 education and training city and guilds could any one help me find a Volunteer job for me or any web site can help.I am actualy previous graduated teacher I have university degree n education chemistry and biology. all the best for all
I havelevel 3 education and training city and guilds could any one help me find a Volunteer job for me or any web site can help .I am actualy previous graduated teacher I have university degree n education chemistry and biology .
all the best for all
Samira Elzaki - 31-Mar-18 @ 3:14 PM
AMI - Your Question:
Hi,I want to see my self as a independent lady.ilove to teach the children.i have filled volunteer work at school but I did not get any response yet.w e just shifted uk.I am getting bored at home.i have completed my graduation.I am b.ed also but not as flunent like England people.what I do.i belonged to india.just I need advice what I do to get a job.how can I apply and where.
I'm afraid we cannot give specific places or agencies where you can apply for jobs, you would have to do an online search. Good luck in your search.
WorkingWithKids - 1-Dec-16 @ 10:53 AM
I want to see my self as a independent lady.ilove to teach the children.i have filled volunteer work at school but I did not get any response yet
.w e just shifted uk .I am getting bored at home.i have completed my graduation .I am b.ed also but not as flunent like England people.what I do.i belonged to india.just I need advice what I do to get a job.how can I apply and where .
AMI - 30-Nov-16 @ 12:48 PM
Volunteer in your local primary doesn't have to be full days a couple of hours here and there helping with reading then once you've been thee a while ask if they need any help in the classrooms most schools will bite your hand off, once you've had a dbs check done you're away, I started this way I had a job as well elsewhere but I stuck at the volunteering and out of the blue was offered a position as a learning support assistant doing one to one!!
Nellsbells - 4-Nov-15 @ 7:30 PM
Yan - Your Question:
Hello there, Could anybody help please?I would love to work with toddlers/infants in a school, preferable in Bournemouth or in the Christchurch or Poole area. Any places that do not require certain qualifications, just go for an interview and explain about my previous work experience?I have been abroad and worked in a private bilingual school (Spanish-English), helping the students and teachers with the English and doing activities. (Primary school and Kindergarten). Role: English teacher assistant checking the students work, doing breaktime and after school duty looking after the toddlers. I enjoy very much art & music and doing music therapy.Thank you very much for your help
You would have to apply directly to the schools for consideration, or conduct a search on job websites. Good luck.
WorkingWithKids - 24-Sep-15 @ 2:00 PM
Could anybody help please?
I would love to work with toddlers/infants in a school, preferable in Bournemouth or in the Christchurch or Poole area.
Any places that do not require certain qualifications, just go for an interview and explain about my previous work experience?
I have been abroad and worked in a private bilingual school (Spanish-English), helping the students and teachers with the English and doing activities. (Primary school and Kindergarten).
Role: English teacher assistant checking the students work, doing breaktime and after school duty looking after the toddlers.
I enjoy very much art & music and doing music therapy.
Thank you very much for your help
Yan - 23-Sep-15 @ 6:54 PM
I would love to work in nursery because I love kids ...what do I need to do??? I have no experience pls help me
Mary - 3-Aug-15 @ 5:09 PM
Im a chef but my dream job is a support worker in small schools but i dont know where start or how to get in that career cam someone help me please im 19 olds year have hard working
Stacey Smith - 27-Jun-15 @ 12:47 PM
I AM VOLUNTEERING AT A FAITH SCHOOL AND WILL COMPLETE MY NCFE LEVEL 2 IN TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SCHOOLS IN JULY 2015. I AM IN A SECONDARY SCHOOL AND HAVE BEEN VOLUNTEERING SINCE SEPTEMBER 2015. WHERE WOULD IT BE BEST TO APPLY FOR A JOB??
faz - 25-Mar-15 @ 5:24 PM
I wonder if you could help, i have decided that i want to become a teaching assistant or a lsa and by the end of june will have a level 2 in childcare with around 3-4 months experience, but have no intrest on doing level 3, would they consider me if i applied for a job?? Thanks in advance
Jayjay - 24-Mar-15 @ 7:57 PM
@Ni - In addition to the information in teh article, I have included a link to the National Careers Service herewhich tells you all you exactly what qualifications you need. Please note it is currently undergoing temporary work on its website, but you can call an advisor on 0800 100 900, if you want the information quickly. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 3-Mar-15 @ 10:16 AM
Hi I want to work as a learning support assistant in a school.But I dnt know what qualification need for this role?I completed bachelor degree & BTEC level 7 in business management and finished introduction to school based setting level 1 also.I have experience as a classroom assistant in a school.Please help me to find this job
Ni - 27-Feb-15 @ 3:49 PM
I am qualified nvqlevel3 in child care.i habe experience to work with children (0-16years).but I want to work as learning support assistant.i applied on lots of school.but no one offer me an interview. Help please.
gurpreet - 27-Dec-14 @ 12:59 PM
@Tammy - To work as a nursery worker, you do not always need formal qualifications to start training. However, it is likely that a good standard of education will be required such as GCSEs in maths and English. Dependent upon your age - you may also be able to begin a job through an Apprenticeship scheme. Here's a link to the National Careers Service Nursery Worker's page. Link here.I hope this helps
WorkingWithKids - 30-Oct-14 @ 2:46 PM
I want to work in a nursery but have no experience.
tammy - 30-Oct-14 @ 1:40 PM
Please what courses will a learning support assistant be required to do? Thank you
Tinu - 20-Aug-14 @ 12:01 PM
I would love to work as an learning support teacher. I volunteer in a primary school 2 days a week please help me
sheep - 21-Jul-14 @ 9:33 PM
I am interested in working with kids
Fran - 12-Jun-14 @ 10:25 AM
this is something that have wanted to do for years i am good with children i am also a foster carer and to do this would be ideal
tanya - 5-Nov-13 @ 10:00 PM
very helpful article as i am currnetly unemployed but would like to work in this area.Thank you