Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants are essential cogs in the world of education. They provide valuable support for a range of pupils in primary, second and SEN schools. At EduStaff we work solely with graduates as we believe that providing pupils with the best academic support will positively affect the development of all pupils.
Teaching assistants and learning support assistants are often thought of as having quite similar roles and although the terms are often used interchangeably by recruiters and definition vary from school to school the two roles do have several distinct differences. To help you decide which job to go for in your first role in education we have created this guide so that you can see which would suit you best.
The core difference between the two is that a learning support assistant role is more likely to be focused on pastoral development, than a teaching assistant role.
Learning support assistant
LSA’s are more likely to work on a one-to-one basis or within small groups. One-to-one support usually means working with a student who has fallen behind their class and may have special educational needs. On the other hand, they can also support the gifted and talented children who need more challenging work from the rest of the class to reach their academic limit. Small group intervention work is sometimes a part of the role in school which can include taking small subject specific groups within and outside of class. LSA’s are usually calm, sensitive individuals who are patient with students and sympathetic to their needs. They must be empathetic and a good listener as well as having the ability to encourage and support their pupils. Although LSA roles can lead to teaching just like teaching assistants roles do, some choose it as a way of getting practical experience for careers special educational needs and other psychology based careers such as an Educational or Clinical Psychologist.
TA’s are expected to concentrate more on academic and teacher support. Their role usually consists of working within one class to support the teacher with classroom organization and behavior management. They are usually employed to help students across the class, ensuring they are focused on the lesson, giving them tips and answering questions just as a teacher would. Despite this they are still expected to develop relationships with the students and act as their role model. The most effective teaching assistants are often more outgoing, chatty and well-organised and usually looking to gain experience and start teaching careers.
If you’re a graduate and you‘re unsure which role is right for you, take a look at the jobs posted on out website here. Alternatively, contact us here.
The EduStaff Team