Special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistant | Explore careers (2023)

How to become a special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You could do a college qualification to help you get started, for example:

  • Level 2 and 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education Early Years Educator
  • T Level in Education and Childcare

You may be able to get a placement working with children with special educational needs while doing your course.

(Video) Advice for teaching pupils with Special Educational Needs - Teach First

Many people get qualifications or experience working with children in mainstream schools, then move into working with children with special educational needs.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

More Information


To become an SEN teaching assistant, you could do the:

(Video) SEN Teaching Assistant

  • Early Years Practitioner Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Advanced Teaching Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Early Years Educator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could get experience by volunteering in a local school or with a community organisation.

Volunteering can sometimes lead to paid work or a chance to get a qualification.

(Video) Working with pupils with SEND

Direct Application

You can apply for special needs teaching assistant jobs if you have experience of working with children with disabilities or learning difficulties.

Each school sets its own entry requirements. You can check job vacancies with schools, local authorities and academy trusts to find out what schools are looking for.

More Information

Career tips

It'll help if you know different ways to communicate, such as British Sign Language orMakaton. It's also helpful to understand what students with disabilities or conditions need. This could include sensory impairments or autism.

The National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN)produces useful guides and runs training courses and events.

Professional and industry bodies

You could become a member of NASENto find professional development opportunities.

Further information

Many teaching assistants have term time only contracts.

(Video) SEN Teaching Assistant

You can get more advice about working in special needs education through:

(Video) Teaching Assistants Supporting Students in Special Education Programs


What are the key questions in SEN Ta interview? ›

Being a SEN Teaching Assistant Interview Questions

How will your skills/experience/attitude, benefit the learners that you support? What qualities would make you a successful SEN Teaching Assistant? How will you adapt your approach to meet the differing needs of your students?

What is the job description for SEN teaching assistant? ›

Job Purpose

To encourage the participation of pupils in the social and academic processes of the school, and enable pupils to become more independent learners. To undertake work/care/support programmes to enable access to learning for pupils and to assist the teacher in the management of pupils and the classroom.

How do you answer a teaching assistant interview question? ›

Model Answer:

“As well as being hardworking, approachable and good with children, I have a number of qualities which I could bring to the Teaching Assistant role. I am an extremely patient person and I am willing to spend as much time working on one subject, word or calculation as a child needs.

What questions are asked at interview for special needs assistant? ›

General special education aide interview questions
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • How do you handle stress in the workplace?
  • Describe a time you helped somebody.
  • Describe your work style.
  • Tell me about your top three skills.
Apr 26, 2021

How do I prepare for a SEN teacher interview? ›

Talk about what you know already and ask about the school's philosophy on special education, the type of support that is available for teachers, and what the expectations are for the position. How Would You Contribute to Making the School a Safer Environment for Children?

What qualities would make you a successful SEN teaching assistant? ›

The things that make an excellent SEN teaching assistant include:
  • Flexibility. As an SEN teacher, you never know what the day might bring. ...
  • Open-mindedness. Being open-minded is a crucial quality of any SEN teaching assistant. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Positivity. ...
  • Perseverance. ...
  • Organisation. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • The ability to balance.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a special needs assistant? ›

Assistance with clothing, feeding, toileting and general hygiene. Assisting on out-of-school visits, walks and similar activities. Assisting teachers in the supervision of children with special needs during assembly, recreational and dispersal periods.

What do special needs assistants do? ›

Special needs assistants (SNAs) play an important role in assisting the teacher to support students with special educational needs who have significant care needs. They are allocated to the school and work under the direction of the principal/teachers.

Why do you think you are the best candidate for teaching assistant? ›

Example: "I think I'm the best candidate for this role because I have proven experience working with children of different ages and with different backgrounds. That experience has helped me develop my teaching skills and hone my ability to employ a variety of different instructional methods.

What are the 10 most common teaching interview questions and answers? ›

More prep = less chance of a flub.
  • What are your strengths as a teacher?
  • What's your biggest weakness as a teacher?
  • How do you interact with parents?
  • Why did you leave your last teaching (or other) job?
  • What's your educational background?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • How do you handle classroom management?
Jan 4, 2023

What are your strengths as a teaching assistant? ›

Enthusiasm and Passion go a long way

A great teaching assistant will have a passion for working with and developing children, whether that be in early years, SEN or mainstream primary and secondary. An energetic approach will create an exciting atmosphere in the classroom, encouraging students to want to learn.

What qualities do you need to work with special needs kids? ›

Top Skills Needed to Work with Developmentally Disabled
  • Organization and Adaptability. These may seem like two separate—even opposite—personality traits. ...
  • Patience. Again, this is a skill that is needed for working with children of any ability. ...
  • Kindness and Empathy. ...
  • Optimism. ...
  • Communication Skills.
Dec 9, 2021

Why do you want to work in a special needs school? ›

Working in SEN schools allow you to have a fulfilling career due to the positive impact you have on students and their families lives. Not only will you feel fulfilled but you will also benefit from job security and career progression opportunities with life-long learning.

What are the interview questions for SEN learning Support Assistant? ›

13 general learning support assistant interview questions
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose to become a learning support assistant?
  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What makes you qualified for this role?
  • What are the primary duties of a learning support assistant?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Sep 14, 2022

Why do you want to be a special education teacher answer? ›

Special education's person-centered approach makes the job as varied and unique as the individual students. Both compassion and creativity are at a premium in this field, which sometimes makes special education more challenging — but it also makes the career deeply rewarding.

Why do you want to work with children with special needs? ›

For passionate, caring, and dedicated people, working with kids with disability or learning difficulties can be one of the most rewarding careers out there. Every day, you can go home from work knowing you're making a real difference in people's lives. And you can see the positive changes first-hand.

What skills do you need to work with SEN children? ›

They should have an open mind with a degree of empathy. Be a team member, have a sense of self-confidence. Be resilient and have a sense of humour!”

What skills do you need to be a special needs assistant? ›

Communication and Interpersonal Skills • Is an excellent communicator who is able to motivate, encourage and instil confidence. Has the ability to quickly build rapport. Is respectful and displays high emotional intelligence. Is resilient, has patience and energy to persevere.

What are the 5 most important characteristics of a quality education assistant? ›

If you are planning to apply as an EA, here are five qualities your employer will look out for:
  • 1) Effective Communication Skills. ...
  • 2) Increased Patience Working with Students. ...
  • 3) Organized Management Skills. ...
  • 4) Flexibility in Different Roles. ...
  • 5) Compassion and Empathy for Others' Success.
Jan 15, 2021

What is the job description of a special needs teacher? ›

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could: plan and teach lessons, work with small groups and individual students. prepare teaching materials, take registers and write reports. help students develop confidence, independence and encourage them to learn.

How can I be a good Special Assistant? ›

6 career tips for first time personal assistants
  1. Set priorities. As a personal assistant, a large part of your job will be to keep someone else organised and on schedule. ...
  2. Don't procrastinate. ...
  3. Keep your boss informed. ...
  4. Ask for input. ...
  5. Stay informed. ...
  6. Learn about your boss' likes and dislikes.

What is the hourly rate for a special needs assistant? ›

An early career Special Education Assistant with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of €10.50 based on 13 salaries.

How to tell us about yourself in teacher assistant interview? ›

SUGGESTED ANSWER: “I am a professional, studious and supportive employee who always works hard to achieve the daily tasks and duties that are put in front of me. I am very passionate about education and have been working towards becoming a Teaching Assistant for a number of years now.

How to answer can you tell me about yourself in an interview? ›

Your answer to the "tell me about yourself" question should describe your current situation, your past job experience, the reason you're a good fit for the role, and how you align with the company values. Tell the interviewer about your current position and a recent big accomplishment or positive feedback you received.

How do you handle disruptive behavior in the classroom? ›

What to do
  1. Be steady, consistent and firm.
  2. Acknowledge the feelings of the individual.
  3. Remember that disruptive behavior is often caused by stress or frustration.
  4. Address the disruption individually, directly and immediately.
  5. Be specific about the behavior that is disruptive and set limits.

What do you say in Tell me about yourself? ›

Key Takeaways
  • Structure your answer in a way that makes sense. Stick to the past-present-future format, and you're all good!
  • Keep it relevant and brief (1-2 minutes max). No one wants to hear your whole life story.
  • Mention any of your top achievements and relevant work experiences.
7 days ago

How do you describe yourself in a teaching interview? ›

Keep it Positive and Professional

Don't focus on how much you dislike your old school, or really negative things that may have happened in your life thus far. Instead, focus on who you are today, why you are passionate about education, and where you are hoping to end up in the future.

What are the 7 most important interview questions and answers? ›

How to master these 7 common interview questions
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time? ...
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses? ...
  • Why should I hire you? ...
  • Tell me about yourself/your work experience. ...
  • Why do you want this job? ...
  • What are your salary expectations? ...
  • Why are you the right fit to succeed in this role?

Why should we hire you example? ›

For starters, I have all the skills and experience listed in the job description, and I'm confident that I can make an immediate impact on your company. It's not just my background in leading successful projects for Fortune 500 companies, but also my passion for the industry that drives me to succeed.

What challenges do teaching assistants face? ›

Challenging Pupil Behaviour

As a teaching assistant, often, you'll be expected to work closely with the most challenging pupils – and dealing with children pushing boundaries, or displaying negative or extreme behaviour all day can take its toll!

What is the most important role of a teaching assistant? ›

They help with preparation. Teaching Assistants work with teachers to plan and prepare learning resources and map out strategies for pupils who are struggling. They may also lend a hand with admin work and keeping the learning space clean and tidy.

What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.

What makes a great special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers should always motivate their students and appreciate every achievement of the students. They should always look at the problems from a student's perspective to remain calm and optimistic. The teacher's dedication to the betterment of the students serves as a huge confidence builder for them.

How do you teach children with special educational needs? ›

General interventions
  1. Show, demonstrate and model.
  2. Utilize multisensory learning.
  3. Break information down into smaller units.
  4. Utilise peer tutoring and cooperative learning.
  5. Use a developmentally appropriate approach.
  6. Make information as concrete as possible.
  7. Provide a small group of instructions.

How can you support special needs students in the classroom? ›

See Also
  1. Discover your students' strengths. ...
  2. Provide positive role models with disabilities. ...
  3. Develop strength-based learning strategies. ...
  4. Use assistive technologies and Universal Design for Learning tools. ...
  5. Maximize the Power of your students' social networks. ...
  6. Help students envision positive future careers.
Apr 9, 2013

How do you teach students with special needs? ›

Use these appropriate strategies with learning disabled students:
  1. Provide oral instruction for students with reading disabilities. ...
  2. Provide learning disabled students with frequent progress checks. ...
  3. Give immediate feedback to learning disabled students. ...
  4. Make activities concise and short, whenever possible.
Jul 27, 2021

What is the most important thing to learn in special education? ›

The key to inclusive special education programs is understanding and accepting students for who they are. This means not just helping them overcome their weaknesses but assisting them in finding and developing their talents too.

Why do you want to work with disability answers? ›

You want a meaningful career helping people from all walks of life. As a disability support worker, you have the chance to help people directly. Beyond assisting with the basics like showering, preparing meals and grocery shopping, you'll also provide companionship and emotional support.

What is the role of SEN teaching assistant? ›

Job Purpose

To encourage the participation of pupils in the social and academic processes of the school, and enable pupils to become more independent learners. To undertake work/care/support programmes to enable access to learning for pupils and to assist the teacher in the management of pupils and the classroom.

What are the three most important skills a TA? ›

Skills and experience you'll need
  • An ability to build good working relationships with both pupils and adults.
  • Good organisational skills.
  • Flexibility and creativity.
  • Enjoy working with children.
  • Good literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Ability to manage groups of pupils and deal with challenging behaviour.

What questions are asked in a special education teacher interview? ›

Role-specific questions
  • What do you enjoy most about teaching?
  • Why did you choose to work with students with disabilities?
  • What do you hope to contribute to the special education field?
  • What's the biggest challenge/reward in working with students who require special education?
  • Why do you want to work in our school?

How do you deal with misbehaving students? ›

What to avoid
  1. Do not allow the behavior to continue.
  2. Avoid making it a class issue – address only the student who is causing the disruption.
  3. Avoid an argument or shouting match.
  4. Do not blame or ridicule the student, or use sarcasm.
  5. Do not touch the student.

How do you deal with disruptive learners in the classroom? ›

7 tips for managing disruptive behaviour
  1. 1) Clear rules about what is acceptable and what is not. ...
  2. 2) Rapport. ...
  3. 3) Learning students' names is highly important. ...
  4. 4) Develop a flexible teaching style, and recognise when students aren't interested in the lesson you have prepared for them! ...
  5. 5) Build a team atmosphere.
Dec 11, 2017

How do you resolve conflict between learners? ›

Six Key Actions for Resolving Conflict
  1. Recognize emotions.
  2. Briefly describe the problem and share your positive intentions.
  3. Actively listen and seek FIRST to understand.
  4. Share your perspective of the problem and the impact.
  5. Work together on an action plan or next steps.
  6. Check for progress and express thanks.

What makes you a good special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers should always motivate their students and appreciate every achievement of the students. They should always look at the problems from a student's perspective to remain calm and optimistic. The teacher's dedication to the betterment of the students serves as a huge confidence builder for them.


1. Special Ed Teacher Interview Questions and Tips for Success
(Noodle Nook)
2. SEN Teaching Assistant Training
(Alpha Academy)
3. Becoming a SEN Teaching Assistant
(Think Employment)
4. SEN Teaching
(One Education)
5. SEN Teaching Assistant Interview Questions
(TA Interview Questions)
6. TEACHING ASSISTANT Interview Questions and Answers - How To PASS a TEACHER Interview!
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