Helping teaching assistants take the next step

Ruth Peterson | May 27, 2020

Being a teaching assistant is a hugely rewarding and enjoyable job that provides a unique insight into how young people learn and develop in classrooms.

Many people who hold these roles may now be thinking of taking a step forward to hold more responsibility and become a fully qualified teacher. Alternatively, they may be thinking of stepping into an important non-teaching role but need further qualifications to do this.

Bradford College has been running online events aimed at supporting teaching assistants to work and study their way to the career of their dreams.

“I wish somebody had told me about this years ago”, was the feedback one student gave after the first of the sessions took place.

The right course for success

Bradford College tutor, Debbie Rolls, who has years of experience in managing recruitment into teaching and working with teaching assistants, said: “Lots of teaching assistants find themselves stuck in a rut. Our experience is that all TAs can further their career if they find the right course.”

The College has a wide ranges of routes into teaching from primary to adult education, enabling teaching assistants to lead their own classrooms or work in support roles within the education sector.

So far around 80 people from  across the country have taken advantage of  these new online events, which provide an overview of the teaching and education courses offered by Bradford College. Debbie said: “Some people worry they will struggle to become a teacher due to a number of reasons, But  at Bradford College we have supported many people from a range of very different backgrounds to success. GCSEs at grade C / 4 or above in English and Maths are very important for people hoping to become teachers but Bradford College will support people to gain these.

Dispelling myths

During the online events we also dispel various myths about getting into teaching, with Debbie explaining that age is rarely a barrier. “People aged as young as 17 or in their 50s have studied at Bradford College to become teachers.

The College has also taught students with a variety of needs, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and mental health conditions, with support available to all who need it.

Former students who began their careers as TAs are now working in senior positions in schools in Bradford, across the UK or teaching internationally. Many hold extra roles of responsibility such as SENDCOs, subject coordinators, assistant head teachers and even head teachers.

Students are entitled to financial assistance, to be paid back when they become qualified and earning teachers’ pay.

Our students go on to achieve

Bradford College is very proud of its former students. While some have joined the college with top-class degrees or teaching experience under their belts, some of its greatest successes began with little time spent in a classroom and few qualifications, but knew they wanted to teach. Those attending the online event heard from former students who are now doing their dream jobs:

Success stories from former students

The story of Adam, who was working on an internship at a school in Beijing but realised he wasn’t going to progress to a teaching job in China without qualifications. He came back to Bradford to study for two years before returning to China, where he is still successfully teaching.

Ifsheen talked about how she had joined the college when working as a TA in 2012. She studied a foundation degree while also working to gain her GCSEs, then progressed to a teaching course. She is now working as a deputy head in a primary school. SIfsheen believes the most important thing the college did was to give her confidence.

And Aadam Ahmed, who began studying at Bradford College aged 17, is now a Special Education Needs and Disability Coordinator and reception class teacher. He has recorded some fun and engaging classes for his pupils via YouTube.

Opportunities are available now

Bradford and Leeds provide plenty of opportunities for those who want to become teachers. Leeds is among the fastest-growing cities in the UK and Bradford has a young population with a growing need for teaching and support staff.

If you are considering training to become a teacher yourself, no matter what your age, background or circumstances, Bradford College can help you find a way into this rewarding career. If you would like to talk to someone, or have an urgent enquiry, please request a one-to-one meeting to discuss your career development by email: d.rolls@bradfordcollege.ac.uk

Further virtual events are due to take place on 28 May and 9 June. 

Bradford College’s routes into teaching can be found on its website. You can find out more about the degrees available and how to apply.

You can also see our visual profiles of people at different points in their teaching career.


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