We are currently recruiting for Teaching Assistants to join our school. The Teaching Assistant role is vital in ensuring that our very complex and disabled children can go to school, to learn, make friends and have fun. It is hard work, and requires commitment, but it is a hugely fulfilling job and can bring real joy.
The role of a Teaching Assistant (TA)
At Chailey Heritage the teaching assistant job is very different to that in a mainstream school. You will support the teacher in creating opportunities for the children to learn, each in their own individual way. You will need to be creative and patient, and very observant, as you will need to write down observations for the teacher. However, as well as supporting teaching, you will be trained by nurses and therapists and senior staff to carry out many other procedures, including:
Eating and drinking – learning how different children can be helped to eat and drink safely.
Personal care – ensuring that the children’s hygiene needs are taken care of safely and with dignity
Powered mobility – learning to use powered wheelchairs and other equipment safely, and how to encourage children to learn to drive.
Manual handling – learning to use all sorts of equipment with the children while keeping the children and yourself safe.
Safeguarding – you will be trained to understand all aspects of safeguarding, with an emphasis on what this means for children with disabilities.
When you have sufficient experience, you will also be trained in the following:
Gastrostomies – learning how to use equipment to be able to feed a child through a tube.
Medicines – learning how to ensure that the children you work with receive the correct medicine at the right time.
Epilepsy – learning how to safely manage children who have seizures, and what to do in an emergency.
Training and support
For all these duties, and more, you will receive first-class induction and ongoing training from qualified professionals, and you will not be expected to carry them out alone until you have been signed-off as competent. You will be assigned a ‘buddy’ to mentor you and make sure that you are confident in your new role, and you will have a teacher and senior TA who will set targets for you and support you. There is a team of nurses available to support and advise staff and manage emergencies and if necessary call the on-site Doctor.
You will in time become a very proficient practitioner with many valuable skills. Often our TAs go on to train as nurses or therapists or teachers having spent several years with us.
What are we looking for?
Literacy & Numeracy skills: You will need to write observations about the children, we don’t worry about spelling but we need to be able to read and understand them. You will need to be able to read and understand instructions on equipment and medicine bottles, syringes and so on.
ICT skills: Many of our children rely on technology, for learning, for fun, for speaking and many more things, so you will need to be able to learn to use their technologies. Also we rely on e-mails and using our intranet and the internet to find information.
Communication skills: you will need to be able to communicate effectively and appropriately with all sorts of people as well as the children, including: other professionals; parents & families; visitors.
Common sense: a lot of what you will do will be following teachers’ and therapists or nurses’ instructions, but once you are competent, you may well be working on your own with a child. We need to be sure that you will be safe and that the input you give to the child will be useful and relevant. There are also many ‘health & safety’ factors to understand working with our children.
Team work: you will be a member of many teams. It is crucial that we work together effectively and efficiently, and this means excellent communication, co-operation and respect for each other.
What we offer
Hours of work are 32.5 hours per week (9am - 4pm), Monday to Friday, term time only.
Competitive rates of pay, Starting salary of £12,513 rising to £14,855
Career progression opportunities within the school, for higher level TA posts with additional responsibilities salary starting at £15,433 rising to £18,409.
Once trained, teaching assistants can also register as bank staff to work on our residential bungalows out of school hours, at weekends and in the holidays, as well as at our holiday clubs. This can bring you a significant additional income.