The Teaching Assistant (TA) 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
At Chailey Heritage Foundation, 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, with a keen eye for detail as you will need to write down observations for the Teacher. However, as well as supporting teaching, you will be trained by nurses, 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.
For all these duties (and more) you will receive a first-class induction and ongoing training from qualified professionals. 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 whilst supporting you. There is a team of nurses available to support and advise staff, 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, therapists or teachers after 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, 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, our intranet and the wider 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 and families; visitors.
- Common sense - a lot of what you will do will be following teachers', therapists' or nurses' instructions. 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 and 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. 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 £12,639 rising to £15,081.
- Career progression opportunities within the school, for higher level TA posts with additional responsibilities. Salary starting at £15,598 rising to £18,593.
- 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 significant additional income.
What Our Staff Say
"I absolutely love every minute of my job. The work everyone does here is fantastic. I feel privileged to be a part of it!"
To view our current vacancies, please click here.
Chailey Heritage Foundation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young adults; as such an enhanced DBS disclosure is required.
Chailey Heritage Foundation is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion for all its young people and staff.