Support Staff


Career Progression for Support Staff working in schools

  • Could you tell me what qualifications I should have if I am a member of support staff and want to become a teacher in the near of distant future?


How do I become a TA? I have no previous experience

All vacancies for TAs (and other staff) in Kensington and Chelsea are advertised on our Jobs pages. Usually posts require experience of working with children and/or young people.  Experience in a school setting is helpful to your application.

If you do not have any experience, or children of your own, you could consider acting as a volunteer.  This could be during the day, or in an after-school or breakfast club.

If you have had no experience of regular contact with children then it would be sensible to reflect on whether this is the right sort of career for you.  To help with this, you might like to look at the Teaching Assistants Section of the Career Planner Website.

You may be eligible for free careers guidance and should enquire about this at Jobcentre+ or at your local Connexions office.

I want to be a TA – what course should I do?

Jobs for TAs do not usually require specific qualifications, although this may change in the future. Candidates need to show that they have the skills, qualities and experience to do the job; it is a good idea to look at job descriptions and person specifications to see what is required. 

Visit the Kensington and Chelsea College Website (external link) for advice and guidance. Discuss with them if they can offer help in getting a work placement and support.

Alternatively, if you want to work with children in a school setting, you might consider doing:

  •  Level 3 qualification in Child Care or Early Years and Education
  •  gaining a Certificate in Playwork
  •  gaining a Youth Work qualification

For a full list of courses available visit the Support Staff Qualifications Section of the Training and Development Agency Website.

I work at nursery and would like further my professional development. I am currently NVQ Level 3 trained but would like to enhance this. Is it possible to do a degree? And if so is there any funding available to help?

You may like to explore a Foundation Degree which combines work based learning with academic study. You can complete the degree on a Full Time basis in 2 years, without needing to have a break in your employment. You will need the support of your employer as you may require a day a week to attend university (this will depend upon the course you choose to do). Many Foundation Degree courses have very flexible teaching arrangements to fit in with work. After completing a Foundation degree you would be eligible to go on to study for a full Honours Degree.

There are no set entry requirements and the university or college will decide if you are eligible. They will look at your experience and gauge whether you would be able to cope with the demands of the course through interview and possibly a written assessment. Each university or college would have their own way of assessing your eligibility.

You would apply to Student Finance England for financial support. This is a service allowing full-time higher education students from England to apply for finance online. You can find out more by visiting the Student Finance Section of the UK Government Website (external link). In general, a Foundation Degree is a qualification that is eligible for student finance. However, your university or college will need to qualify and whether you are personally eligible will depend upon your personal situation.

Universities and colleges have their own student finance advice services. Once you find the qualification that you are interested in contact the university or college for their advice and guidance.

You will apply for a place on a Foundation Degree through the Universities and College Admissions Service Website (UCAS) Website (external link).  


I am currently a TA, how do I become an HLTA?

Although central funding is no longer available, Teaching Assistants interested in attaining the Higher Level Teaching Assistant status from 2011 onwards can do so independently if they are able to secure funding for the cost of training and assessment. The training cost will vary depending on the route taken, but the cost of assessment is £450 per student.

In order to gain status, TAs must collect evidence against the 33 HLTA standards and undergo a ½ day assessment in school. The entry requirements are a Level 2 qualification (or higher) in Literacy and Numeracy and, as the intensity of training routes have been reduced in light of the change in funding, it is important that you are confidently achieving some or all of the standards in your current role.

For further information, resources and providers visit our Support Staff Qualifications page.

I've almost completed the HLTA status, what can I do next?

There are 2 outcomes of the CLPE course – there is the HLTA status but there is also the option of gaining points towards the first year of a Foundation Degree. Please speak to the CLPE about this to see if these points can be transferrable to a range of Foundation Degrees in different institutions. It may mean that you can complete a Foundation Degree in less than 2 years. You will need to do certain pieces of work, based around the CLPE course, that you submit and that can be accredited with Foundation Degree points.

Here are some links to a range of different foundation degrees: