Portsmouth is leading the way in attracting people to become teaching assistants as a national shortage of professionals has led schools and colleges in the city to join forces with the council.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative to recruit and retain the best professionals for the city’s schools and academies welcomed adult education providers, The Learning Place and City of Portsmouth College to Central Library for a special information event.

Since launching these information events in July 2022, the council has supported employment and training opportunities in the city:

  • 20 people have started English and maths functional skills courses (equivalent to a GCSE qualification)
  • Three people have begun teaching assistant apprenticeships with primary schools in Portsmouth
  • 28 people have signed up to trial taster mornings designed to give confidence for those wanting to work in a school or college

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Portsmouth is a great place to work as a teaching assistant. We need more people who are willing to support children and young people in the classroom.

“Schools, colleges and the council are working together to solve this by partnering on a series of information events. So far, over 200 people have attended these sessions with many going on to apply for training or jobs.

“By bringing together different partners under one roof, the events act as a first step for those wanting more information about careers in the classroom.”

Schools and colleges have found it increasingly challenging to recruit support staff since the pandemic. While efforts to increase pay are ongoing, many people remain unaware about the progression and career development opportunities on offer.

There are plenty of opportunities to progress in the role that include specialisation or becoming more senior. Those who start off as a teaching assistant could use the experience as a steppingstone into teaching.

While not always a requirement, some schools and colleges will need people to be qualified up to level 2 in English and maths. If people do not have these qualifications, adult education providers, the City of Portsmouth College and The Learning Place can help.

Cheryl Head, programme lead for apprenticeships and community learning at Portsmouth City Council said:

“There is a real need for people in Portsmouth to become teaching assistants. An apprenticeship is a good option for those wanting to earn while they learn.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming more people to start their training journey with us over the coming weeks.”

Last year, The Learning Place supported 74 apprentices and 965 adult learners across community and family learning as well as courses in English, mathematics and English for speakers of other languages.

Teach Portsmouth plan to host more recruitment events in the future and encourage those interested to sign up to their monthly newsletter. For more information on becoming a teaching assistant, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/supporting.