School Support Staff

Welcome to our Support Staff pages

If you are thinking of a career in a school, you can learn more about the many different types of positions here.

All School Support Vacancies can be found on the London Borough of Hounslow website

To find out more about each post please visit the following sections:

Classroom Support
School Management
Clerical and Administrative Roles
Specialist Staff

Information on career development can be found by visiting the Training and Development Agency’s (TDA) Career Development Framework for Support Staff

Classroom Support

There are many different classroom support roles available in schools that reflect the diversity and needs of today’s school pupils.

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants are also often referred to as Classroom or Learning Support Assistants. This is an important role which compliments the Class Teacher and supports learning for all pupils.

As a Teaching Assistant, you would work under the guidance of the Class Teacher and would not be expected to undertake any direct teaching responsibilities or lead the class. However you may be required to supervise the class in the temporary absence of the teacher.

Duties and responsibilities can include: planning, delivering and evaluating teaching and learning activities with the Class Teacher, helping to prepare for lessons, assisting pupils who require additional support, observing pupil performance and behaviour, setting up resources and using ICT.

If you are interested in working as a Teaching Assistant you will need to demonstrate good literacy, numeracy and English language skills and have some previous experience of working with children. Where a Teaching Assistant position may specialise in a particular area of teaching or the curriculum (such as SEN or EAL) then you will need to demonstrate the necessary skills to work in this area.

Whilst there is no formal qualification needed, this is a very competitive market and therefore an increasing number of schools will also ask for applicants to have NVQ Level 2 or 3 in Supporting Teaching and Learning, based on the National Occupational Standards. The Local Authority also offers training, support and professional development for Teaching Assistants, once you have secured a post in a school.

Higher Level Teaching Assistants

Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status has been developed to enable existing classroom staff to develop their career, reinforce their skills and enable senior support staff to work in the classroom and help to further teaching and learning.

In order to become an HLTA, you will be assessed against a series of standards as laid down by a programme developed by the Training and Development Agency (TDA). HLTAs work closely with the teacher, complementing their role and helping free up teacher time to enable each child to work to his/her full potential. Many schools find that by employing staff with HLTA status, workloads are distributed more evenly and work-life balance is more effectively managed.

If you are interested in becoming an HLTA you can look for vacancies on our Vacancies page. If you already work as a Teaching or Learning Support Assistant in one of our schools, then you can contact Jean Garreau on 020 8583 4153 to find out about the borough’s programme and support.

Cover Supervisors

Cover Supervisors are a relatively new role and are typically found in Secondary schools. A Cover Supervisor is likely to be used to cover short-term absences of teachers such as unexpected sick leave or professional development leave. It is a varied but demanding position: responsibilities include setting work for pupils in accordance with school policy, behaviour management and supervision, collecting work at the end of the lesson and reporting back to the appropriate senior member of staff.

A Cover Supervisor is classed as a non-teaching member of staff and is not permitted to undertake any teaching and learning activities or duties. There are currently no qualifications needed for this role although schools will require staff who are experienced in the classroom and who are able to demonstrate the skills necessary for this post.

Specialist Teaching Support.

In our schools we have a number of specialist staff who support the teaching of some of the children in our schools who have more complex learning needs. For more information about these types of roles please see our information about the support services in the borough.

School Management

The day-to-day management of a school and its facilities is vital to the success of a school and its ability to serve the needs of the community.

Roles within schools which contribute to and support the running of the school can include:

Facilities Management – Caretakers and Cleaning Staff

The staff in a school responsible for facilities management, deal with the upkeep and maintenance of the school premises and grounds. The role of Facilities Manager (traditionally referred to as Caretaker) can involve working in shift patterns and may involve more than one member of staff within a larger school. Duties and responsibilities include maintaining the security of the school during the school day and during any extra-curricular events or activities, dealing with grounds maintenance, carrying out basic repairs, stock taking and supply and developing relationships with outside contractors.

There are currently no formal qualifications required for the role of Site / Facilities Manager although schools may offer training in Health and Safety, Maintenance, First Aid or Child Protection. Any previous experience or training in these areas would be beneficial. Once in post, there are a number of developmental opportunities and awards available.

Cleaning staff are also an integral part of the upkeep of the school, its hygiene and accessibility for staff and pupils. Duties will involve working in accordance with health and safety regulations and school policy. School cleaning staff may work early morning or twilight shifts to accommodate the school day and positions can be on a supply or permanent basis.

No formal qualifications or previous experience are usually required for these posts but staff may undertake a NVQ Level 1 or 2 in Cleaning.

School Midday Supervisors and Assistants

School Midday Supervisors/Assistants (SMSAs) are sometimes referred to as Lunchtime Supervisors/Assistants and look after the welfare of pupils in school during the lunchtime break.

Responsibilities and duties can include: supervising pupil behaviour indoors and outdoors, helping younger children with tasks such as cutting up food, ensuring the health and safety of pupils at all times, distributing and tidying away lunchtime resources, assisting with play activities, dealing with any misbehaviour and reporting to a senior member of staff. All midday staff are expected to be aware of safeguarding and child protection legislation and their responsibilities in relation to this.

SMSA vacancies can be on a part-time or full-time basis. Depending on the number of pupils, there may be several positions within a school.

Catering Staff

School catering staff plan, prepare, cook and serve meals to pupils and staff in accordance with school policy and a fixed budget. Duties and responsibilities can include: planning menus, following guidelines on nutrition and healthy eating, preparing meals, complying with food safety legislation, monitoring and managing supplies within a budget and developing relationships with food suppliers.

There are several food hygiene and catering qualifications that are recommended for school catering staff such as Foundation NVQs in food hygiene, preparation and cooking.

Clerical and Administrative Roles

The management of the business of a school can be a complex and varied job. Depending on the size and nature of the school, this task may be divided between a number of professionals within a school or be the responsibility of one member of staff in co-ordination with the senior leadership team.

Roles within a school covering work of this nature may include:

Schools Business Managers (Bursars)

As a School Business Manager (which might also be referred to as a Bursar or School Administrator in some schools), you will use your skills to manage the school’s finances, policies, resources and planning. Depending on the size and range of the school you work in, a School Business Manager may also undertake a range of other bespoke responsibilities to support the smooth running of the school as a centre of the local community. You may be part of the senior leadership team in the school and you will work closely with the Headteacher and Deputy Head to plan the staffing, budgets and running of the school.

The following booklet from the Training and Development Agency (TDA) "Discover the benefits of school business managers" provides a full generic job description of the role. (attach)

There are a number of qualifications to assist School Business Managers to develop their skills in this role.

The Certificate of School Business Management (LINK) is aimed at those who currently work in School Administration and would like to further their skills or those who are new to field of school business management.

The Diploma of School Business Management is a further programme for experienced School Business Managers who would like to play a full part in the senior management of their school.

School Office Staff

School Office staff cover a wide range of responsibilities, including being the clerical ‘face’ of the school and point of contact for staff and parents. School Administrators, Receptionists, Personal Assistants or Front Office staff will provide a key role in the day-to-day running of the school, communication between staff, pupils and parents, handling of staff rotas, parent enquiries, pupil absence and admissions. These roles vary greatly in responsibility but can be broadly similar to the School Business Manager position.

Previous experience for these roles is not always necessary but good demonstration of written and spoken English language skills is vital. Evidence of sound organisational skills, prioritising, customer service and excellent communication is also necessary to fulfil the role. Any previous administrative or secretarial experience is beneficial.

HR / Finance Roles

Some larger schools and particularly at Secondary level, may employ a separate HR Officer or Finance and Payroll Officer to handle the policy, recruitment, absence, salaries and budget of the school. In other schools, these duties may fall to the School Business Manager or School Administrator.

Previous experience of working in the HR and Finance sectors will be necessary for these positions and experience working with schools is particularly beneficial.

Specialist Staff

There are a number of specialist staff who work in our schools to support the learning needs of our pupils and the teaching of our staff.

Some of these roles deal with Pupil Welfare and others are specialist and technical to support the resources and teaching of the school. All specialist staff are integral to the running of the school as a centre of learning and as a key component of the community.

Some of the roles you may find available in schools include:

Parent Support Advisers

Schools have a duty to ensure that all figures in a child’s life and education are able to support the learning and development of the child in the best possible way. The Training and Development Agency (TDA) developed the role of the Parent Support Adviser (PSA) for schools to focus on providing pupils and their families with support and to provide a more collaborative and extended service to the community. A Parent Support Adviser will offer parenting support courses and classes, make assessments and provide one-to-one parenting support for parents across the school. The aim of the role is to ensure that difficulties are identified and tackled at an early stage and that families are given access to more specialised help and support where necessary. Other responsibilities include helping to improve behaviour and attendance and overcome any specialised needs or barriers to learning.

As this role has been developed by the TDA, there are a number of support and training initiatives available. For more information about these please go to: TDA PSA training and Support To work in this role you will need experience of working in the education or social work field with children and families as well as good assessment, negotiation and communication skills. NVQ Levels in Children and Young People and related areas are sometimes required and beneficial to the role.

Educational Welfare Officer

Under UK law, parents are responsible for ensuring that their registered children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) attend school regularly and in turn, Local Authorities also have a duty to ensure that parents undertake this responsibility. Education Welfare Officers act on behalf of the local authority to enforce a parent's duty to ensure their child attends school regularly. An Education Welfare Officer will work closely with one or more schools, the pupils and their families to deal with any attendance issues. This can involve arranging school and home visits where necessary and referring parents for support. Duties of the role also involve dealing with any welfare issues which may be affecting a child’s ability to attend school, addressing and reporting any Special Educational Needs (SEN), dealing with Looked-After Children and advising on alternative education provision.

To work in this role you will need a good standard of written and spoken English language and excellent negotiation, organisation, communication and assessment skills. Some posts may also require a higher education or professional qualification, such as a Diploma in Education Welfare, or a teaching qualification. Previous experience of working with families in a counselling or social work environment is extremely beneficial.

Learning Mentor

Learning Mentors support, motivate and challenge pupils who are underachieving in schools as a form of pastoral support. The aim of the role is to help pupils overcome barriers to learning caused by social, emotional and behavioral problems. Duties and responsibilities of this post can include: identifying pupils who would benefit from mentoring, liaising with parents and carers, implementing strategies to support pupil confidence, listening to and helping pupils resolve a range of personal or social issues, monitoring pupil attendance and working closely with teachers and other professionals across the Children’s Workforce.

To work in this role you will need excellent listening and empathy skills and enjoy working with young people. A National Training Framework has been developed by the DCSF and includes NVQs at levels 3 and 4 in Learning, Development and Support Services. For more information you can also visit the Children’s Workforce Development Council website.

School Medical Staff

School Nurses provide an essential link between school, home and the community, that helps safeguard the well-being of children and young people. The role of School Nurse forms an integral part of the school health team which, depending on the size of the school and needs of the pupils, may include other healthcare professionals. Duties and responsibilities of this role may include: supporting children with complex health needs, running immunisation and vaccination programmes where appropriate, running clinics or parenting programmes, assessing the health needs of every five-year-old pupil and delivering First Aid and medical advice where necessary.

Other medical staff who may work in a school are teaching support employees who are assigned to a pupil with particular special needs. These are varied and complex roles and can include supporting a child with a mild or severe learning or physical disability. As with the role of School Nurse, all healthcare professionals working in schools should have the necessary and appropriate professional medical training and expertise.


The most common technician roles in schools are at secondary level in the subjects of ICT and Science although you may find technical support roles for other subjects too. School Technicians provide valuable information, resources and expertise to support teaching and learning

ICT Technicians - The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) has developed a career progression framework for information and communications technology (ICT) support staff. The framework a self-assessment tool, so that ICT technicians can identify the areas they need to develop in order to progress their careers. You can download the framework from the Becta website

Science Technicians - the Association for Science Education (ASE) have composed a career framework for School Science Technicians which outlines four levels of expertise. For more information about the career structure and role of science technicians, go to the ASE website:

There are a number of other specialist roles you may find available in schools that deal with teaching and learning, pastoral or resource support. These roles will be dependent on the needs of the school and its structure. Please check individual school websites and our Vacancies page (LINK) for more information.