Angela Davies is a Teaching Assistant Apprentice through Inspire ATA and has her placement at The Kings C of E Academy, which is a secondary school in Staffordshire.

She is enjoying her TA role and has made some good relationships with the staff and students and feels part of the team at the school. 

Angela, 55, took some time out of her career previously to support her own children and also worked in retail, but she is now intent on becoming a Teaching Assistant. If you are interested to find out what it’s like to be Teaching Assistant in a secondary school read Angela’s apprenticeship journey so far:

‘I’d had a lot of time out of my career when my children were young but once they were in secondary school, I thought I would like to do something for myself. I had previous experience working in retail and also in a primary school so applied for the role at Kings C of E Academy. I was a little unsure about taking a role at a secondary school working with older children but I decided to go for an interview anyway and see what it was like.

The interview went well, everyone was really nice to me, and I was offered the job, so I decided to accept the offer. My last memory is being in secondary school, I can remember it vividly, I can remember the worries I had as a teenager going through school, and I found that my experience has helped me be supportive to the children. The apprenticeship fits really well with my life and family commitments.

For me, the key reason for choosing an apprentice is being able to earn while I learn. I’ve learned such a lot through doing the apprenticeship and still being able to support my family financially and learn something new is great.

I have received great support from my LMP tutor Louse. I know I can always talk about anything with her and is always really helpful. I really struggle with technology, so I was daunted about doing all my learning remotely. But it’s not been as difficult as I thought and even though my meetings with Louise are over teams, they’re just as valuable as if we were face to face and I learn everything I need to in order to complete my assignments.

The key skill I have learnt is persistence, and that you’re never too old to learn something new. With working in retail, I always thought my self-confidence was quite high, but with taking such a long period of time out of work due to caring for my children, my self confidence had dipped. But doing the apprenticeship it has gradually helped to build that back up and I feel like I’m finding myself again.

My typical day as a teaching assistant apprentice

I arrive at school 8.20am and have a team meeting. Sometimes the meeting might be training, or it might be an update meeting if anything happened the previous day. The meeting usually lasts 30 mins and we’re in the classroom by 9am and the school day begins.

We all have our own timetables that we have to follow, once the team meeting is over we then move to our assigned classrooms.

In any one day I can be involved with different year groups and classes. I’ve helped in most of the school years now and help children with lots of different abilities.

Sometimes I’ll be in the same class and will see the teacher deliver the same class to different year groups, it’s interesting to see how the teachers adapt their learning to the different key stages of the curriculum.

I get regular breaks and lunchtimes, I spend my breaks in the staff room and we always have a laugh and support each other.  In the afternoon I attend the lessons to support the children and teachers. On a Monday I stay for an extra hour for staff CPD. I find the CPD sessions useful and will always learn something new from them. They’ve also helped a lot with my apprenticeship work.

I’m going to be getting involved with an after-school German class when we go back in September. There are other extracurricular activities you can get involved with. But I’ve been doing German in Duolingo for about 3 years now, so I volunteered to help with that.

What advice or what would you say to someone who is thinking about working in a secondary school?

Go for it. The children are amazing once you get to know them and extremely polite. We all know what its like to be young and finding your way in the world. But you get to help shape who they’ll be and I find it really rewarding. It’s such a great feeling when you’re walking into school and you hear them all saying ‘Hiya miss!!’ The children take an interest in you too, they’ll ask how I am. Bring your own experience to the table, it really helps when you’re teaching. There’s always someone who is experienced on hand to help you, so you’re never on your own.

My next step after completing my apprenticeship, I’d really like to stay at the school. I never thought I’d want to work in a secondary school, but now I can’t imagine doing anything different. I would really recommend this training programme to anyone looking to work in the school environment.

LMP Teaching Assistant Louise tutor added;

‘I have had the privilege of witnessing tremendous growth in confidence throughout Angela’s apprenticeship journey. From day one, she exhibited dedication and a willingness to learn, but it’s been truly inspiring to see how she has evolved. Angela stated she was initially nervous about transitioning from primary to secondary school but now wouldn’t look back. I’m very proud of Angela and have achievements so far!’

Well done Angela, keep up the fantastic work.

If you would like to find out more about Apprenticeships and how they can work for you, please contact the Inspire ATA team or visit      Inspire ATA is approved by the Department for Education as a Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agency and is listed on the Register of Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agencies.