Learning support assistant

education support assistant additional support needs (ASN) assistant special educational needs (SEN) classroom assistant support worker
Education and training

Career outlook for learning support assistant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help children and young people who need special support to make the most of education by working with them in the classroom.

You’d assist teachers to create the best environment and suitable lessons for the pupils.

They may find it difficult to learn because of a disability or health issue, family circumstances that have disrupted their education, or social, emotional and behavioural factors.

Depending on the age of the children and their individual needs, you would:

  • Help with schoolwork under the supervision of the teacher
  • Prepare learning materials
  • Help children understand instructions
  • Carry out a child's care plan
  • Encourage children to communicate
  • Give information and help to teachers
  • Support children during social activities and outings
  • Help children during therapy sessions
  • Look after children's physical needs
  • Keep records

You’d need to be patient and sensitive. You’d comfort the children when they are upset and encourage them to be confident and independent. But sometimes it would be necessary to be firm.

You could work in a special school that supports children with severe or complex disabilities, or with an individual pupil or small group of pupils in a mainstream class.

Working conditions


You might work school hours, Monday to Friday, during term-time. However, many assistants work part-time. You may sometimes go to training and meetings outside school hours. Some special schools are residential. If you work in this type of school, you may have to work a mixture of shifts covering seven days a week.


You would work in a school.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Reliable
  • Mentoring
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Social conscience
  • Observation

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.


There are no set qualifications. Schools and local authorities have different requirements. 

Most employers look for a good general education and experience working with young people who have additional support needs.

The following qualifications would be useful: 

  • Skills for Work: Early Education and Childcare (SCQF Level 4/5)
  • National Certificate (NC) in Education Support Assistance (SCQF Level 6)
  • HNC/HND in Additional Support Needs: Supporting the Individual (SCQF Level 7/8)

To enter an Additional Support Needs HNC/HND (SCQF Level 7/8) usually requires National 5 qualifications and two Highers.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths  

A wide range of subjects will be of value for this role.

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

Helpful to have

You are likely to need some voluntary experience to find paid work.

Experience and qualifications in volunteering such as SQA Volunteering Skills Award (SCQF level 3-5) may be helpful as will a First Aid certificate.