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A learning support assistant, commonly referred to as an LSA, works alongside teachers to support students’ learning and development in schools. They facilitate students’ learning, preparation, and comprehension of schoolwork. LSAs assist students of all ages and abilities, including those with special educational needs (SEN), by providing individualised or group support in various academic subjects and social situations.


Whether in primary, secondary, or SEN schools, LSAs play a crucial role in helping children develop literacy and numeracy skills during their formative years. From helping teachers prepare school materials, managing classroom behaviour and supervising students in social settings, LSAs have a range of responsibilities. They play a crucial role in creating an inclusive learning environment and helping students reach their full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.


In this guide, we delve deeper into the job description of a learning support assistant, exploring their roles, responsibilities, required skills, qualifications, salary expectations and career progression opportunities.

Duties of a Learning Support Assistant


Within an SEN setting, LSAs undertake a range of duties and responsibilities aimed at providing tailored support to students with diverse learning needs. Some of their key duties and responsibilities include:


  • Learning development: Helping vulnerable children who may find it challenging to learn because they have existing hardships, such as dyslexia, a health issue, a disability or even because English is not their first language. 
  • Adapting the curriculum: Modifying and adapting teaching materials and activities to suit the needs and abilities of students with SEN, ensuring access to the curriculum and promoting inclusive learning experiences. 
  • Assisting with personal care: Providing assistance with personal care tasks, such as toileting, feeding, and mobility support, for students with physical disabilities or medical needs, in accordance with school policies and procedures. 
  • Promoting independence: Encouraging and supporting students to develop independence and self-help skills. 
  • Behaviour management: Supporting students in managing their behaviour and emotions. They provide guidance and reinforcement to promote positive behaviour. 
  • Facilitating communication: Assisting students with speech, language, and communication difficulties by using alternative communication methods, such as visual aids, sign language, or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. 
  • Collaboration: Collaborating with teachers, therapists, and other professionals involved in the students’ care to ensure a coordinated approach to support and share information on student progress and needs. 
  • Monitoring and reporting: Observing and monitoring student progress, recording and reporting on achievements, challenges, and interventions, and contributing to progress reviews and meetings with parents and caregivers. 

A Day in the Life of a Learning Support Assistant


While no two days are the same when working as a learning support assistant in an SEN setting, here is generally what you can expect. Typically, the day will begin with preparation, as the LSA reviews individual education plans (IEPs) and support materials tailored to students’ specific needs. Upon arrival, the LSA assists in welcoming students.


Throughout the day, the LSA works closely with teachers and therapists to implement support strategies, adapting curriculum materials and activities to accommodate diverse learning styles and abilities. They provide one-on-one assistance to students, guiding them through tasks, reinforcing concepts, and offering encouragement to promote confidence and independence. Additionally, they facilitate group activities, promote positive behaviour, and assist with personal care tasks as needed.


The day concludes with reflection and planning, as the LSA reviews achievements, identifies areas for growth, and prepares for the next day’s activities, ensuring continuity and consistency in supporting students.

Learning Support Assistant Skills and Knowledge


If you’re hoping to find work as a learning support assistant, these are some useful skills, knowledge and attributes to develop:


  • Empathy and compassion: LSAs must demonstrate empathy and compassion towards students with diverse needs, understanding their challenges and providing support in a caring and nurturing manner. 
  • Patience: Patience is crucial as LSAs work with students who may require additional time and support to grasp concepts or complete tasks. Remaining calm and patient in challenging situations is essential. 
  • Flexibility: LSAs need to adapt to changing circumstances and individual student needs, being flexible in their approaches and strategies to accommodate varying learning styles and abilities. 
  • Effective communication: Strong communication skills are essential for building positive relationships with students, colleagues, parents, and other professionals. LSAs must be able to communicate clearly and sensitively, both verbally and non-verbally. 
  • Time management: LSAs juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities throughout the day, requiring strong organisational skills and the ability to prioritise effectively to meet the needs of students and maintain a structured learning environment. 
  • Understanding of SEN: A good understanding of special educational needs and disabilities, including knowledge of common conditions, strategies for support, and legal frameworks such as the SEND Code of Practice. 

Required Education, Qualifications and Experience


To qualify for a role as a learning support assistant, candidates are typically required to meet certain educational criteria. This includes holding a high school diploma or equivalent, along with at least five GCSEs graded A to C, including English and mathematics. Additionally, many schools prefer candidates to have completed a Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which equips individuals with essential knowledge and skills for effectively assisting in educational settings. While not mandatory, a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field can enhance your understanding of educational principles and practices.


Prior experience working with children, especially those with special educational needs and additional learning needs, is highly valued. This experience can be acquired through volunteer work, personal life experiences, or roles such as babysitting or tutoring. Volunteering in schools or educational settings is also beneficial, as it provides hands-on experience and insights into the role of a learning support assistant, allowing candidates to develop essential skills and gain knowledge on the national key stage curriculum.

Salary Expectations for Learning Support Assistants


In the United Kingdom, the average salary for a learning support assistant is £22,407 per year or £11.49 per hour. Entry-level positions typically start at around £20,800 per year, while more experienced workers can earn up to £30,570 per year.


It’s important to note that salaries may differ based on the specific school as well as regional variations. Additionally, opportunities for career advancement and additional responsibilities may impact earning potential over time.


Despite variations in salary, many individuals find working as a learning support assistant to be rewarding due to the opportunity to make a positive impact on students’ lives and contribute to their educational journey.

Career Paths and Progression Opportunities of a Learning Support Assistant


Specialisation in specific areas:

Learning support assistants can choose to specialise in specific areas of education, such as special educational needs (SEN), behaviour support, or literacy and numeracy intervention. Specialising allows LSAs to develop expertise in a particular area and take on more specialised roles within educational settings.


Higher education and qualifications:

Some learning support assistants may pursue further education and qualifications to advance their careers. This could include obtaining a Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, or even a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education or a related field. Higher qualifications can open opportunities for leadership roles or specialised positions within the education sector.

Progression to senior or leadership Roles:

With experience and additional qualifications, learning support assistants may progress to senior or leadership roles within schools. This could include roles such as senior learning support assistant, inclusion coordinator, or SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator). These roles involve taking on greater responsibilities, such as overseeing support provision for a specific group of students or leading on SEN provision within a school. 


Transition to teaching:

Some learning support assistants may choose to pursue teacher training and transition into teaching roles. With experience working in educational settings and a solid understanding of classroom management and student support strategies, LSAs can make successful candidates for teacher training programs. This pathway allows LSAs to further their careers and become qualified teachers, with opportunities to specialise in areas such as SEN or specific subject areas. 

The role of a learning support assistant is both rewarding and impactful within educational settings. LSAs play a vital role in supporting the development and learning of children, particularly those with special educational needs or additional learning needs. 


The impact of learning support assistants extends far beyond the classroom. They provide invaluable support, guidance, and encouragement to students, helping them overcome challenges and achieve their full potential. By working collaboratively with teachers, parents, and other professionals, learning support assistants create inclusive and supportive learning environments where all children can succeed. 


For those who are compassionate, adaptable, and committed to making a difference in the lives of children, a career as a learning support assistant offers meaningful opportunities to positively impact the future generation. 


Are you looking to take the next step in your SEN career? Why not take a look at our latest SEN roles. 


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