Do Teaching Assistants Get Paid in The Holidays?

Do Teaching Assistants Get Paid in The Holidays?

Becoming a teaching assistant (TA) can be a fulfilling career path, offering the chance to make a lasting impact on young minds.  However, compensation is naturally a concern, particularly whether TAs receive income during school holidays. Let’s shed some light on what to expect depending on your contract type.

Understanding Teaching Assistant Pay Structure

Teaching assistants in the UK are typically remunerated according to the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSN) pay scales, which vary slightly depending on experience and qualifications. The starting salary for unqualified TAs is currently £18,131 per annum ( However, calculating a teaching assistant’s actual pay can be nuanced due to various factors, such as:

  • Qualifications: Higher qualifications like NVQs or degrees can lead to increased pay scales.
  • Experience: Salaries often rise with experience, with senior TAs or those with specialized skills commanding higher wages.
  • Location: Geographic location can also influence pay, with London and the South East typically offering higher salaries compared to other regions.

Permanent vs. Term-Time Contracts

A crucial factor influencing holiday pay is your contract type. Permanent full-time contracts ensure that teaching assistants receive payment during school holidays. Their annual salary is evenly distributed over 12 months, guaranteeing a consistent income throughout the year. This financial stability allows TAs to plan for expenses and make long-term financial decisions with confidence.

On the other hand, many teaching assistants are employed on term-time-only contracts. These contracts typically follow a 38- or 39-hour working week, with additional provisions for paid leave during school holidays (usually four or five weeks). While this may seem like TAs don’t receive income during breaks, they are entitled to annual leave pay, the duration of which may increase based on years of service. Additionally, some schools might offer top-up payments during holidays to bridge the income gap.

Beyond the Paycheck: The Benefits of Being a Teaching Assistant

While financial considerations are important, the role of a teaching assistant offers numerous advantages that extend beyond the paycheck. Here are some key benefits to consider:

  • Job Satisfaction: The opportunity to positively impact students’ lives and contribute to their educational journey is a significant source of satisfaction for many TAs. Witnessing students’ growth and development is incredibly rewarding.
  • Work-Life Balance: The structured school hours often provide a favorable work-life balance, particularly beneficial for individuals with familial or personal commitments. This allows TAs to dedicate time to their loved ones and personal pursuits outside of work.
  • Professional Development: The role of a teaching assistant offers valuable opportunities for professional development. TAs gain valuable classroom experience, hone their teaching skills, and develop a deeper understanding of the education system. This experience can be a stepping stone to further qualifications or even a teaching career.
  • School Holidays: School holiday periods offer valuable opportunities for rest, relaxation, and personal pursuits. Whether spending time with family, traveling, or pursuing hobbies, teaching assistants can make the most of their time off, returning to the classroom rejuvenated and ready for the new term.
  • Benefits and Pensions: Teaching assistants are typically eligible to join local authority sick pay and pension schemes. These benefits enhance their financial security and long-term prospects, providing peace of mind for the future.

Taking the Next Step

Investing in comprehensive training can equip you with the qualifications and skills needed to excel in this vital role. Look for reputable training programs that align with your career goals and interests. By taking the first step towards unlocking your potential, you can start your journey in the world of education.


A career as a teaching assistant in the UK is not only a financially viable choice but also a profoundly rewarding one. While the specifics of pay structures may vary depending on contract types, the role offers stability, satisfaction, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. If you’re passionate about education and making a difference in young lives, becoming a teaching assistant can be an enriching and fulfilling career path.

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