A nursery teacher with a class of five pupils

What is Expected of Agency Teaching Assistants and Nursery Nurses?

If you are considering a career as an agency teaching assistant or a nursery nurse, you might be wondering what would be expected of you. Here are some suggestions from us at Simply Supply.


Be Supportive


As an agency teaching assistant or nursery nurse, you will be expected to take guidance, but you also need to use your own initiative to provide support to the children in your care and your colleagues by being sensitive to their needs. You will be expected to be proactive in ensuring the children are all engaged and that general tasks are completed.


Maintain a Positive Attitude


Life as an agency teaching assistant and nursery nurse is full of unexpected developments. It is important that you maintain a sense of humour, as well as a positive attitude towards both your pupils and other teachers working with you. This will help keep even the most stressful situation under control.


Communication is also very important. Be clear, and concise when you communicate, and maintain a calm atmosphere, tone of voice, and body language. This will ensure that your interaction with the children is clearly understood and does not escalate any negative situations.


Try and establish a positive working relationship with the pupils. Learning their names can be helpful in this endeavour!


Be consistent


Children, especially younger ones, need consistency. If you are consistent and praise positive behaviour, they will understand what you want from them. Once they know what to expect, they can perform within those boundaries. Inconsistency can be extremely stressful for them, leading them to act out.


nursery teacher with student raising hand 1000px - What is Expected of Agency Teaching Assistants and Nursery Nurses?


Understand the Learning Needs

As an agency teaching assistant, you will need to be aware of the curriculum and schemes of work for the age of children with whom you are working. If you are unclear, it is best to ask.


Having understood the schemes of work and planning given, you will need to ensure that the children have appropriate learning activities. These should be differentiated, engaging, and lively to keep the pupils involved in the learning process.

You should also be aware of any children with additional needs under your remit. Always ask, so you know for sure.


Be Aware of Your Charges


Active little children can often slip out of your range of perception. As they are your responsibility, it’s good practice to know how many children you have under your care and maintain a headcount throughout the day. This is even more important when they are moving around.


Understand the Needs of the School or Nursery


Different schools and nurseries have different behaviour management policies. Do not assume, and always ask and understand the policy of the school or nursery you are working for.


Marking is normally the responsibility of the class teacher but should you need to mark work, understand that each school will have a different marking policy, so make sure you understand it if you are asked to do this.


Dress Appropriately


Before you go to a booking, read the Simply Supply ‘Supply Guide’ to ensure you have a good understanding of the setting, directions, contacts, times, and dress code. Most education and childcare settings will discourage visual tattoos, piercings, long sharp fingernails, and clothing with slogans or political statements.


Dress appropriately, and remember that young children (and children with special needs) can grab and tug items of jewellery, clothing, or long hair. Try to avoid wearing things that might end up causing injuries to you or your pupils.


Be aware of your own personal hygiene and smells, be it bad breath or body odour as you will often need to be working in close proximity to others. In the same respect please use strong perfume and deodorants sparingly.


Nurseries tend to have a lot of low-level and floor-based work. Wear soft shoes or carry slippers so that you don’t accidentally hurt a child if you accidentally step on their fingers or toes. You may also be expected to work outside from time to time, so be prepared for wet or hot weather.


nursery teacher sitting on floor reading 1000px - What is Expected of Agency Teaching Assistants and Nursery Nurses?


Understand Safety and Safeguarding


Simply Supply will advise you if there are any Health & Safety (H&S) risks before you agree to a booking but our Supply Guides will also advise you of any on-going situations like a different type of building or a particular type of SEND and how to work effectively with that.


You should also familiarise yourself with the school’s H&S and safeguarding policy on how to report accidents, allegations, and fire procedures. If you have any concerns regarding the pupils, other staff, or parents, report it in writing immediately.


Don’t try to restrain children unless you have had formal restraint training and, in all circumstances, you should gain authorisation from the headteacher before attempting this, so please ask about the school policy on restraint in advance to be appropriately prepared.


Be a Good Representative


You are representing both Simply Supply and the setting you’ve been booked at. Behave professionally and appropriately at all times. If you’re not sure about anything, always ask questions. We will be happy to answer them, and the school or nursery will appreciate it.


Complete your timesheet on time, and give your consultant any feedback you may have about whether you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy a setting (and why). This will help you get more work that you enjoy, and if you can be as flexible as possible, it will also help you get more work.


Enjoy yourself!


This is the most important expectation we have from you! If you enjoy your work, you will be happier and our aim is to have happy agency workers at all times.


Further Reading


How Do Agencies Generate Work for Supply Teachers?

Can Agency Supply Teachers Contribute to Their Teachers’ Pension?

Can Supply Teachers Work for Schools and Agencies at the Same Time?



If you are interested in supply teaching, get in touch with us. We can help you with the advice and guidance you need.

No Comments

Post a Comment