Working in Further Education

Top Skills and Traits of Successful Learning Support Assistants

May 1, 2023

Table of Contents

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of students who need extra support? As the need for skilled learning support assistants rapidly expands, it's crucial to master the essential skills that set you apart in this rewarding career.

Let's embark on a journey to uncover the qualities that make learning support assistants indispensable and learn how to hone these abilities to thrive in the field. Whether you're contemplating a new path in learning support or striving to excel in your current role, this article will guide you through the must-have skills and traits for success.

Don't miss out on exciting career opportunities; browse the latest job openings in learning support by visiting the Bolt Jobs Learning Support page today.

What makes a good learning support assistant?

A good Learning Support Assistant (LSA) possesses qualities like positivity, calmness, and motivation, coupled with flexibility and creativity. They are known for being trustworthy, ethical, and supportive, while also displaying assertiveness, confidence, and resourcefulness.

Below we go into more detail on each skill and how to improve these skills:

1. Strong Communication Skills

Clear and effective communication is crucial for learning support assistants, as they need to convey complex information to students, collaborate with colleagues, and discuss student progress with parents or guardians.

How to improve communication skills:

  • Practice active listening and provide constructive feedback
  • Develop your non-verbal communication skills, such as body language and tone of voice
  • Attend workshops or courses on communication and presentation skills

2. Adaptability and Flexibility

Learning support assistants must be adaptable and flexible, as they often work with students with diverse needs and learning styles.

How to enhance adaptability and flexibility:

  • Learn about different learning styles and teaching methods
  • Embrace change and stay open to new ideas
  • Reflect on your teaching experiences and adjust your approach as needed

3. Empathy and Compassion

Empathy and compassion are essential traits for learning support assistants. These qualities allow them to understand and connect with students, ensuring they feel supported and valued.

How to develop empathy and compassion:

  • Practice active listening and validation
  • Engage in self-reflection and seek feedback from others
  • Learn about different cultures and perspectives to broaden your understanding

4. Patience and Perseverance

Working in learning support can be challenging, and patience and perseverance are vital for maintaining a positive attitude and helping students overcome obstacles.

How to cultivate patience and perseverance:

  • Set realistic expectations for yourself and your students
  • Stay focused on long-term goals and celebrate small successes
  • Practice self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance

5. Collaboration and Teamwork

Learning support assistants often work as part of a multidisciplinary team, so it's essential to collaborate effectively with colleagues and contribute to a supportive work environment.

How to improve collaboration and teamwork:

  • Develop strong communication and conflict-resolution skills
  • Be open to feedback and willing to compromise
  • Take the initiative in sharing your expertise and resources with colleagues

6. Time Management and Organisation

Effective time management and organisation skills are crucial for learning support assistants, as they often need to balance multiple responsibilities and prioritise tasks effectively.

How to enhance time management and organisation:

  • Use tools such as planners, calendars, and to-do lists
  • Set clear goals and deadlines, and break tasks into manageable steps
  • Learn to delegate tasks and manage stress effectively

7. Problem-solving and Critical Thinking

Learning support assistants must be able to think critically and solve problems to develop effective strategies for supporting students and overcoming challenges.

How to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills:

  • Participate in assistant development opportunities
  • Reflect on your experiences and seek feedback from colleagues
  • Engage in activities that challenge your thinking and encourage creativity

8. Commitment to Inclusive Education

Successful learning support professionals are committed to inclusive education and strive to create learning environments where all students can thrive, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.

How to demonstrate commitment to inclusive education:

  • Stay informed about best practices and research in inclusive education
  • Advocate for inclusive policies and practices within your workplace
  • Collaborate with colleagues to develop and implement inclusive strategies

9. Technological Proficiency

In today's digital age, learning support professionals must be technologically proficient to utilise various tools and platforms to enhance student learning and support their diverse needs.

How to improve technological proficiency:

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest educational technology trends
  • Attend workshops or courses on using technology in education
  • Experiment with different tools and platforms to find what works best for your students

10. Lifelong Learning and Professional Development

Successful learning support professionals recognise the importance of lifelong learning. They are committed to their professional development to stay current with best practices and better support their students.

How to engage in lifelong learning and professional development:

  • Participate in professional development opportunities such as workshops, courses, and conferences
  • Join professional organisations and networks to connect with like-minded colleagues
  • Stay informed about research and trends in education and learning support

Key Takeaways

Developing these skills and traits can make you a more effective and successful learning support professional. Remember, being patient with yourself is essential and recognising that personal and professional growth takes time and effort. Continuously seeking opportunities for improvement and being open to feedback will ultimately lead to success in the learning support field.

If you're looking to start or advance your career in learning support, check out Bolt Jobs Learning Support for the latest job opportunities and our post on what a Learning Support Assistant's role entails to help you better understand the role and responsibilities of these vital professionals.


Here are some frequently asked questions to find out more about learning support.

What qualifications do I need to become a learning support assistant?

The qualifications for learning support roles vary depending on the position and employer. Generally, you will need two or more passing grades at GCSE, including English and maths. Experience working with students, particularly those with special needs, is also highly valued. Some roles may also require additional qualifications, such as a teaching assistant certification or a degree in special education.

How can I gain experience in learning support if I'm just starting in the field?

Volunteering in schools, community centres, or organisations that support individuals with special needs is an excellent way to gain valuable experience and develop your skills. You can also look for entry-level positions that provide on-the-job training and opportunities for career progression.

What is the average salary for learning support assistants?

Salaries for learning support assistants vary depending on the specific role, level of education, experience, and location. In the UK, learning support assistants usually earn between £14,000 and £20,000 per year, but more experienced assistants in roles such as learning support co-ordinators or practitioners can earn upwards of £25,000 per year. To better understand the earning potential in your chosen field, explore the Bolt Jobs Salary Survey for comprehensive information on salaries across various industries.

Are there opportunities for career progression within the learning support field?

Yes, there are numerous opportunities for career progression within the learning support field. As you gain experience and develop your skills, you can move into more specialised roles or management and leadership positions. Additionally, continuing assistant development and pursuing relevant qualifications can open up new career paths and opportunities for growth.

How can I stay up-to-date with developments and trends in the learning support field?

Staying up-to-date with the latest research, trends, and best practices in the learning support field is essential for your assistant development. You can achieve this by attending conferences, workshops, and courses, subscribing to industry publications and joining assistant organisations and networks. Engaging in online forums and social media groups related to learning support can also help you stay informed and connected with like-minded assistants.

What is the difference between a teaching assistant and a learning support assistant?

While both teaching assistants and learning support assistants work in educational settings to support students and teachers, their roles and responsibilities can differ. Teaching assistants typically provide general support in the classroom, helping teachers with administrative tasks and working with students in small groups or one-on-one to reinforce learning. Learning support assistants often focus on providing specialised support to students with special educational needs, disabilities, or learning difficulties. Their role may involve implementing tailored learning strategies, working closely with individual students, and collaborating with other assistants to ensure they receive the necessary support.

What is the role of a teaching support assistant?

The term "teaching support assistant" is often used interchangeably with "teaching assistant" and "learning support assistant." As a teaching support assistant, your role generally involves providing support to teachers and students within an educational setting. This can include assisting with lesson preparation, classroom management, administrative tasks, and working with students individually or in small groups to reinforce learning and provide additional support. The specific responsibilities of a teaching support assistant can vary depending on the school, the student's age, and the role's requirements.

Alex Lockey
Director | Bolt Jobs
Founder Alex Lockey is an expert in further education, learning, and skills sector. He leads cost-effective hiring solutions and is known for successful talent placements. Dynamic and driven, Alex seeks innovative solutions to solve sector hiring challenges.