One of our most popular suite of qualifications are those for teaching assistants and it has to be said that they do work well together, providing the knowledge and skills needed to support teachers effectively in the classroom, despite the fact that currently these qualifications are not mandatory.

Over the years we have been approached by a number of parents who wish to return to the world of work but understandably would like to base this around their child’s school hours. So we developed a short course of 10 workshops, delivered in school hours, which provide the knowledge for the L2 Award for Support Work in Schools. This qualification is a good starting point and you don’t need to have a school placement. It is also the springboard for a number of roles within a school, not just a teaching assistant. This qualification will also certainly help you decide if working in a school is the right route for you.

Once achieved you may well decide that becoming a teaching assistant is just what you want to do. The next step would be for you to find a placement in a local school and to be honest most schools will ‘bite your hand off’ if you offer your services as a volunteer. A voluntary placement will give you invaluable experience and will also give you the opportunity to continue on your ‘learning journey’ as it will enable you to undertake the L2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning. The L2 Certificate includes the five units from the L2 Award (so you won’t need to repeat these!!) along with some practice units which are assessed through observation, witness testimonies and work evidence. We provide a 1:1 assessor to help guide you through this qualification with the option to attend workshops if you wish. Schools are of course delighted if you are gaining a qualification whilst volunteering, especially if at no cost to them, and they will inevitably look favourably on you should a suitable vacancy arise!

The L2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning is the most common qualification held by teaching assistants at the moment and is more than adequate in providing the knowledge and skills currently required. Once established in the role however, with some sound experience under your belt, you may wish to progress to the L3 Diploma in Specialist Support in Teaching and Learning, a much more ‘meaty’ qualification and particularly appropriate if you are providing support to children and young people with additional learning needs. To support this qualification we deliver a programme of workshops across a year, all out of term time so as not to clash with your work in school, as well as a 1:1 assessor.

We have been lucky enough to see a number of ‘parents returning to work’ to fully L3 qualified teaching assistants with a significant support role within the classroom and it has been so worthwhile watching them grow and develop in confidence along the way. If you are interested in becoming a teaching assistant why not give us a ring to discuss it further and ask about our upcoming courses.

Incidentally the government are currently reviewing the standards for Teaching Assistants – you can find out more about this here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/developing-a-new-set-of-standards-for-teaching-assistants

Author: Joy

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