Online teaching assistant course - is this too good to be true?

(17 Posts)
PassTheSherry Tue 24-Jun-14 12:47:37

mydistance-learning-college.com/childcare-and-education/higher-level-teaching-assistant

This came up on offer for £99 for the 1 yr online course. Supposedly for a Level 4 Higher Level Teaching Assistant certificate at the end. Surely there must be a catch?!

I've been thinking about retraining...but from what I gather the usual route is via CACHE, level 2 part time lasting one year, or two years full time for Level 3 - even the Level 2 course requires work placements of a min of 4hrs a week just to get on the course!

Whereas this is apparently Level 4 in a year, no work placements, no written exam at the end - assessment is through tutor marked assignments. I would be tempted, but it just seems too, too easy...

Anyone with experience, who can tell me what the catch might be? Thank you.

17leftfeet Tue 24-Jun-14 13:19:20

The catch is that schools don't generally recognise the qualification

How can they claim you are qualified as a HLTA without any classroom experience when HLTAs actually teach?

JodieGarberJacob Tue 24-Jun-14 17:11:32

It gives the impression that HLTAs are 'unqualified teachers' which they are not. And the salary scale, if it is to be believed, is based on a full-time job. Once pro-rated down to e.g. 25 hrs for 43 weeks it will be nothing like that. TAs salary is around £16k which equates to c. £10k pa.
The current thinking is to get rid of TAs (ridiculous as it seems), the paragraph about needing more is a few years out of date, so a bit misleading.
A school that would take on an HLTA without years of experience or at the very least 200 hours of volunteering, would be a) desperate and b) out of their minds.

LIZS Tue 24-Jun-14 17:18:42

^ FQP programmes are designed to give formal recognition to courses in a wide range of subjects that fall outside the QCF. They are not qualifications; on successful graduation from the course you will receive a Focus Awards Certificate of Achievement and a Diploma from My Distance Learning College.^

FQP courses are ideal for professionals required to demonstrate commitment to CPD (Continuous Professional Development), and for those wanting to gain specialist knowledge of a particular subject.

I'm confused as to whether you actually get a recognised qualification at the end of it ?

spanieleyes Tue 24-Jun-14 19:15:02

It isnt a recognised qualification from an accredited body, you might as well buy an online degree from one of the american "universities" advertising, it's about as much use!

PassTheSherry Tue 24-Jun-14 19:18:58

Yes I was confused by that as well LIZS - but from the sounds of it maybe not. "Fall outside the QCF...These are not qualifications. .." "for professionals required to demonstrate commitment to CPD" and "those wanting to gain knowledge in a specialist subject..."

Sounds like it's a) for people already working as TAs and b) it's not a qualification per se but a stepping stone towards getting on another course...?

Anyway I think it's probably not suitable for me.

Iamsuperluigi Tue 24-Jun-14 19:29:12

I have done a similar course online with the Stonebridge College. To be honest with you, I do not think the school I work in now would have hired me with this qualification on its own (Level 3 Diploma) If I had not already been working in the school for a while. I have a colleague who did an online CACHE course but with a tutor who came to see her in school to assess her. I think she was much better prepared than I was. I do not believe you can do an HLTA one online without having to do a portfolio and an assessment on school premises.

gymboywalton Tue 24-Jun-14 19:36:35

It's too good to be true
Why do you want to be a TA?Why do you think you would be suitable?

htm123 Tue 24-Jun-14 21:46:42

My friend approaching retiring time now... did a similar course to help her gain the HLTA status as she led her class (for years) twice a week anyway (when teacher on PPA time & meetings). The online course helped have her salary increased. Must mention...She didn't have a formal qualification when she started working as a TA 19 years ago.

PassTheSherry Tue 24-Jun-14 21:56:55

gymboywalton
I'm interested in working in education, and believe I might have something to offer.

It seems like a good way of combining something I'm naturally interested in (child development, education) with childcare needs. However, although having a job that works around school holidays is attractive, it's honestly not just that - I'm genuinely interested in how people learn, and I like children.

Before having children, I worked with adults with learning disabilities for many years. The aspects I enjoyed most were probably the hands on bits - developing individual teaching plans, putting them into action and seeing the positive outcomes. When I was in a supervisory role, I found I missed the hands on aspects.

However, I don't have a degree so going straight to teaching seems to be out of my reach. I also would like to work part time. The pay is less than I was on when I left the learning disabilities sector, but tbh at the moment I get nothing as a SAHM anyway! Plus I feel like my previous experience could be useful, if not on paper, in (hopefully) skills around working with a range of people, some of whom had challenging behaviour, and I find I tend to get on well with young children, even the stroppy ones.

So, do you think I stand a chance of being a decent Teaching Assistant?

PassTheSherry Tue 24-Jun-14 22:08:23

When I say "stroppy" I mean it in a tongue in cheek way of course!

bloodyteenagers Tue 24-Jun-14 22:14:51

To do a legit hlta course, you have a number of assignments to do. You are line managed (ok not quite the correct term) by someone in your school, who monitors and writes up about you. After all your assessments are completed, you will get an assessor in to see you in class. Either the same day or different day, they will come back and interview you to test your knowledge. They will also talk to the person who line manages you, and someone else within the school.

The assessor goes away, looks at everything, and finally lets you know if you have gained the qualification.

So yes, an online htla, with no prior experience of what a class involves, and of the policies in a school or anything else to do with education, course isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Demand for ta jobs is high. Have you looked at day centre's, respite centres etc for young people. Mind and a number of different charities run these after school, weekends and holidays. Ok you might not get the educational aspect of it, but you get current training and experience again.

PassTheSherry Tue 24-Jun-14 22:46:51

From my enquiries about the CACHE level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools course, offered at the local college - the placements have to be school based.

In any case, I don't want to work in after school, weekend or holiday settings - I can't anyway, due to childcare commitments. We haven't got much help with the kids at home, just myself and my DP who works 9-6 mon-fri.

gymboywalton Wed 25-Jun-14 08:12:28

It does sound like you have a lot to offer yes. Your first step should be to do some volunteering in a school. Get some hours in getting current experience in a classroom.

PassTheSherry Wed 25-Jun-14 10:22:00

So begins the search...my children's' school is already full in terms of volunteers and students. I will ring up a few others and see if any luck. Think I may have left it too late for this Sept but worth a shot.

Thanks all, for your replies, it's been helpful.

bloodyteenagers Wed 25-Jun-14 18:33:50

Another thing. Are you aware that a majority of ta jobs are not 9 - 3:30? I mention this because of a recent conversation with a possible applicant who was trying their hardest to barter with the hours.

Have a look on sites like jobsgopublic. You never know.

PassTheSherry Thu 26-Jun-14 18:58:42

bloodyteenagers Thank you so much for your time and helpful advice.

I'm actually in the process of filling in an application this evening! And it will be followed by more...

Didn't realise that you don't necessarily need a TA qualification to apply, and in fact looking on the internet I've found a few posts that are 'possibles' - the hours range from 12.5hrs to 20hrs to 37hrs per wk - Grades 3 and 4. They all sound fab.

Job descriptions themselves range from 1:1 help with individual nursery age children, to high school, supporting the SEN services. The 37hrs posts might be a bit much as a starting point, but actually the person spec almost describes me.

The only thing is...I was really looking forward to getting on a course and gaining that 'proper' qualification, which would hopefully lead to more choice, but my DP said I would be mad not to at least try applying for the 37hr post, as it's very near, not much travel involved, "and if there is the chance of getting a post with more pay (it's Grade 4) and local, why would you want to do a course?" Also he said that choices are only there if the jobs are there, and such a post may not come around that often...

But even if I'm not successful, there are the less pay, fewer hrs and more travel ones, to try for as well - which would at least allow me time to get on the course, and a few hours a week is better than nothing. I could just keep looking until someone, somewhere takes me haha.

The more I think of it, the more exciting the prospect of becoming a TA feels - like something has finally 'clicked'.

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