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Online TA courses? - Help please!

(11 Posts)
HeisenbergsHat Tue 27-May-14 13:55:13

Having been a SAHM for 8 years I'm looking to retrain as a TA. I currently volunteer in a primary school and would like some sort of qualification to boost my chances of getting a paid job.

The local college has a course starting in September - CACHE level 3 certificate supporting teaching & learning in schools, it's a year long course and requires 2 days per week school placement. I think the fees are about £1000, but that info seems to have disappeared from the website.

I've also looked at some online courses - Home Learning College are offering a CACHE Level 3 Award Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, it doesn't require a work placement and I'd be able to start it straight away, and hopefully finish it in time to apply for jobs starting in September. It costs £380.

Is an online course any good? Is it pointless doing a Level 3 award rather than a certificate? The job ads for TAs locally specify an NVQ Level 2 (or 3), or equivalent, is a CACHE L3 equivalent to an NVQ? I feel completely clueless!

cassgate Tue 27-May-14 19:03:13


I am currently doing the cache level 3 diploma at college. The fees at my college were £1600 but I took out a 24+ learning loan to cover the full fees. If you are over 24 and earn less than £21,000 then the loan covers the fees and you only start paying it back once you start earning £21,000 or more. I started doing the course as a volunteer at my children's school and this quickly lead to a job offer working afternoons running KS1 intervention groups. I now have a full time job offer for September as a class TA. I didn't start my course until January but will be finished by July. As long as the school you currently volunteer at will support you then I would go for the level 3 certificate. You will need to be doing more than just reading though. I work in year 3 and 4 two mornings a week as well as my afternoon intervention groups and have had 3 observations by the college so far. The observations covered supporting numeracy and literacy, intervention groups and an ict lesson. I have another observation first week back after half term and a professional discussion with my assessor booked for the week after that to hopefully cover any small things that are outstanding. Good luck with whatever you decide.

TheFillyjonk Tue 27-May-14 19:08:24

The only worry with the online diploma is that you're doing any of the physical work with children and you will be lacking in experience. The CACHE and school placement would be a more solid training route for you as it's more hands-on. Or (the less pricey way) you could do the online course and get some voluntary TA work in? Most schools are more than happy to take on volunteers who are training to be TAs.

TheFillyjonk Tue 27-May-14 19:09:09

The only worry with the online diploma is that you're *not doing any of the physical work with children

SpottieDottie Mon 02-Jun-14 10:18:26

The Open University offer suitable courses from certificates right up to foundation degrees, they require voluntary work of a few hours or a couple of days in school I think.

notapizzaeater Mon 02-Jun-14 10:22:11

Some schools won't accept the course they insist on the cache one.

HeisenbergsHat Mon 02-Jun-14 14:29:01

Thanks everyone, I didn't know about the loans so that's really useful. It hadn't occurred to me to look on the OU either - I'll see what they offer, do you have any recommendations spottiedottie?

SpottieDottie Mon 02-Jun-14 21:08:16

Have a look at E101 Learning through enquiry in primary schools, E111 supporting learning in primary schools, E214 SEN and inclusion, E207 subject knowledge and professional practice in primary schools as they are the four modules that make up the foundation degree in primary teaching and learning.

bloated1977 Tue 03-Jun-14 19:37:30

A lot of school won't accept courses that are done online.

HeisenbergsHat Tue 03-Jun-14 20:51:55

Thanks spottie, I think the OU route is looking a bit expensive at the moment. I already have a degree (in an unrelated area) so I can't get a student loan.
I like the convenience of the online course, but I do worry that it doesn't require a practical element and it might just be dismissed by schools.
I'll see what they say at the school where I volunteer next time I'm in.

SpottieDottie Tue 03-Jun-14 21:02:28

That's a shame. The OU courses include practical elements in schools so you get the best of both.

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