Assessors for units that include workplace assessment must be capable of carrying out the full requirements of the units they are assessing. This means that they will themselves have carried out the work tasks that are the subject of assessment or managed others in that role. In addition to occupational expertise, assessors will need to have expertise in assessing competence using a range of assessment techniques, including observation.
Those who assess units, or criteria within units, that relate to knowledge and understanding must themselves have knowledge relevant to the units that they are assessing.
Those who are occupationally competent will also be occupationally knowledgeable. Being occupationally competent means teachers are also occupationally knowledgeable. This occupational competence should be maintained on a regular basis through clearly demonstrable continuous learning and professional development.
Centres should ensure that all their assessors continue to maintain the currency of their occupational competency and/or knowledge through continuing learning and professional development.
The breadth and range of activities covered by the qualification means that assessors may find it useful to draw on the testimony of expert witnesses as part of the assessment process. Expert witnesses can be used to address any gaps in the technical and occupational competence of assessors and for confidential or sensitive activities that are not appropriate for assessor observation. Expert witnesses can be drawn from a wide range of people who can attest to performance in the workplace.
NB - A witness is a line manager, a colleague or customers with whom the TA interacts. Witnesses provide the evidence of a specific aspect of the learner’s achievements. This must be authenticated by the assessor or an expert witness. An expert witness is someone who is occupationally competent with expertise in specific units of the qualification; they can give a professional opinion as to the competence of a learner. Their professional role must involve evaluating the everyday practice of staff. Expert witnesses contribute to the evidence of competent performance in the workplace, especially where there are no occupationally competent assessors for specific optional units.
Schools can support the assessment process by encouraging and supporting members of staff to act as expert witnesses.
A qualified assessor will make the final judgement about a learner’s competence based on testimony provided by the expert witness, together with other corroborating evidence.
Experienced teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and teachers might act as expert witnesses across a range of units.
Internal quality assessor requirements
Internal quality assurers must have knowledge and experience of the qualification which is being verified.
What is the purpose of this qualification?
The purpose of these qualifications is to provide learners with an understanding of the knowledge needed when working directly with children and young people in school environments. They include learning about children and young people’s development, safeguarding their welfare and communication and professional relationships. The qualifications are suitable for learners working or wishing to work as teaching assistants in primary, secondary or special schools, working collaboratively with teachers and providing a support role as part of the teaching and learning team in schools and educational establishments.
The qualifications can be used as a part of the on-programme element of the Teaching Assistants apprenticeship standards to provide underpinning knowledge and skills to prepare for the End Point Assessment of the apprenticeship. Alternatively, they can be used as staff development/continuous professional development for those teaching assistants without a formal qualification in the vocational area.
What skills, knowledge, or understanding does this qualification develop?
The mandatory units enable learners to study a range of topics that will underpin the behaviours, skills and understanding of being a teaching assistant. This includes: Developing independent learning skills of children and young people, being able to plan and deliver assessments and interventions to support progression and attainment, knowing how to promote positive behaviour for learning, understanding the importance of safeguarding and protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and understanding child development. They will then be able to select optional units that support the learner's role in school. This could be learning more about how to support children with special educational needs, helping to improve attendance in school or supporting within literacy or numeracy lessons.
How is this qualification different from other, similar qualifications?
Although Gateway Qualifications offer a range of continuous professional development qualifications that are relevant to the teaching assistant role, for example, supporting children with a range of disabilities or learning difficulties, this qualification and the Diploma are the first qualification which is directly aimed at supporting the teaching assistant role. In addition, the mandatory units in the qualification have been designed to cover the new standards for teaching assistants' apprenticeship.
Which sector does this qualification support?
Training providers may find this qualification useful in helping to structure the apprenticeship training. The mandatory units cover the knowledge, skills and behaviours required within the apprenticeship standards for teaching assistants.
Which job roles does this qualification support?
This qualification provides the underpinning skills, knowledge and behaviours which are relevant to the teaching assistant role as outlined in the apprenticeship standards. Although it is not a requirement of the apprenticeship, the fact that this qualification is closely aligned to these standards, helps to ensure that some one who completes the qualification will have a thorough understanding of the role of the teaching assistant.
What are the progression options?
Learners who complete this qualification may be able to progress to the Higher Level Teaching Assistant role or potentially use this to provide evidence of study at Level 3 which may enable them to progress into initial teacher training.
What are the higher education progression options?
What are the English and maths progression options?
If used as part of an apprenticeship, learners must achieve Level 2 English and maths by the end of the on-programme element of the apprenticeship.
What barriers will this qualification help the leaner overcome?
This qualification, if delivered either as a standalone qualification or as part of an apprenticeship, will give the learners a strong underpinning knowledge of the role which could support the learner to gain employment as a teaching assistant. It is a requirement of the qualification that learners have a work placement, either paid or in a voluntary capacity, which could be used as experience in a CV.
How will this qualification support the learner’s independence?
The qualification supports the learner to develop skills which can be used in the workplace and may support parenting skills in the home environment.
Progression & entry requirements
There is no requirement for learners to have prior skills, knowledge or understanding. However, some employers set their own requirements for employment as a teaching assistant.
Learners will need to be working as a TA or as a volunteer with sufficient access to laarners to demonstrate competence in both knowledge and skills as part of the assessment for the qualification. Where the qualification is being used within an apprenticeship, the TA must be employed for a minimum of 16 hours per week.
After finishing this Level 3 qualification, a learner may be able to find their first job as a teaching support assistant. This qualification will prepare learners for work in a nursery, primary (infant or junior school) a special school, a secondary school or an independent school.
Alternatively, this qualification could support entry to further training, for example, a foundation degree course which could lead onto study at degree level.