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Help me choose a distance learning course...and hello!

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by zez, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. zez

    zez New commenter

    Hi all
    This is my first post here and I wondered if you can help me. After a career as a chartered accountant, 6 years at home with the kids and a term reading with the children at my son and daughter's primary school the head has agreed to take me on 3 days a week so i can train as a TA. I'm looking at distance learning as it will be easiest on my family and I can go straight to level 3 (which is the head teacher's recommendation given my previous educational background).
    I've found NCFE courses mainly, which is what my local college does anyway so is standard round here. The course needs to be on the QCF, so I'm looking at Level 3 supporting teaching and learning in schools - QAN 501/0403/2.

    So far I've found the distance learning centre, home learning college and edistance learning seem to do the course I'm after. Does anyone have experience of these? I was swayed towards home learning centre as it seems to be the most common and I've seen reviews of it, but i'm concerned that the course content doesn't seem set out in the 11 mandatory units format that other courses are...it seems less tied to the TDA structure. Any thoughts from anyone who has done the course?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. zez

    zez New commenter

    Hi all
    This is my first post here and I wondered if you can help me. After a career as a chartered accountant, 6 years at home with the kids and a term reading with the children at my son and daughter's primary school the head has agreed to take me on 3 days a week so i can train as a TA. I'm looking at distance learning as it will be easiest on my family and I can go straight to level 3 (which is the head teacher's recommendation given my previous educational background).
    I've found NCFE courses mainly, which is what my local college does anyway so is standard round here. The course needs to be on the QCF, so I'm looking at Level 3 supporting teaching and learning in schools - QAN 501/0403/2.

    So far I've found the distance learning centre, home learning college and edistance learning seem to do the course I'm after. Does anyone have experience of these? I was swayed towards home learning centre as it seems to be the most common and I've seen reviews of it, but i'm concerned that the course content doesn't seem set out in the 11 mandatory units format that other courses are...it seems less tied to the TDA structure. Any thoughts from anyone who has done the course?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  3. Hi,

    The best advice I can offer is to make sure it is approved my the NQF and is approved by OfQUAL.

    Also, given your previous educational level, I would recommend the OUs E111 Supporting Learning in Primary Schools. It is a level 4 course and is endorsed by the TDA.

    Good luck and well done, TA jobs in some parts of the country are like rocking horse poo!

    Wren

    ps Sorry if no paragraphs appear, I am posting on my phone and it often leaves out the paragraphs.
     
  4. zez

    zez New commenter

    Thanks for your help wren. I looked into the OU course, but don't understand how this fits in with the NQF or where it makes it clear that it is endorsed by the TDA. I'm also looking for something with an immediate start as my employment is based on the fact that I'll be training. I'm only looking at courses that have a number on the NQF and are the "certificate" ie require practical experience and aren't just knowledge based.
    I spoke to NCFE and TDA and neither could give me a list of recognised training providers but both reassured me that so long as the course is advertised as being XXXXX number per the QCF then it is nationally recognised and what heads would be looking for.
    I'm going to be working 3 days a week....some as a volunteer and some paid as a TA but am happy to be used as if I'm a paid TA for all that time so should be able to get enough experience. There are currently other level 3 trainees at the school so the head knows what kind of responsibilities I'll need to be given to pass. I'm hoping that once I've finished my training and proven myself I should be next in line if a "real job" comes up. The head practically bit my hand off when i said I'd like to train and work there after I'd done a few months of volunteering. I think she likes to "keep it in the family" where she can!!!
     
  5. Hi Zez.

    I, like you, am also a first time poster, but I've read these forums for a while.


    I did the NCFE Level 3 Teaching Assistant course run by Stonebridge Associated Colleges.


    I graduated from University in November 2010, and joined a couple of teaching agencies, but got no work, only because I did not have a Level 3 Teaching Assistant qualification. I have a degree, so I thought that's better than a Level 3, but I was told it's a required qualification.


    I did not want to go back to college, and so I found a site called teaching assistant centre.


    I researched the site, the course, and the qualifications, so did it. I decided to study via the online method.
    The good thing about the course was that a school placement wasn't needed to complete it!


    I finished the course in 27 days. On the day that I finished, I applied for a job, and had an interview 2 weeks later.
    I didn't get the job though, but only due to lack of experience.


    I had my 2nd interview on 31st October, and was told I was the 2nd choice for that job.


    I had my 3rd interview on December 1st, but didn't get the job due to a lack of primary experience, but was offered a voluntary position. When I got home later that day, there was a letter saying I had an interview on December 8th at another Primary school.


    So I turned up to the interview, and there were 3 other candidates. We were told that 120 people applied, 12 of us were shortlisted, but 4 had taken positions elsewhere, so 8 of us were being interviewed on the day (4 in the morning, 4 in the afternoon), and that 3 of us would be hired, That was a relief, as we all thought we were going for 1 position.


    To make a long story short, I got offered one of the positions :-D
    It's temporary for the first 2 terms, but the school is looking to make it permanent in August.


    My point is that without that qualification, I would NEVER have got any of those interviews, it really did open up more job opportunities for me. So my advice is to EITHER do the Level 3 Teaching Assistant course with Stonebridge, OR the CACHE Level 3 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which you can also do with Stonebridge.


    Thanks for reading
     
  6. For some reason, the paragraphs aren't coming up in my post, which is weird :-/

    Sorry is that looks like a big chunk of writing.
     
  7. zez

    zez New commenter

    Thanks for your help. I've looked into stonebridge and i'm gutted they don't have the certificate. They seem like one of the most reputable colleges but I figure since I'll actually be in a school I'd like to do something which is practice based as well as the theory.
    So pleased that the level 3 helped you get a job... i'm absolutely certain that i need to do this.
    Thanks


     
  8. With Stonebridge, you can do the award, but once you get a placement, you can work towards getting the certificate.

    They have a link on the site explaining the CACHE course. I'm not sure who you have to contact though to work towards the certificate, you might have to call CACHE themselves.

    And you're welcome
     
  9. And in case you're wondering, I already had a combined total of 11 weeks experience in primary schools, and 18 months experience in a secondary school before I finished University, so the experience could EASILY be transferred to the answers on the course, so I do understand why you would want practical experience, it made things that much easier.
    Good luck in getting your qualification, and eventually your job :)
     
  10. I cannot advise you strongly enough to go for the OU level 4 course.
    As a graduate you will find the level of most level 3 courses way below your capabilities and E111 is an outstandingly good course. It IS expensive but the quality of tuition and support you receive will be excellent. It is rigorous but someone with your level of higher education will find it straightforward. Level 3 is A level equivalent (supposedly).
     
  11. unfortunately the OU level 4 course only starts in October 2012! and there's no pricing information.
    I agree with your comments about level 3 being below your capabilities as a graduate - I'm doing the NCFE level 3 course now, and got really excited with the first module at the mention of John Bowlby and Sigmund Freud (spelt 'Fraud' in my notes...), but it was a mere case of name dropping for the sake of it and the module didn't really go into any detail, which is a shame if you like developmental psychology!
     
  12. Hi

    I would be aware of Stonebridge College. I completed 2 childcare courses in 2010 and have only recently found out that the courses are not full and relevant or accredited. I would check with ofqual if your qualification is relevant as I know tha ofqual have had complaints about this college.
     
  13. Stonebridge College reply really quickly to course assignments and advice from your tutpr is quickly replied to. I completed both my courses within 3 months and I have managed to find several jobs, I currently do supply nursery nurse/teaching assistant. Employers now have to check on CWDC to see if qualifications are relevant. I was advised my a company I went for a job for that I require further training as distance learning courses to cover assessment in the workplace.
     
  14. I agree. I did the OU E111 certificate last year. It was a great course and you do need to have a placement as some observations are needed. A level4 qualification is equivalent to the first year study of a degree: and as the E111 is a stand alone recognised qualification that can be built on to either a foundation degree or working with children and young people, it is a wise option. It certainly widened my employability.
     
  15. I I am so sorry I haven't had a positive experience with Stonebridge. Their website looks impressive and advertises
    access to ressources to do your course and accesss to a tutor for advice..... and so on.....Well ! Ressources are nothing more than what you can read in ''supporting teaching and learning'' L3 available on amazon and tutor doesnt reply to queries for 2 weeks. Don't bother spending that kind of money for a course you could be doing much cheaper at a local college.
     
  16. Hello

    I hope you don't mind me posting you but I wondered who you went with in the end? I'm about to embark on the exact same course and narrowed it down to NCC Home Learning, Study House (which I believe supplies NCC) and edistance Learning. Home learning College seemed ok but since making an enquiry they have contacted me more times that I would like!

    Many thanks
     
  17. Many thanks for your reply although I'm a little concerned and confused!

    I've done a lot of research and the course provided by the NCC appears to be the same as my local college - 'NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools'. Unfortunately the course doesn't begin until September so I've chosen to distance study instead.

    Apologies if I have the wrong end of the stick and thanks again for your advice.

    Best wishes
     
  18. Hi

    I decided to go with the Home Learning College and have just received my materials for the NCFE Level 3 Certificate Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools . NCFE assured me HLC were recognised by them and I have had it clarified by the HLC that the course is the recognised QCF course (same code, etc). I've not submitted any assignments as yet (still in the research stage!) but found their resource books useful, as is the website VLC. Hope that helps?

    PS Feel free to e-mail me if you have any further queries.
     
  19. Mr220987

    Hi,

    I noticed in your post that you studied with the teaching assistant centre doing the cache level 3 supporting teaching and learning in schools was this is company any good? I have tried to look for reviews but come up with nothing and am at my wits end with looking for a course which is genuine and that is to study at home. I see you was also successful at getting a job with this qualification so would you recommend this?

    Thank you for any help.
     

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