Newest Review: ... most of them were pretty decent. Unfortunately for me the experience with the Distance Learning College and Training has been a real night... more
Teaching Assistant Level 3 Diploma Distance Learning
Author Name: Silena
Advantages: You can sit at home.
Disadvantages: You have to sit at home.
During the last days I was very busy to find the right course for becoming a Teaching Assistant Level 3. There are so many guidelines, akronyms, course titles, levels and Certificates... For those who want to find the right course, here are my research results:
I. Via Presence Course
1. a local college
Mostly not a full-time course, so there is time for other jobs or family. But a placement in a school is necessary. At the Hugh Baird College in Liverpool they also told me (this is not on the website) that not only a 2-days-placement during the course is needed but also about four months experience in this very school before you apply for the course. If you are unlucky like me, who volunteered for four months in two primary schools, which were outside Liverpool, they wouldn't accept that, because they wouldn't drive so far to observe you on your work place. So I tried to find another school within Liverpool but for any reasons all of my 40 applications for volunteering were unsuccessful. So this option fell off.
2. Adult Learning Centre or other institutions
Evening courses, so there is time for other jobs or family. Costs in L'pool about 440,-. Quite expensive. If a placement in a school is needed I couldn't find out yet, as the info evening is in 3 weeks. But I decided for a Distance Learning course anyway.
II. Distance Learning
There are sooo many colleges!!!! It took me four full days to compare, consider, and decide.
Things you have to look at are
- which Level do you want?
- Is the qualification officially accredited? Look for NCFE, CACHE, or Ascentis as one of the awarding bodies and for the governmental QCF (Qualification and Credit Framework) accreditation. These are the official bodies to ensure the official requested quality of the course. A certificate just given by the college is useless and wouldn't be recognised or accepted by any employer.
- There are Level 1 - 4 for TAs. And within these levels you can find Awards and Diplomas. The Diploma is the higher title. So if you want to go for the higher qualification because you are changing your career completely and want to do it as reliable and effective as possible, then go for the Diploma. But there are not as many colleges which offer the Diploma. Some of them give you a college related Diploma, which is not an officially accepted title. Most of the colleges do the Award.
- There is a new course called "Supporting Teaching and Learning in schools". Where the different in content to the Teaching Assistant Level 3 course is, I don't know. I was just told by two colleges that this is a more up-to-date-course than the normal TA L3. And you need a placement in a school for a few hours a week. But I still couldn't say, if this one is higher then the Diploma or not. So I decided against it.
- Look at the contents. For me the ICT and SEN were very important as these qualification are the most questioned and challenging ones. As a TA you need to know about new media in teaching, and you will always deal with children, mostly 1-1, with special educational needs. So a course which doesn't cover that doesn't make much sense in my opinion. And will restrict your possibilities.
- Try to find reviews. It is hard and there are just a handful of colleges reviewed. A well-equipped comparison website for that is missing.
I eventually went for the TA Level 3 Diploma with eDistance. The price is reliable, estimated working hours are 360 (colleges with less than the half were suspicious to me. You have to work for a degree. And I think, the information and learning content you'll get are more efficient). And I know sb. who just finished the course with eDistance and was satisfied.
Apart from that I took following colleges for closer consideration:
UK Open College
Cambridge Open College
DCA Home Learning
Learning At Home
UK Open Learning
My Distance Learning College
The Teaching Assistant College
Open Study College
UK Distance Learning
I will see if my decision was the right one. But I hope I could help the Researchers a bit.
Summary: More opinions and ratings and reviews are needed!