We’re all familiar with GCSEs and A Levels from our education, which formed part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) until 2010. After this time, the NQF was replaced with the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which uses a set of rules to enable students to build up units resulting in qualifications.
Upon completion of each unit, the student obtains credits which subsequently build up to qualifications. NVQs are being phased out and replaced with the QCF equivalent. More information on QCF and teaching assistant qualifications.
Within the QCF, there are levels of qualifications which correspond to the NQF levels – QCF level 2 is usually the minimum required by schools for teaching assistants and is equivalent to the phased out *NVQ level 2 and GCSEs grade C and above. QCF level 3 is more advanced and equivalent to NVQ level 3 (also being phased out) and AS or A Level standard.
*Some Local Education Authorities still request an NVQ as their preferred qualification, so check their requirements.
Awarding Bodies for TA qualifications
The main Awarding Bodies for teaching assistant qualifications are NCFE, CACHE, EDEXCEL and City & Guilds. Each will take the guidelines and units set out by the QCF and create qualifications for each level.
Learning centres and teaching assistant courses
Learning centres are the study colleges/centres which create the course set out by the Awarding Body, enabling students to qualify. Many provide home study packages, allowing students to complete coursework and other requirements from home, usually over the course of a year. Others will require college attendance for lessons and, depending on the course, some will ask for work placements.