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Educational aims

The diploma will enable you to:

  • develop and enhance the intellectual and practical skills required by students working as teaching assistants or Higher Level Teaching Assistants in primary schools
  • engage with further study, enquiry and practice where primary curricular, pedagogical and/or subject knowledge and skills are required.

Learning outcomes

The diploma provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding


  • the principles, issues, theories and research that underpin and inform primary education policy and practice, how these inform effective communication with children and how they support transitions
  • the curriculum for children aged 4 to 11, observation and assessment strategies and procedures
  • the way ethnicity, religion, caste/class, gender, sexuality and disability impact on children and their development, the implications of this for differentiation and other strategies designed to tackle inequality and exclusion
  • policies and provisions relating to the regulation/promotion and safeguarding of children’s status, welfare and learning, including how these impact on children (and adults) in home, school and other contexts, and an appreciation of multi-agency working.

Cognitive skills

Be able to:

  • critically and systematically analyse and evaluate concepts, theories policy and practice
  • identify connections and discontinuities between knowledge and its application in practical contexts
  • accommodate to new principles, understandings and evidence, and formulate proposals for practice in the light of these
  • identify and reflect on your own values and those of others
  • show evidence of reflective practice through written case studies assignments and projects.

Practical and/or professional skills

Be able to:

  • work effectively both in a team and independently on an agreed project or task, valuing other professionals and supporting and/or supervising colleagues as appropriate
  • evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving as appropriate to employment roles and manage and organise time, resources, records and information to support decision-making
  • demonstrate the experience, knowledge and skills that underpin good practice and apply theory to practice
  • carry out aspects of work roles in relation to children and their families to the standards expected in employment; and paying due regard to the importance of information-sharing
  • design, implement, monitor and assess programmes to support children’s development and learning.

Key skills

Be able to:

  • organise and articulate opinions and arguments, taking account of appropriate conventions for academic writing
  • communicate and write accurately and clearly in styles adapted to purpose and context including, when appropriate, interpretation of graphical and numerical data
  • read purposefully, identifying and recording what is relevant from a range of resource material, and responding sensitively to diverse viewpoints
  • participate effectively in communities of practice in face-to-face communication and through computer mediated communication
  • Use ICT to enhance your own learning, and develop and use ICT skills in a school context
  • analyse tasks and make plans to tackle them and plan and manage time
  • reflect on the learning process, personal progress and personal experience, identifying strengths and weaknesses; apply lessons learnt to practical issues; seek and learn from feedback to improve performance.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding of primary education and care are developed through the main teaching materials and in-text questions, tasks and activities to support your learning. The main teaching material is offered through supported open learning modules with associated material including module reading texts, audio-visual material and directed reading. For the supported open learning element summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and by end-of-module assignments. Tutors support your development across all learning outcomes through online support, tutorials and written feedback on assignments.

Cognitive skills are assessed by module assignments. These will allow you to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and reasoned argument, and critically analyse module issues. They will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate independent thinking skills; to demonstrate your understanding of theoretical concepts and the underpinning principles for primary practice in a work-based context; and to show evidence of reflective practice and to use appropriate methods of enquiry.

Key skills are referenced to QCA National Standards and are promoted within learning materials and as part of continuous assessment.

Assessment criteria of TMAs require you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of formats. Learning skills focusing on planning, self-assessment, identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting priorities and targets, and reviewing and reflecting are also addressed. Team work will be fostered through work-based projects and case studies, and by encouraging students to work together electronically. Opportunities to develop personal ICT skills will be a component of the work-based learning modules.

Professional skills are developed as part of an increased awareness and understanding of good practice in supporting children’s learning and development by means of teaching materials and work-based reflective practice. Practice skills are assessed via module work and the work-based learning component of the diploma, through the submission of assignments. This will include developing an appropriate approach to recording their development in relation to their work-based practice.