Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools
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Do you work in a primary school supporting children’s learning? Teaching assistants and classroom support staff represent one of the fastest growing occupational groups in the country and are taking on increasingly responsible roles. This Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools is designed for teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff, including volunteers. You’ll need to be working with children from 4 to 11 years (or 4 to 12 years in Scotland) in a primary school, or in a special school where primary-aged children follow the National Curriculum. This certificate will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the primary curriculum and develop your abilities as a team member in supporting children’s learning in primary schools. You can study it as a qualification in its own right, or as the first step towards a foundation or honours degree. This certificate is approved by the Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
OU Certificates are specially designed Open University qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study. For example The Open University's Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools is designed for teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff, including volunteers. Not all OU Certificates are entry level qualifications.
You can use an OU Certificate to:
enhance or progress your current career gain a greater knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in.
Before starting the certificate, it is very desirable that you gain some experience of supporting children’s learning in a primary school. You also need to have some knowledge of how schools for primary-aged children work.
While studying the module, it is a requirement that you are based in a primary school; a special school which has primary-aged pupils; or a closely-related primary school setting such as a pupil referral unit. This could be either as an employed teaching assistant or a volunteer helper working alongside teachers and supporting children’s learning in classrooms. This should be for the equivalent of at least one day or five hours per week for the duration of the certificate.
You must have the agreement and support of your school before embarking on the certificate, as you’ll need to work with children, collaborate with teachers and access school policy documents to carry out study activities and write assignments.
To work in a primary school you’ll need to meet the ‘fit person’ criteria for doing so as required by the local area and/or country in which you’re working – including obtaining the necessary criminal record clearance required for the school. It is the responsibility of you and your employer to ensure you meet these requirements. You should contact the
relevant agency in your country for more information if you’re in doubt about your eligibility, or wish to find out more.
Career relevance and employability
This certificate is ideal if you want to develop your knowledge and understanding of the primary curriculum and your ability to support children’s learning in primary schools. It can be studied either as a qualification in its own right or as the first step in your studies towards the
Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning (X02) or Diploma of Higher Education in Primary Teaching and Learning (W02).
You can also count it towards a degree (for example, the
BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies (Q23) or other degrees that allow free choice of modules for some or all of the credits). From there, it is possible to progress to qualified teacher status (QTS) through a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (please note that The Open University does not have modules for progressing to QTS in the primary age range). Our booklet Becoming a Teacher has been prepared to help those who wish to qualify as teachers (as distinct from being a qualified teaching assistant). You should also check with your local training provider about their entry policy. For up-to-date information see the Teaching Agency (TA) website.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
You cannot count credit for study you have already completed elsewhere towards this qualification.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
On successful completion of the required module you will be awarded a Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.