Course at a glance


Teaching support staff in schools falls under several titles including Classroom Assistant, School Assistant, Special Needs Assistant, Learning Support Assistant and Individual Support Assistant. The roles within each ‘title’ carry slightly different responsibilities and work but all these roles require similar underpinning knowledge, understanding and training. This course aims to deliver the theory and knowledge to facilitate those working in or seeking to work in a classroom setting alongside teachers. Skills needed to support competency and expertise needed to work with children in a classroom are shared.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Course Content

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 1: Introduction and ICT (Information, Communication and Technology)

ICT is now a major part of learning at all levels. ICT is defined and the different medium that teaching assistants may use ICT to support learning is explored. This will include the use of computers, the internet and looking at portfolio-based assessment and feedback. The communication part of ICT is also concerned with personal reflection in order to identify strengths, weaknesses and explore practice to maintain standards and advance professional development. Therefore this module will develop skills in using SWOT analysis, reflective practice and continued professional development, as well as general issues of effective communication.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 2: Supporting Learning Activities

Supporting learning activities includes supporting teachers, other educational staff and pupils. This is probably the most important part of the teaching assistant’s role. What is needed in order to plan, support and evaluate learning activities in any educational setting is covered. The possible problems encountered and how to deal with these including how to motivate, support, build relationships, write and address strategies and policies are discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 3: Understanding Child Development

Child development and learning is covered in some detail. The module looks at how child development influences cognition and learning. Anatomy, physiology and psychology are studied, together with evaluation of relevant child development theories. The intention of this unit is to give opportunity to develop observational skills and the competency to analyse different contexts and situations in order to formulate an appropriate action or activity. Reference to legislation regarding safety, protection and confidentiality are a fundamental part of working with children, so these are examined and discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 4: Child Safety and Protection

Working with children requires procedures and policies with regard to keeping children safe from harm and provision of a suitable environment. The different legislation are evaluated in terms of how they affects the responsibilities and day to day activities of the teaching assistant. One of the key frameworks in place is the ‘Every Child Matters Framework’ which will be discussed in order to identify key legislation and the role and responsibilities of staff within the framework. This will include everything from safeguarding children, manual handling, confidentiality, hygiene practices and reporting procedures.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 5: Understanding Relationships

Building relationships is a key skill within any educational setting. The underpinning theories and psychological background are discussed. Positive learning experiences is dependent on positive relationships, therefore communication is discussed in terms of different ages and details in terms of e.g. active listening and body language. This involves exploring how language develops, challenges of non-English speaking pupils, cultural considerations, and the differences when communicating with children compared to young adults.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 6: Literacy and Numeracy Activities

Whether roles includes helping with numeracy and literacy activities or not, at some point a Teaching Assistant will be involved with supporting pupils in these activities. Literacy and numeracy skills are promoted and the types of activities that are used are discussed. How children learn to read, write and comprehend as well as assimilate numbers and simple mathematical problems are looked at briefly. In addition, different influencing factors such as setting, student ability and prior learning will be discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 7: Supporting Learning Through Play

Children learn through play activities, especially in their early years. The concepts, theories and models of play are explored. Supporting theoretical evidence for evaluation and consideration of play is offered. Structured play activities designed to facilitate learning in different ways and for specific subjects such as reading and mathematics are looked at. Examples of activities that explore the teaching assistant’s role, equipment, tools and environment to enhance the use of play are introduced. Children’s imagination is an important tool in the learning process. Play fosters the use of imaginative and cognitive processes. Therefore time is spent looking at activities that focus on imagination and play to assess the influence different activities have on improving such skills.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 8: Supporting Performance and Assessment Activities

Assessment in both formative and summative forms is integral to education. Formative and summative assessment are defined and discussed, and the role of teaching assistants in these processes is explored. Different techniques such as observation of social and emotional skills is covered. How to evaluate language and communication skills both with staff and other children are discussed. The importance of how these observations are reported and discussed with other teaching staff as well as with parents and guardians is discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 9: Supporting Special Educational Needs

Mainstream education now has special educational requirements because of disabilities, learning problems or other contributing factors. Teaching assistants in this field may be required to support and liaise with parents, guardians, social workers and other professionals in order to assess progress and develop appropriate actions and activities. This module explores some special education requirements together with the legislation which governs provision of these services within educational establishments. The special skills required to support all children and available training are discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma Module 10: Supporting Learners in Special Environments (for Example Therapy, Tests and Examinations)

There is a vast array of different situations where the teaching assistant may be required to support learning and these might be outside the ‘normal’ educational environment. An example is supporting learning in a therapy session as part of the learning programme. This final module looks at the supporting legislation and special skills requirement, such as reporting and documenting. Invigilating or supervising pupils during tests and examinations is a common part of the teaching assistance role. The processes within the test or examination process are examined and the protocols that must be observed and skills required for this role are discussed. A brief overview of the course is presented to end this module.


This Accredited Level 3 Support Teaching Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.