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The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is the new framework for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Using the QCF, learners can build up units at their own pace and put them towards a full qualification. They can bank all their achievements over time and keep them as they move from education into a job or from one job to another. They don’t have to study anything they already know. All qualifications in the QCF are built from smaller units of learning.
Every unit and qualification in the QCF has a credit value that tells you how long, on average, it will take to complete – one credit represents 10 hours of learning and assessment. Each unit and qualification also has a level, between Entry level and level 8, to show how difficult it is.
There are three sizes of qualification in the QCF:
The following seven qualifications are available for support staff in schools:
|Level 2 Award in support work in schools||
This is a knowledge based qualification suitable for all support staff roles in schools, including site staff, administrators and others, as well as those who work directly with children and young people. It seeks to develop the knowledge and understanding that all those working in a school setting will need and covers areas such as safeguarding, communication and understanding the school context. As it is a knowledge based qualification, it can be taken by candidates not yet employed in a school, as well as providing initial training or induction for those who are new in post.
|Level 2 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools||This qualification is for those members of the school workforce who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils. The qualification incorporates the units in the level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools and adds competency based units to reflect the role of those supporting pupils’ learning.|
|Level 2 Certificate in supporting the wider curriculum in schools||
This qualification has been developed to meet the needs of those working as midday assistants/supervisors or who support the wider activities of schools such as before and after school clubs. It incorporates the units in the level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools and shares units with the level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, recognising that many in teaching assistant roles may have additional responsibilities in school. This qualification has fewer credits than the level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which candidates who later progress to a teaching assistant role will be able to gain through the achievement of credit from additional units.
|Level 3 Award in supporting teaching and learning in schools||
This is a knowledge based qualification that will provide candidates with a secure understanding from which to progress to a level 3 role. It is suitable for candidates not yet in a school role but who have the capability to achieve at level 3; candidates in a level 2 role wishing to demonstrate that they are ready for progression to level 3, and as initial training for those newly in post at this level. This is a qualification intended to provide the underpinning knowledge and understanding for those with a role in directly working with children or young people in schools.
|Level 3 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools||This qualification is for those members of the school workforce who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils. The qualification incorporates the units in the level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. Additional units cover the generic knowledge and skills required to work in a teaching assistant or similar role at level 3.|
|Level 3 Certificate in cover supervision of pupils in schools||
This qualification is for those working in the role of Cover Supervisor and incorporates the units of the level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. While this qualification includes some units that are also in the level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, it reflect the differences between the cover supervisor and teaching assistant roles by omitting those units which are about actively advancing pupils’ learning and includes a unit on providing whole-class supervision. Candidates moving from one role to the other will be able to demonstrate competence in the new role through the achievement of credit from specified additional units.
|Level 3 Diploma in specialist support for teaching and learning in schools||This qualification is for those members of the school workforce who directly support teaching and learning of pupils in schools in an area that requires specialist knowledge and skills. The qualification incorporates the units in the level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. Additional optional units cover specialisms which may be a feature of the role at level 3.|
For more information, take a look at Ofqual's Register of Regulated Qualifications for each of the qualifications offered by the six awarding organisations. Learning outcomes and assessment criteria for individual QCF units can be also viewed on the register.
Please note that the composition of the qualifications is the same, irrespective of the awarding organisation offering them. Training Centres which deliver the QCF qualifications will have links with one or more awarding organisation
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