• Schools Direct Programme, The Heath School, 2015

TAs: Achieve a professional qualification while continuing to work

For teaching assistants (TAs) looking to gain professional qualification to secure promotion or access to teacher training opportunities, Liverpool John Moores University offers a unique course where you can study a degree and continue to work in an educational setting. 

The BA (Hons) Learning, Development and Support degree is a full-time course across three years which doesn’t require standard entry qualifications, for example A-levels or BTECs, except applicants must be currently working with children and young people and have a minimum of two years of experience.  

Jennifer Wood, Learning, Development and Support course leader, said: “This course is ideal for TAs who have come into an educational environment in later life. They may have worked in a completely different sector previously, but for whatever reason they are now providing much needed support in classrooms and want to progress in this new career or combine their practical experience with theoretical and research learning.” 

The course boasts students from all walks of life. Jennifer added: “There isn’t a typical age range on this course. We recently had a 70-year-old retiree graduate which was completely inspiring to see!” 

Whether you choose to continue to work full or part-time, lectures, seminars and tutorials take place at LJMU’s IM Marsh campus two Saturdays each month, taking up about one third of your study time. 

The remaining two thirds allows you to study at your own convenience and fit your learning around your daily working/family life. The flexibility of the course also means that people outside of Liverpool can enrol and still live and work from their current location. 

Jennifer said: “As the education landscape is forever changingwidentified that there is a need for experienced teaching assistants to have a greater understanding of the emotional and mental development of children and young people. 

Graduate employability skills are integrated into the course and supported by all staff and you will have opportunities to work directly with practitioners. The programme is constantly adapted to reflect current issues in education and includes focus on special educational needs and the emotional and mental development of children. 

Embarking on this course can provide better career prospects. Previous graduates have used it as a steppingstone to go on to complete the Graduate Teacher Training programme and PGCE courses, whilst others have progressed on to other professional level qualifications and training programmes. 

To find out more information about the BA (Hons) Learning, Development and Support course, visit the LJMU website. 

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