Advanced Technical Diploma In Specialist Support For Teaching & Learning In Schools (Sstls)

A Dynamic And Important Sector Which Affects The Lives Of Future Generations

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Part Time
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Penny Dove

This is a Level 3 qualification for learners who wish to become a Specialist Support Assistant for pupils’ learning in primary, secondary or special schools.


This Level 3 Diploma is now the new recognised qualification and is appropriate for staff who work in schools providing specialist support including planning, delivering, and reviewing assessment strategies to support learning alongside the teacher, bilingual and special needs support, and personal development and reflective practice.

This course can also be undertaken as an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Candidates must be well motivated to learn independently but are fully supported throughout the Diploma by a qualified assessor.

You will need to be working or on volunteering in a school as you will need to show competence in both knowledge and skills. There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification but you will need to be at least 16 years of age.


This qualification will provide you with some secure understanding of the knowledge and skills needed when working directly with children or young people in school environments. It allows you to achieve at both above and below the level of qualification as Level 4 and Level 2 units have been included. This qualification is made up of 16 mandatory units which are based on knowledge and skills and is suitable for teaching assistants, learning support assistants, parent support advisers, learning mentors or those in similar role at level 3.

To gain the qualification you will need to achieve all 16 mandatory units at level 3 or above. A total of 32 credits will come from the mandatory units and then you will need to obtain a minimum of 12 credits from the optional units.


You will be expected to work at your own pace under the guidance of your assessor. It is important that you set yourself targets to make sure that you progress steadily.

Your assessor will support you by assessing your practice in the workplace. Your portfolio of evidence is fully assessed to ensure that you have covered all the units to a satisfactory standard to complete the qualification. Assessment enables the learner’s workplace practice to provide evidence for individual units as well as the whole qualification. Methods of assessment could include inference of knowledge from direct observation of practice, witness evidence when directed by the sector skills assessment strategy, professional discussion, reflection on own practice in real work situations, written assignments, learner’s own plans and written records and tasks for knowledge learning outcomes only. The qualification will be a pass or refer and all the assessment criteria of the units must be achieved in order to obtain a pass. Upon completion you will receive a certificate showing all the units achieved.


Enrolment takes place at the College over a one day session when your levels of literacy and numeracy are checked in order that you can be fully supported to achieve the qualification. You will also meet other candidates and a range of Assessors from the Health and Community Studies Department.

A series of workshops to provide the underpinning knowledge for the specialist units will be delivered at the college three weekly depending on group requirements. These workshops will be tailored to meet your needs by the use of activities with other candidates such as discussions and group work. Your Assessor will also provide guidance on putting your work together in a portfolio for assessment.

A lot of your study will also include assessments in the workplace. These are gathered through observations by your assessor and witness statements (written by your mentor).


You will be enrolled for 14 months on the course. However, depending on your placement hours and submission of written work, the qualification can be achieved within a 12 month timescale.


The Isle of Wight College offers an Access course which would prepare you for entry to university where a Foundation degree in Learning Support could be studied. Some universities may accept this level 3 Diploma as entry to a Foundation Degree. Completing this course may also lead to employment within the educational sector.


Funding may be available subject to certain criteria. Please contact us for details.

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Medina Way
Isle of Wight
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