University of Chester

Programme Specification
Teaching Assistance FDA
2017 - 2018

Foundation Arts Degree

Teaching Assistance

Teaching Assistance

University of Chester

Tameside College

Tameside College, Beaufort Road Centre, Ashton-Under-Lyne


Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

3 years

5 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

Foundation Degree Subject Benchmark Statements (QAA 2004)

Professional Standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants (TDA 2007)

The outcomes and structure of this programme are centred on the development of the knowledge, understanding and skills that will support high-level professional practice in Teaching Assistance. It is guided by the "Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce (HM Government 2005) and the "Higher Level Teaching Assistants Standards" (2003). The programme structure has also been designed to embrace the vocational and work based principles of Foundation Degrees (QAA 2002) and Benchmark Statements (QAA 2004).

Faculty of Education & Children’s Services FdA Module Assessment Board

Tuesday 27th January 2015

The Foundation Degree Programme aims to enhance personal skills and knowledge and understanding of young children and their needs and their place in society. Specifically it aims to:

  1. Prepare students to make a positive contribution to their own professional development and the wider Children's workforce;
  2. Develop the knowledge, understanding and critical thinking necessary for high quality, professional, anti-discriminatory and inclusive practice in a school setting;
  3. Develop students' ability to understand and apply the principles of evidence-based practice;
  4. Develop students as reflective practitioners, with an understanding of the need for, and a commitment to, lifelong learning;
  5. Develop an appropriate knowledge and understanding of holistic, creative learning and the current regulations and guidance;
  6. Develop the professional communication skills necessary for the shared responsibility for supporting teaching and learning of pupils in school settings and the maintenance of high professional values;
  7. Develop the key skills expected of a Foundation degree graduate and to apply these to professional practice and on-going personal development.

Knowledge and critical understanding of the principles relating to children's learning and development (evidence specifically in ED4115, ED5506, ED5522 and ED5526)

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the regulatory and legislative framework for children 5 to 15 (evidenced specifically in ED4501, ED4115, ED4526 and ED5506)

Ability to apply underlying concepts and principles of working with children (evidenced throughout the programme)

How to plan, implement and evaluate the curriculum and pedagogy for children (evidenced specifically through ED4501, ED4115, ED5105, ED5526, ED5522 and ED5506)

Communicate ideas, principles and theories; create arguments and analyse effectively using written, visual, verbal and ICT media, with a sense of audience (evidenced throughout the programme- assessment).

Demonstrate appropriate critical thinking skills and produce evaluative responses (evidenced throughout the programme).

Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information relating to their work situation and to propose solutions to problems arising in the work setting (evidenced specifically in ED4501, ED4113 and ED5504).

Reflect and evaluate self, including the potential effect of personal attitudes, values and behaviours on work with young children, parents, colleagues and other professionals (evidenced throughout the programme).

Demonstrate the experience, knowledge and skills that underpin good practice in Teaching Assistance (evidenced throughout the programme).

Demonstrate an understanding of equality of opportunity and how to promote that within the work setting (evidenced throughout the programme).

Design, implement and plan for an effective learning environment (evidenced specifically in ED4526)

Demonstrate qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility (evidenced specifically in ED5504)

Undertake further training, develop existing skills, acquire new competences that will enable them to assume different and diverse responsibilities within the school setting (evidenced throughout the programme but specifically within ED4501, and ED5504).

Upon completion of the Foundation Degree students will be able to:

Communicate ideas effectively in speech and writing.

Use and develop their own mathematical and scientific skills to ensure the effective delivery of these skills to children.

Use ICT to support their own development and the learning of children.

Improve their own performance through critical self-reflection, the implementation of evidence-based practice and continual professional development activities.

Work within a team to complete an agreed task.

Solve problems that may occur whilst carrying out the role of a teaching assistant within a school setting (evidenced throughout the programme).

The outcomes and structure of this programme are centred on the development of the knowledge, understanding and skills that will support high-level professional practice in Teaching Assistance. It is guided by the "Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce (HM Government 2005) and the "Higher Level Teaching Assistants Standards" (2003).

The campus-based activities acknowledge the considerable experience the learners bring with them and recognise the learning that will take place in the work place environment. All students will be expected to be working in schools and all module assessments recognise work-based skills.

Each level of the programme includes modules entitled ‘Practice-based Enquiry' (ED4501 and ED5504) which guide the students to develop their own personal skills as a teaching assistant. The students will be required to obtain authentic work-based evidence and reflect on significant aspects of practice.

Students will normally attend once a week during term time (one afternoon per week) thus ensuring as little time as possible is required by the employer to release them from their work. The programme will be delivered over a period of three years, allowing sufficient time in the students' busy work and family schedules to complete the required credits, whilst not making the programme so long that it no longer becomes an attractive proposition.

Along with the taught modular sessions on campus there will be opportunities at the end of every module to meet with their tutors to discuss work related issues.

Students who have successfully completed a programme at intermediate level will have had the opportunity to develop their ideas further and also to put theoretical knowledge in to practice in the setting.


Level-related criteria

Level 4

An emphasis on "knowing about" key ideas in Education; on acknowledging sources; on accuracy; on rational argument and the development of a questioning attitude.

The study skills required to study at HE level will be made secure e.g. library and internet resourcing, computer literacy, ability to articulate accurately and give presentations.

The learning is predominantly tutor designed and guided with scope for individual and group initiatives within this framework. The assignment framework allows for considerable individual initiative as assessments are linked to work practice in each module.

Level 5

At this level the students will be expected to demonstrate a critical approach to knowledge and evidence, to seek links between different theories on how children learn best and begin to develop mastery of complex skills and concepts to do with learning and development.

They will also be reflecting and evaluating their own practice in the workplace and making decisions about their own developmental needs. Whilst the learning design is largely tutor controlled there is learner direction in the particular focus of the work carried out.

120 credits at Level 4 entitle the student to a Certificate of Higher Education

240 credits, including 120 at Level 5, entitle the student to a Foundation Arts Degree

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ED4113 4 Fostering Positive Relationships 20 Comp
ED4114 4 Child Protection and Safeguarding 20 Comp
ED4115 4 Supporting Learning and Teaching 20 Comp
ED4501 4 Practice-based Enquiry 1 20 Comp
ED4502 4 Personal and Collaborative Learning 20 N/A
ED4503 4 Promoting Positive Relationships 20 Comp
ED4504 4 Safeguarding and Protection 20 N/A
ED4525 4 Assessment and Learning 20 N/A
ED4526 4 Effective Learning Environments 20 Comp
ED5105 5 Inclusive Practice and Diversity 20 Comp
ED5106 5 The Health and Well-being of Children and Young People 20 Comp
ED5501 5 Inclusive Practice 20 N/A
ED5503 5 Children and Young People's Health and Well-being 20 N/A
ED5504 5 Practice Based Enquiry 2 20 Comp
ED5506 5 Special Educational Needs and Disability 20 Comp
ED5522 5 Creativity and Learning 20 Comp
ED5526 5 Learning through ICT 20 Comp

240 credits in total.

120 credits at level 4 and 120 credits at level 5.


Part-time students will apply to the relevant institution directly. Applications will be filtered through the admission systems; in some cases applicants may be interviewed by the course team prior to being offered a place on the course. This degree includes a specialist vocational component, underpinned by broad based academic learning. All people working, or on placement, in a school setting must meet the 'fit person' criteria for doing so, including obtaining the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). On enrolment, all students will be required to provide evidence of a recent DBS check. The successful applicant would normally have :

  • NQF level 3 qualification in Early Years or Teaching Assistance or a related subject (not compulsory).
  • English and Mathematics at GCSE (or equivalent) grade C or above.
  • Some experience of working in a school supporting learning either voluntary or employed.
  • Meet the criteria for a 'fit person' to work with young children.

Students wishing to undertake this part-time course apply directly to the relevant institution. After an initial screening, suitable applicants are invited to an information session and individual interview session to ascertain the extent of their experience and their suitability to benefit from this programme. This ensures that applicants with atypical backgrounds for an HE programme are considered. As work-based learning is an integral part of the programme, discussions regarding work-based learning take place on entry together with an assessment of the appropriateness of any current work experience.

Applicants are asked to supply a reference which confirms that they have had a minimum of two years of experience supporting or managing provision for children and / or young people. As part of the application process applicants may be required to provide a written statement of no more than 500 words, which will be used to make an initial assessment of their basic skills and any learning support needs. The applicants’ experience, aspirations, motivation, work history, maturity and commitment will be discussed at interview and used, along with the initial assessment, to inform the guidance given, and ultimately whether a place on the programme is to be offered.

Accreditation of prior learning will be considered in line with the current policy of the University of Chester.  Each candidate would be required to submit evidence of the outcome of their previous learning, whether experiential or certified. Applicants are likely to be:

  • Mature.
  • Employed in a school in a learning support/teaching assistance role.
  • In possession of a vocational qualification at NQF level 3 or equivalent in Early Years or Teaching Assistance.

Supported by their school to undertake the programme.

There are currently no Benchmarking Statements for programmes based on the practice of Teaching Assistance. However, in designing this programme the team have taken into account the subject specific standards - "Professional Standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants" (TDA September 2007).The programme has also taken into account the following benchmark statements - Foundation Degree Qualification Benchmark (QAA 2004)- Education Studies Benchmark Statements (QAA 2000). It should be noted that the work of the TDA is now within the TA.

The programme adheres to the central University Learning and Teaching Strategy. From this, the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services have developed a local level response in the form of the Faculty Learning, Teaching, Assessment Improvement and Development Plan. This commits to pedagogical principles which include:     

  • Promoting professional engagement and reflective practice;      
  • Encouraging independent and autonomous learning;         
  • Supporting continuing professional development;     
  • Valuing students' professional experience and prior learning;        
  • Supporting diversity and personalised learning;       
  • Encouraging dynamic and participative learning;
  • Promoting collaborative learning;
  • Encouraging Internet and Web-based approaches;         
  • Supporting reflective and Practitioner enquiry.

For further details, please access:

The programme includes a range of approaches to learning and teaching:

  • University-based Modules- These modules are held at the University in technology rich environments. A range of methodologies are employed which take account of best practice and maximise active learning, sensitive to the learning styles and needs of students. These methodologies include lectures, seminars, group work, directed tasks, independent research and individual, group tutorials and blended learning.
  • Independent Learning -Independent Learning is a philosophy of education which students are encouraged to adopt. It includes the opportunity to work with a supervising tutor who offers support as students work towards completing assessment tasks but is fundamentally a more over-arching concept about an autonomous approach to work.
  • Electronic Support Materials - The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an essential feature of the Programme. Each module has a dedicated module site where key information about the module and a range of materials and interactive elements to support learning and assessment, is available.
  • Electronic Tutorial Support – Students are able to contact their module tutor or module supervisor by email whenever they wish. Tutors will endeavour to respond to student queries within 3-5 days but often sooner. Tutorial support includes face-to-face tutorial support meetings and the opportunity for students to engage with online tutorial support. Individual tutorials can also be offered using a range of technologies such as Skype and Facetime.  This is an important feature of the Programme as it enables students who may not live in close proximity to the University to access tutorial support remotely.

The programme strives to maintain a diverse assessment palette and rigorous, consistent assessment practices which aims to enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways.


All modules have a handbook that complies with University and Faculty Guidelines. All handbooks are available to students on the dedicated module space on Moodle (The University's VLE).

The module handbook includes:       

  • Module aims and learning outcomes;       
  • Outline content;       
  • Assessment method;       
  • Procedures for submission of work;        
  • Recommended reading;
  • Appropriate grading criteria;
  • Links to relevant documentation and University Policy eg. The Diversity and Equality Policy, The Disability, Gender and Race Equality Scheme, guidance on regulations governing the assessment of students.


All assessed work is graded according to a percentage scale 0-100 using the University's grading criteria linked to the appropriate QAA requirements All marking procedures comply with the central University Assessment Policies. Feedback to students is available electronically using the Turnitin and Grademark systems. Feedback on the work is intended to identify strengths and points of development. Assignments are not pre-marked.  Students may receive formative, verbal feedback on plans or on a specified amount of work identified by the tutor.

Assessment criteria are communicated to students through Programme and Module handbooks with specific assignment guidance explaining the important features of each assignment. 

Graduates will be committed to promoting the learning and wellbeing of children in either primary or secondary educational key stages. This Foundation Degree is an important pathway, which will help to raise standards in school setting and give individuals the recognition they deserve. The successful graduates will be ideally placed to support teaching and learning in school settings. See section 26 for the personal and professional characteristics of graduates on completion of this programme.

Tameside College is committed to diversity and equality and is a specialist vocational provider of education and skills training. It is an inclusive institution, which put the needs of each individual learner at the heart of its mission. The institution has established a culture where learners are encouraged to disclose their disabilities and differences and where equality and diversity are routinely celebrated. All marketing is designed to be free from any form of discrimination and to encourage students from all backgrounds to contact us.

In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed. All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices

All student needs are identified during initial assessment, induction and enrolment and the appropriate support is provided through the Learning Support teams.

This qualification is also a route for those with the potential and desire to progress to a full honours degree and then, onto post-graduate study to enable students to teach.

The University of Chester offers part-time Level 6 study to enable Foundation Degree graduates to achieve full honours. Direct entry to level 6 of the Early Childhood Studies programme (on a part-time basis) or the BA Supporting Learning with Children and Young People (Level 6 Part-time Top Up Programme) within the Faculty of Education and Children's Services facilitates this progression.


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