What is the difference between Level 2 and Level 3 Teaching Assistant qualifications?


Thousands of teaching assistants play an essential role in supporting teachers across England and it can be both a flexible and highly rewarding position.

From aiding those in primary or secondary education to giving support to those with special educational needs, it’s a role that often involves working with individuals or small groups of pupils.

It’s also a great opportunity to gain experience ahead of a potential career in the classroom, and if you’re considering a teaching assistant role it helps to know what qualifications are out there to help you on your way.

You should also note that local authorities and schools will set the requirements for roles, so the required skills and qualifications can vary greatly by geographic areas.

What qualifications are there for teaching assistants?

Among the main qualifications are the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools and the Level 2 Teaching Assistant Certificate, in addition to the Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools and the Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma.

These awards often include elements of classroom time and are designed to be flexible, while they can be completed without working in an educational setting.

Alongside cementing the basic skills, these qualifications will help to demonstrate an understanding of behavioural management, learning processes and pupil welfare – vital elements of a teaching assistant role.

If you’re considering a teaching assistant role, previous experience in childcare, youth work or nurseries can be useful, while a university degree can also be used to show skills competency.

In addition, you’ll also need qualifications in literacy and numeracy at GCSE level or equivalent to enrol.

The differences between teaching assistant qualifications

The key difference between level 2 and level 3 is the depth of information that is tested, with level 2 designed to outline the basic principles and knowledge needed to fulfil a teaching assistant role.

This provides preparation for work in primary education or with older pupils, giving you the platform to successfully transition into a career in the classroom.

You’ll also be prepared for some of the challenges you may face and will have the necessary knowledge to support a wide array of classroom activities.

Level 3 qualifications aim to build on the basics, enhancing your skills and knowledge in the process, while deepening your understanding of what to expect.

These qualifications are more likely to be required for specialised roles, including those in SEN education, or for higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) roles, which have greater responsibility.

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