QCF Qualifications

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) accredits qualifications for school support staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own system - the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SQCF).

QCF qualifications are work-related qualifications which show you have the skills and knowledge to do a particular job to agreed national standards. Most are achieved through training and on-the-job assessment, not by sitting an exam at the end. Some are theory-based only, and do not require a work placement to complete.

Qualifications are made up of units, each of which has a credit rating. There are three size ranges of qualifications in the QCF:

  •          Award - for qualifications up to 12 credits in size
  •          Certificate - for qualifications between 13-16 credits
  •          Diploma - for qualifications of 37 credits or more.

Credits for units can be carried forward by learners. For example, someone moving from a childcare setting to working in a school may have already achieved one or more units that will contribute to a QCF qualification in supporting teaching and learning in schools.

The following seven qualifications were developed specifically for school support staff:

Qualification

Description

Level 2 Award in support work in schools 

  • Knowledge-based qualification suitable for all support staff roles in schools.
  • Develops 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.
  • 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 

  • For school staff who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils.
  • Incorporates 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

  • 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.
  • Incorporates units in the Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Shares units with the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, recognising that teaching assistants may have additional responsibilities.
  • Has fewer credits than the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, which candidates who progress to a teaching assistant role can gain through the achievement of credit from additional units.

Level 3 Award in supporting teaching and learning in schools

  • Knowledge-based qualification suitable for candidates not yet in a school role but who have the capability to achieve at Level 3; candidates wishing to demonstrate progression and as initial training.
  • Intended to provide the underpinning knowledge and understanding for those with a role in directly working with young people in schools.

Level 3 Certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools

  • For school staff who directly support the teaching and learning of pupils.
  • Incorporates 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

  • For staff working in the role of Cover Supervisor.
  • Incorporates units of the Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Includes some units that are also in the Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Reflects differences between the cover supervisor and teaching assistant roles by omitting units about actively advancing pupils’ learning and including a unit on providing whole-class supervision.
  • Candidates moving from one role to the other can 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

  • For staff who directly support teaching and learning of pupils in an area that requires specialist knowledge and skills. Incorporates units in 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 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications framework go to http://scqf.org.uk/