Beginners guide to teaching assistant terminology

1st September 2021

Beginners guide to teaching assistant courses and terminology

As you embark on your exciting journey to becoming a qualified teaching assistant, you will come across a variety of courses to choose from and a fair amount of terminology too. At De Montfort College, we want to help you as much as possible, so in that vein, we’ve created this article to answer many of the questions you may have.

Who is DMC?

DMC is an abbreviation of our full name, De Montfort College, that is sometimes used by students when speaking about us if you’re online or talking to someone about teaching assistant courses and mention “DMC”, they mean us.

What are RQF qualifications?

The RQF framework has replaced NVQs as the official government recognised qualifications for teaching assistants. RQF is jointly regulated by England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales’ DCELLS and Northern Ireland’s CCEA. Schools and colleges in the UK only recognise RQF qualifications, so you must check that the course you enrol on will give you one. All of our NCFE CACHE teaching assistant courses are on the RQF framework.

Who is NCFE?

NCFE is a national awarding organisation that develops government recognised qualifications and awards. NCFE owns the brand CACHE, which specialises in various qualifications, including those for teaching assistants.

Who is CACHE?

CACHE, or the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education, is a part of NCFE that specialises in health, care and education qualifications. Importantly, CACHE teaching assistant qualifications are recognised as part of the RQF framework, meaning that schools and colleges formally recognise them.

Who is OFQUAL?

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. Their role is to ensure the maintenance of standards and confidence in qualifications in England.

What is the difference between NCFE CACHE Level 2 Courses vs Level 3 Courses?

The difference between level 2 teaching assistant courses and level 3 is the depth of knowledge you are expected to have by the end. While Level 2 courses take six months, level 3 courses take a year. In that additional time, you’ll gain more skills and understanding about being a teaching assistant, which will ultimately help you progress your career more quickly.

What is the difference between Award, Certificate and Diploma courses?

The most significant difference between the types of courses on offer is whether you need to work or volunteer in a school to take them. Award courses are open to anyone, and you don’t need to be currently working in a school. In contrast, both Certificate and Diploma courses require a work placement because there are practical assignments to complete.

In summary, please choose your course type based on which statement below best describes you.

“I’m not currently working or volunteering in a school, but I would like to qualify as a teaching assistant.”
Choose an Award course.

“I’m currently working or volunteering in a school.”
Choose a Certificate or Diploma course.

Who is UCAS?

UCAS is an independent charity that is perhaps best known for providing further education admission services. College and University applicants will undoubtedly be familiar with UCAS points, which are often used as a measure of learning achievement.

What is CPD?

CPD, which stands for Continuing Professional Development, is the term used for ongoing training and learning to enhance an individual’s abilities and skills.