Why study this course

Gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) while continuing to work as a Teaching Assistant

Build on knowledge gained on your Foundation Degree, and the experience you have from your work in primary schools

With over 150 years of experience in teacher education, and our long-standing national reputation within the field, you will develop an understanding of how practice and theory are linked by working in small teaching groups with a range of expert leaders

Our excellent pastoral support can enable you to feel at ease, relaxed and supported both academically and personally

Course summary

Are you a teaching assistant currently working in a primary school, or working in an equivalent educational setting? If you’ve recently completed a relevant Foundation Degree and are looking to pursue a career in primary teaching, then this course could be a perfect next step for you. The course is a stimulating and challenging degree at honours level, developing the qualities required in 21st century teachers.

Subject to validation, this course will be delivered via blended learning; on one day each half term, students will attend campus for sessions, and the remainder of the taught content will be delivered through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous sessions to allow students flexibility. Some placements may take place in the school in which students are working as a TA.

This course is Subject to Revalidation. Click here to learn more.

Key facts


Award

BA (Hons)

UCAS code

X123

Duration

16 months

Mode of study

Full-time

Start date

September

Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code

B38

Course details

About this course

A combination of practice-based learning, campus-based and online sessions and private study will allow you to continue in work whilst studying, and use of the Virtual Learning Environment will enable you to access course materials and undertake tasks in your own time. You’ll examine current theory, with each module containing teaching, assessment and independent work, all of which are directly relevant to the primary classroom. School placements will ensure the knowledge and skills you acquire are also strongly anchored in practice.

This is a stimulating and challenging vocational degree course that also leads to a professional qualification. To make the most of it you’ll need to be highly motivated and well-organised, and equally confident in learning with others as learning independently. In return, you’ll benefit from the opportunity to equip yourself with the academic and professional qualities required in 21st-century teachers.

What you will study

Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules:

In this module students will explore inclusion, with a particular focus on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). It will also cover English as an Additional Language (EAL) and managing behaviour. Planning, assessment, organisation, working with others and the learning environment will also be introduced.

This module is designed to provide support for the development of subject specific knowledge and the interaction between areas of the curriculum, ensuring that the students are able to develop the skills and knowledge, linked to relevant and current practice.

Students will design their own research in education, formulating questions, choosing appropriate methods for the methodology, collecting and analysing data, taking responsibility for ethical practice. The module requires students to be intellectually curious and accept ambiguity.

This module comprises a solo school placement, usually of at least 7 weeks, in the student’s chosen age phase. Students will develop their knowledge, understanding and application in a chosen age phase. Students will also have opportunity to broaden their experience in a shorter school experience in another setting.

This module supports students to identify their own needs in terms of subject knowledge, experience and skills. Initial subject audits and personal tutorials will develop a structure to support the personalised development of skills and knowledge through taught sessions, independent learning and school based tasks. Students will build on their initial starting points, regularly reflecting on progress and building a future plan for after completion of the programme

The final school placement module comprises a solo school placement, usually of at least 8 weeks, in your chosen age phase, allowing you to develop your knowledge, understanding and application in that age phase.

Entry requirements

You will normally have satisfactorily complete a Level 5 qualification such as BGU’s FdA in Professional Studies (Education) or an equivalent education based qualification, and possess GCSEs in English, Mathematics and Science at grade 4 (previously C) or above (or equivalent). If you have a Foundation degree obtained at another institution we will closely consider the content to confirm whether it is a suitable match.

A reference from your school will be required before an interview. Please ensure that someone who works with you is able to provide this either on your UCAS form or before your interview.

Applicants are expected to be working as TA for a minimum of 2 days per week, and have written support from their school; a PTS Partnership Agreement form will need to be completed as a condition of enrolment. At least two years’ experience is desirable.

Further information

Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources and key policies.

In accordance with University conditions, students are entitled to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, RP(C)L, based on relevant credit at another HE institution or credit Awarded for Experiential Learning, (RP(E)L).

More information to follow when revalidation is complete. If you have any questions about the course for 2022, please email becky.geeson@bishopg.ac.uk with any questions or to arrange a Teams call to discuss this further.

How you will be taught

This 16 month course is aimed at teaching assistants working in primary schools. It allows you to combine your work in a school with study towards an honours degree. You will learn through the VLE for most of the course, with one half day on campus for face to face sessions every half term. Modules will all include integrated work based learning activities which you will reflect on with tutors and peers and will inform you academic learning.

You will develop your understanding of curriculum subject knowledge and pedagogy, assessment, behaviour management and inclusion with a view to practical applications in the classroom. This course ensures that theory is firmly anchored in practice which is particularly relevant to the small-scale research project you will be asked to complete during the course.

School placements are an integral part of the course and at the end of the course, you will be assessed against the national Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) standards. The final teaching placement will usually occur during the autumn term of the second year.

Assessment

There is a range of assessments built into this course including an individual presentation, assignments, small-scale research, reports and work-based portfolios. All assessments are marked by a range of tutors and you will receive detailed feedback.

Careers & Further study

Former graduates of the top up degree with QTS have become successful teachers in a range of primary settings.

What Our Students Say

Discover what life is like at Bishop Grosseteste University from our students.

Support

Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.

We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.

Fees & Finance

A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.

Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand.

Undergraduate course applicants must apply via UCAS using the relevant UCAS code. For 2022 entry, the application fee is £22 for a single choice, or £26.50 for more than one choice. For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate.

‘Head Teachers’ Frequently Asked Questions – more about the PTS Partnership Agreement’

Information for PTS applicants’ schools.

Is important that head teachers and governing bodies of PTS trainees’ ‘home schools’ are aware of the commitment required by the school. Below are some questions that head teachers frequently ask:

This course has been a very successful campus-based programme for many years with PTS trainees typically finishing the course with excellent outcomes and employability. However, at times they have found managing the time on campus tricky around their school and home commitments. Our move to blended learning aims to make this course more flexible for them, and for you as their employing school.

Trainees will need to be on campus for one day per half term, and the rest of their learning will happen outside the school day.

A provisional timetable is shown below under the Provisional timetable plan tab.

No, in our new blended learning delivery approach, we aim to ensure that online live sessions happen in the evenings, and much of the taught content will be delivered in a way that enables them to manage their own time around their TA work.

However, PTS trainees would benefit greatly from ring-fencing time for study during the school week; if they currently leave school for FdA sessions on a Tuesday from 1-8pm for example, it would be very beneficial to maintain this to enable them to study. This is something that you and your TA can negotiate.

Yes – in part. During the majority of the year, TA/trainees will study around their TA commitments and are required to continue their TA role (either paid or voluntary) in their ‘home’ school for a minimum of 2 days per week. However, during placement times, the trainee will not be able to carry out their role as a TA as they will need to be a trainee teacher for these weeks. Placement periods are all day, Mon-Fri even if the trainee only works part time as a TA, and even if the placement is in their ‘home’ school.

We are not able to confirm exact timings for the placements yet as timetables will not be confirmed until the summer. However, a provisional timetable of dates is shown below and includes:

An Introductory placement which may take place in the TA’s ‘home’ school occurs early on in the course.

A longer Developing placement will usually occur in the Spring/Summer term in a different school.

Another long Extending placement will occur in the Autumn term of the following academic year – this may be able to occur in the student’s ‘home’ school.

These placements have been organised to ensure BGU complies with the current ITT criteria (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice ) and schools/TAs should NOT attempt to source their own placements for the Developing placement in an alternative school, or for Introductory or Extending placements if they can’t happen in the TA/trainee’s home school. All placements will be organised in liaison with the BGU Placement Services Office (PSO) to ensure they are fully compliant.

The PSO will contact your TA a minimum of 2 weeks before the placement is due to commence.


The PSO will do their best to allocate a school as near to the TA’s home address as possible. The placement will be allocated in line with the BGU Transport policy (available https://www.bgu.ac.uk/about-bgu/policies-and-procedures) This policy should be read carefully by students before the course so they are aware of the processes that take place in order to secure placements.

School contractual arrangements should be discussed with the TA’s line manager. However, be aware that TAs will not be able to carry out their roles as a TA during their placement weeks. We understand that schools will need to arrange for cover during your TA’s absences during placement times, and explain to potential applicants that this is something they should discuss with their school preferably before applying for the course.

We encourage schools to support their TA/trainee by allocating a member of staff to informally provide support throughout the year, through encouraging TA/trainees to challenge themselves and engage in as many opportunities to develop their practice as possible, and ensuring the TA/trainee has someone they can go to for advice.

TAs/Trainees will be required to carry out self-directed tasks relating to their academic modules during non-placement times. These will be flexible, and not require significant input from your staff; for example the TA/trainee may be asked to reflect on how your school’s behaviour management policy was used during an incident in school, or look at the maths resources used in EYFS. TAs/Trainees will be expected to anonymise all names when discussing their work-based learning with others, and also avoid making negative judgements.

On assessed placements a more formal school-based mentor (SBM) will be allocated, supported by university based mentors (UBM).

No. Occasionally, we have been able to change placement dates by a few days in exceptional circumstances, but generally, the planned placement times published by BGU must be adhered to so that we can ensure placements are planned carefully, organised in a timely manner, properly moderated and quality assured. This also ensures that trainees do not fall behind with academic modules and assessments.

While we will be as flexible as possible to meet the varying needs of this group of trainees who will be balancing their roles as TAs alongside studying for the final part of their BA (Hons) degree, and taking into account the many pressures facing each school, there are some aspects of the programme we are unable to change due to ITT Criteria Compliance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice.

In this document you can see that trainees must teach in at least two different schools (we deem the Developing and Extending placements to fulfil this requirement so the PSO arrange an alternative setting for the Developing placement to facilitate this and provide an earlier contrast in the trainee’s programme. Our trainees will train as either 3-7 or 5-11 trainees.

For this programme we generally do not place students in SEN settings unless their home school is an SEN setting. A placement in an SEN setting will be compliant based on the chronological, rather than the cognitive age of the children.

For the Introductory placement, normally, we would place a PTS trainee in either the same class as they are employed in, or an alternative key stage. Then for Developing, we find out what class they are likely to be in for their Extending then go the opposite for Developing.

So, there are two options for 3-7 trainees, and 6 options for 5-11 trainees for their Developing and Extending placements:

Developing and extending placements

Our Placement Services Office are responsible for organising the placement of all trainees. Our PSO will contact you early in the programme to discuss possible arrangements and see if you are willing to host a student in your school while your TA/Trainee is elsewhere. The PSO cannot guarantee a student can be found to come to your school while your TA/Trainee is elsewhere. If you have links with a school nearby that might be able to offer a placement for your student, please discuss this with the PSO so that they can negotiate the arrangements. Please do not make arrangements for this to happen before discussing it with the PSO. Trainees should not phone schools themselves in an attempt to arrange placements.

Changes often occur for our trainees and their ‘home’ schools during the course. We have often had students fulfil their ‘home’ school requirements (2 days per week) in either more than one school at once, or after changing ‘home’ schools during the course. The TA/Trainee will be responsible for sourcing and alternative ‘home’ school should their role at their original school change for any reason during the course.

Who should I contact for more information?

Please contact the programme leader becky.geeson@bishopg.ac.uk in the first instance for any further queries.

In the summer, our Admissions team will send out a PTS Partnership Agreement form. This will detail the school’s, the TA/trainee’s and BGU’s roles and is a condition of enrolment for the trainee.


Note the Extending placement (which may be in the TA/trainee's home school) in the Autumn term of the following year will last for most of the Autumn term.