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For years, experienced Teaching Assistants have been asking why there is no progression beyond the Level 3 Supporting Teaching and Learning qualification.

Well, now...drum roll, please...I am delighted to announce that Cache has unveiled the Level 4 Certificate for the Advanced Practitioner in Schools and Colleges.

This brand new qualification, regulated by Ofqual, aims to provide professional development opportunities for practitioners working in the school and college workforce who already hold additional responsibilities, such as coaching and mentoring team members.

It embraces the wealth of experience, proven knowledge and skills of the learner in a teaching and learning environment and challenges them in both daily practice and theoretical understanding.
Learners will acquire and use skills of leadership, mentoring, coaching and reflection as they complete the qualification through work-based learning opportunities.

The qualification has five mandatory units:

Enabling individuals to learn

The learner considers diverse approaches to pedagogy that influence holistic learning in children and young people and explores statutory planning and monitoring requirements.

Understand how to support children and young people to improve their mental health and well-being

The learner considers the factors that could influence mental health and

well-being in children and young people and how to provide help and support. They also explore current national strategies for promoting mental health and well-being.

Working with others to support individuals with additional needs and disability in a school or college setting

The learner looks at effective inclusion of children, young people and/or adults and, through examination of national requirements and guidance, considers the responsibilities of the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) to promote learning and development.

Working with families and other professionals in a school or college setting

The learner examines statutory requirements for working in partnership with families and learns how effective partnership working with other professionals can improve the education of children, young people and/or adults. They also explore the diverse needs of families and reflect on how best to overcome barriers to partnership working.

Implementing change in school or college setting

The learner is required to plan, implement and evaluate change in relation to an identified theme, achieved through a small scale research project. The theme selected allows the learner to reflect on practice, use current research to produce recommendations for improvements to their own setting, implement these and summarise their findings.


Learners must be at least 18 years old and working, or on a practical placement, in suitable roles within schools or colleges for the duration of the training as they need to show competence in both skills and knowledge.

They have to complete a portfolio of evidence, including a series of written assignments, projects and workplace evidence which are submitted for assessment.  They may also be observed in their workplace by an assessor to demonstrate their occupational competence or need to provide expert witness testimony to evidence their skills performance.

The certificate can usually be completed in a year to 13 months and opens the door to career progression for example as a SENCo or promotion within the workforce - including management opportunities.