Course information

Study type Study Tier Start Date Duration Course Contact

Part Time

  • Higher
1 September 20193 yearsPenny Dove


  • You will need to be working in a learning support or teaching assistant role
  • Applicants without formal qualifications, but with relevant experience will be considered
  • 3 GCSEs at grade C or above to include English and Mathematics/3 GCSEs at grade 4 or above to include English and Mathematics– or equivalents
  • Successful interview


The part- time 3 -year Foundation Degree (FdA) in Learning Support is designed for current and aspiring Teaching Assistants, SEN workers and those working 1-1 with students with special needs who wish to gain a professional recognition via a university level qualification.

The course will provide the opportunity to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of supporting learning and take your education support role to the next level.


On this course you will:

  • Study alongside your existing learning support role, either as an employed teaching assistant or as a volunteer (minimum of 12 hours per week). You can be employed/volunteering in a preschool, general or special educational needs setting, school, college or other educational institution.
  • experience a range of dynamic and professionally relevant teaching from highly experienced staff
  • learn in supportive study groups with other practitioners from a range of backgrounds
  • discover ways in which you can take your learning into your practice

Whilst you will be based at the Isle of Wight College, you will also be a University of Portsmouth student and therefore able to access a range of university facilities, as well as those provided by the Isle of Wight College.


The course runs currently on a TUESDAY from 5.30 – 8.30pm.

The course is designed to encompass the wide range of topics associated with being a learning support professional.  Students are encouraged to continually reflect on their studies and relate their learning to their professional roles.  Some of the topics covered in the course include:

  • strategies for supporting learner’s individual needs, understanding the range of special educational needs and disabilities
  • investigating theories of learning and understanding their use to support learning.
  • exploring assessment and its impact on learning
  • social and emotional needs of students
  • developing support for numeracy and literacy

Units of study will include subjects such as:

  • The Professional Role
  • Educational Contexts
  • Learning in Groups
  • How Learning Develops
  • Supporting Literacy
  • Theory and Practice of Assessment
  • Working in a Professional Team
  • Supporting SEND
  • Supporting Learners with Challenging Behaviour
  • Supporting Numeracy
  • Practitioner Based Enquiry – Proposal
  • Practitioner Based Enquiry – Report

Teaching will be classroom based with work based research and practice. Classroom activities will include group tasks and seminars as well as more formal input sessions.

Each unit of study will require you to reflect on your work based practice. You will be encouraged to identify a critical friend in your workplace who will be able to support you through the course.

There are no final exams. Instead, each unit has its own assessment focus, which could include:

  • Essays
  • Reflective diaries
  • Online discussions
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Research projects

You will be given clear guidance for all assignments.


If you are successful in the Foundation degree, you can apply for direct entry to level three of the BA (Hons) Education and Training Studies where you will study educational issues from a wide perspective including sociological issues and professional practice, alongside carrying out an in-depth personal study.

Many students have successfully followed this route into Qualified Teacher Status by completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, embarking on the School Centred Initial Teacher Training Programme (SCITT) or the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP).

Others have used the qualification to gain promotion in the teaching assistant role.


Application should be made to University of Portsmouth using the online form*.

The course will commence in September 2018.  Further details are available from University of Portsmouth.

Fees for 2017 entry were £2,375.  This annual fee may incur a small inflation linked rise for the subsequent years of study.

For information regarding assistance with fees; please refer to the government student finance site.

Advice is also available via the University of Portsmouth Student Finance Centre.

Last updated 49 mins ago.

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