NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools

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  • England
  • Wales

This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables.

It provides the core knowledge and skills needed to work unsupervised providing specialist support for children and young people in primary, secondary or special schools.

It meets Ofqual’s purpose code ‘D1: Confirm competence in an occupational role to the standards required’.

Education context

CACHE-branded qualifications are specialist qualifications in the childcare, health and social care, and education sectors.

In 2015 CACHE became part of NCFE.

This qualification was launched in 2010 with the introduction of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Awarding organisation
  • NCFE
Qualification code
501/0476/7 (Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools)

The learner must achieve 11 mandatory units, totalling 32 credits, plus 12 credits from a group of 38 optional units, to achieve the Diploma.

Of the 44 credits required to achieve the Diploma, 40 of them must be at or above the level of the qualification (Level 3).

Subject areas

Mandatory units cover:

  • communication and professional relationships with children, young people and adults
  • schools as organisations
  • supporting learning activities
  • children and young people’s positive behaviour
  • equality, diversity and inclusion in work with children and young people
  • supporting assessment for learning
  • understanding child and young person development
  • understanding how to safeguard the well-being of children and young people
  • supporting children and young people’s health and safety
  • engaging in personal development in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings

A broad range of optional units provides learners with an opportunity to specialise in specific subjects or develop their knowledge and skills in areas of particular interest. Optional units include (but are not limited to):

  • invigilating tests and examinations
  • supporting literacy and numeracy development
  • supporting delivery of the 14 – 19 curriculum
  • supporting children’s speech, language and communication
  • supporting disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs
  • supporting learners with sensory and physical needs
  • improving the attendance of children and young people in statutory education
  • promoting the well-being and resilience of children and young people
  • supporting young people in relation to sexual health and risk of pregnancy
  • supporting young people who are socially excluded or excluded from school
  • Level 3

UK Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)[1]

A levels are Level 3 qualifications regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)[2]

Level 3 is aligned with Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 6

[1] The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications.

[2] The RQF is the new system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual, indexing them by level and size.


Pass, Fail


Learners are assessed by their training provider.

A variety of assessment methods are used, e.g. direct observation within the workplace, a portfolio of evidence, written assignments.

There are no externally marked assessments.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Learners must achieve a pass in all units to achieve the qualification.

Resit arrangements

Learners are assessed by their training provider as they progress through the qualification.

They have the opportunity to resubmit work for assessment following feedback from their tutor and assessor.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

The qualification has a range of 232 – 286 guided learning hours

The exact GLH depends on the optional units chosen.

UCAS Tariff points

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools

Grade Points
P 24
Key issues for UK HE admissions

The first cohort of students completed the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools in August/September 2011.

Holders of the qualifications will have been applying for entry to higher education from September 2011 onwards.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

We would expect most learners to complete this qualification in one academic year.

There is the flexibility to enable some learners to progress quicker than others.

Results are confirmed, and certificates issued, upon completion.

Qualification dates notes

This is a current qualification

Reporting and certification information

Results are made available to CACHE centres throughout the year.

Data is provided for FORVUS (DfE&BIS), Ofqual and Welsh Government.

Progression information

This qualification enables learners to work unsupervised in a variety of Level 3 roles that support children and young people’s learning in schools.

These include specialist roles, such as:

  • Teaching assistant
  • Learning support assistant
  • Special needs assistant.

It also provides learners with the knowledge and skills related to working with children and young people in a variety of school settings which will enable them to study towards achieving Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status.

According to the school environment in which learners are or will be working, the Diploma could also allow them to study towards achieving Early Years Teacher status.