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Assistants qualify for awards

I WOULD like to correct the statement: "There is no equivalent to the BTEC childcare training that is the starting point for many primary assistants" (TES, January 24).

The NVQ 2 and 3 for teaching assistants (City and Guilds), which South Downs College offer, are ideal qualifications for teaching assistants, particularly those working in junior and secondary schools.

The NVQs for teaching assistants are relatively new, but level 3 is a valid route into teaching (via the foundation degree we also offer).

Students enjoy the courses and find them relevant. Schools are supportive - which is essential because of workplace assessments. But, as most students enrolled themselves on to the course, it appears that most schools do not know these NVQs exist. Given the shortage of teachers and the extended role of assistants, this seems a shame. So, if you want a well-qualified workforce, contact your local FE college - we're here to help.

Ann Gorecki

South Downs College

College Road

Waterlooville, Hampshire

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