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Education support roles

Whether you already work in, or are interested in, important education sector roles such as Childminders, Early Years Practitioners, Pupil Support Assistants, or Additional Support Needs Assistants, we can support you in your career development with our extensive experience.

Schools, early learning and childcare settings

A secondary pupil and an adult seated in a classroom, looking at the pupil's workbookMany of our education students aspire to or already support learning in schools, early learning and childcare settings.

With the OU you can gain Higher Education certificates, diplomas or degrees to further develop practice as part of professional learning, or to progress to teacher education courses.

We also have a range of free online learning resources. 

Undergraduate qualifications 

We offer two undergraduate qualification routes directly relevant to those working or aspiring to work in learning support roles. With no formal entry requirements for either degree, they are highly suitable routes for anyone wanting to advance their understanding of children, learning and teaching: 

On the respective degree webpages, you'll find information about options to study: ​

  • a particular module by itself, for interest or as a ‘taster’ of OU study
  • for a Certificate in Higher Education (2 modules)
  • for a Diploma in Higher Education (4 modules)
  • for a Degree (6 modules)

Postgraduate study

Have an undergraduate degree already? You may be interested in our Masters in Education qualification. With four specialist pathways (Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Management, Applied Linguistics and Inclusive Practice), your choice of route enables you to engage with issues, concepts, and debates in an area that supports your professional development. 

The Masters in Education qualification offers you the chance to study:

  • a particular module by itself, for interest or as a ‘taster’ of OU Postgraduate study.
  • for a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education 
  • for a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education 
  • for a Masters Degree

We also have an Open Masters qualification. This allows you to create a personalised course of study across a range of academic disciplines, aligning with your employment needs and professional aspirations. 

Our module Advance your independent learning provides a structure and support to conduct your own professional enquiry into an area you are interested in.

Credit transfer

If you have already studied for qualifications at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 7 or above (including other university courses, Higher National Certificates or Diplomas, or Professional Development Awards), you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

Visit our Credit Transfer website to check whether your previous study might be eligible for credit transfer, or to find out more about applying.

We have established credit transfer arrangements for related college qualifications, such as Higher National Certificate Childhood Practice or Professional Development Award Childhood Practice (at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 9). Credit from these qualifications can count towards BA (Honours) Early Childhood, Top-up BA (Honours) Early Childhood, Diploma of Higher Education in Early Childhood, or towards the undergraduate Open degree, allowing students to design their own bespoke, interdisciplinary degree.

More information about transferring credit and building on college qualifications 

Free learning resources 

Free learning resources most relevant for school and early years support staff are collated in this OpenLearn hub, with regularly changing content: topics include mental health, child development, parental involvement, and supporting learning in specific subject areas.