• Early Years

    PDA Education Support Assistant

  • SCQF Level

    Level 6

  • Attendance/Duration

    Full-time, one year

  • Start Date

    Aug 2022

Start Here

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PDA Education Support Assistant student, Emily Kennedy, tells us what her job involves, and how the course has led to the first step in her new career.

Take the next step in Early Years: Meet Alex McNamara. He started on our PDA Education Support Assistant course before progressing to HNC Additional Support Needs.

The Education Support Assistant (ESA) role is particularly relevant in educational settings. It provides support for a range of children and young people with Additional Support Needs in primary or secondary school settings. Working in an ESA role requires patience, sensitivity and responsive approaches. Although often hard work, it can also be very rewarding. At this level, there’s a significant amount of research and writing required, as you explore the theory and practices relevant to the Education Support Assistant role.

For entry to this course you’ll need:

  • A real interest in children’s learning and development
  • Five relevant National 5s or equivalent, including English and ideally Maths, OR a relevant NC course at SCQF Level 5 or equivalent, such as NC Early Education and Childcare
  • An interview with us
  • A satisfactory reference
  • Eligible to be a member of the PVG scheme

If you don’t have formal qualifications, but have life experience, then we’ll also consider you for a place, so please call us for a chat.

What's Involved

This Professional Development Award gives you specific knowledge of issues associated with children and young people in educational settings, including Additional Support Needs (ASN) across a broad spectrum of specific needs and disabilities.

Each week you will be in college 2 days and 1 day on placement in a primary or secondary school, working with children, young people and the staff team.

Here’s more on what you’ll be doing:

  • You’ll look at child development from pre-birth to 16 years, including exploring child development theory. You’ll examine the holistic needs of children and young people, and factors that influence their development.
  • You’ll explore theoretical approaches to how children learn and develop, and look at how to support children’s positive behaviour using child-centered practices. This includes understanding a range of factors that may influence their behaviour, and strategies such as working with parents.
  • You’ll investigate a range of ASN including Autism, and explore a variety of strategies used in main stream and ASN settings.
  • You’ll learn how to support language, literacy and numeracy for children and young people from birth to 18 years, and how to adapt your practice for children and young people with ASN.
  • You’ll learn about children’s rights and entitlements to protection from abuse and exploitation. You’ll look at means of protection and how to equip children to assert their right to protection.
  • You’ll build transferable Essential Skills in meaningful contexts to help you become more effective in life, learning, and work. This could be communication, numeracy, ICT, working with others, and problem solving.

You’ll also have the chance to hear from guest speakers who are specialist practitioners, especially for ASN eg presentations on Music for Children with Autism.

Go Anywhere

When you successfully complete this course, you’ll have the choice of:

  • Moving onto an HNC course such as HNC Childhood Practice or HNC Additional Support Needs
  • Seeking to start your career in the care sector as a Support Worker in a range of early learning and childcare settings, or with employment as an Educational Support Assistant

Places available



Start Date

Aug 2022

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