Do I want to teach NVQ? Teetering on the edge…

on the edge

(cc image by The Majestic Fool)

I’ve got a big dilemma at the moment. Do I stay with what I’m doing or leap off the edge?

I’ve just spent a year teaching NCFE2 to a fine group of teaching assistants. I’ve built up lots of resources and lesson plans and I’d actually started to feel that I might just know what I’m doing.

Then whoosh, everything changes, again. The place I work isn’t offering NCFE2 next year, only NVQ 2 because of changes in funding. They propose that I just switch to that instead but NVQ2 is a very different proposition:

  1. Ideally meant for those already employed, it is less easy for people on voluntary placements. Yet it is mostly volunteers that have already signed up for the course.
  2. It involves a much higher commitment to placement observations than NCFE
  3. No scope for simulations – everything has to happen in school, no role plays.
  4. Much more involvement from placement schools and teachers. Hard to get for volunteers rather than staff members.
  5. The dreaded grids need to be tracked, collated and generally understood by all concerned.
  6. It’s just been revised and the text books are now all out of date.
  7. I haven’t a clue how to organise the materials or sessions so I’d have to start again from scratch with my planning.

Add to this a higher tutor/ student ratio and I’m left wondering if this is going to be more trouble than it is worth.

All of this doesn’t even begin to address the other issues I have with teaching at the moment.

I have been totally unable to find any sort of online network of UK based peers interested in adult education at pre-degree level. No forums, bloggers, twitterers, ning groups, nix. So no personal learning network of peers again this year. (Nothing wrong with all my great primary school network but a few peers would be nice)

The paperwork is daunting, hard to keep on top of and NVQ has even more of it.

I hated the Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector course with a vengeance. It was a real pain and had me tearing my hair out. Teaching NVQ would mean embarking on yet another course, this time for assessors of NVQs.

On the plus side I mostly enjoyed the actual teaching sessions, the interactions, watching people grow in confidence and competence. I quite enjoyed the school visits and learning to navigate my way round unfamiliar parts of London.

Not teaching next year feels very high risk. It means I’m totally dependant on my writing and my online activities to provide me with an income. The return might be that with more energy and input from me my other stuff really takes off.

Shall I jump and hope that I can fly?

(cc image by SFTC/Gill)


15 thoughts on “Do I want to teach NVQ? Teetering on the edge…

  1. Hi Linda
    I’m afraid I am off-topic but couldn’t find a ‘contact you’ page.
    I have just stumbled across your blogs and love your writing. We are looking for new publishing opportunities and a few areas of your work/interests strike an immediate chord with what we are doing at the moment.
    If you would like to discuss this please email me.
    Best wishes
    Jenny Lee
    Commissioning Editor
    Optimus Professional Publishing

  2. Thanks for the advice, but I’m not sure the money is ‘decent’ when you take into account the marking and prep, the unpaid time spent travelling to the large number of observations, and the level of personalisation the new NVQ for TAs involves.
    Plus you’ve got to sort out the grids as most people don’t really understand how to do it at Level 2. Actually not sure I do!

  3. I feel your pain and dilemma i have just started teaching the NVQ level 2 in hairdressing. It is really hard work and i don’t think i am cut out for it i hate all the paperwork! Hairdressing is definitley a lot easier i feel like i have made a big mistake.
    I’m just doing my PTLLS and not really enjoying it but the teacher is good so that’s a little bonus. Like you said the pay might be good but you don’t really get a life do you?
    But i’m not sure what do either so good luck to you, i thought you might just like to know you are not alone.

    Kind regards


  4. Hi Chantel
    I sort of managed to side step the issue as at the last minute I got the chance to teach the old course again this year. Trouble is it has been rewritten too and I’m doing it in 2/3rds of the time for 2 classes rather than 1!So lots of re-planning again.
    It really does get in the way of other stuff and right now I’m regretting my choice. Nice to know I’m not alone and I’m glad you are having a positive experience with PTTLLS.

  5. Hi
    Iv started the 7303 course and hate it!! is there any way i can look at students passed work as i am clue less and need some help

    thank you

  6. Hi Helen
    Sorry you are not enjoying the course. I loathed it! I haven’t found any examples of students work for PTLLS online and it’s not for lack of trying. I’m not a good choice to help as I’m still struggling with it too. Have you talked to your lecturer? Do you have access to smartscreen?

  7. I thought it was just me, i am doing a level 3 in supporting teaching and learning in schools as I am an x school teacher. the paper work seems horrendous and the assessment tricky to understand and fully explain if its your first time!

    wheres the help.

    1. Hi, no it’s not just you! I decided against teaching it in the end but many other FE qualifications are going the same way. NCFE level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning was really no better last year, with tons of paperwork and grids that the students simply found overwhelming. This year I’m doing 10 week entry level pre NVQ2 courses. The idea is they’ve learned the portfolio building skills on my course before they get to the real thing. There’s less paperwork and prep but less focus too.

  8. Hello, i’m really fascinated my the content of your blog and the thread of discussion. NVQ qualification is very useful, it demonstrates someone competence at the job he/she does. To be an NVQ Assessor opens more income opportunities to anyone but it will be essential for such a person to have a teaching training which is where PTTLS 7303 comes in. It provides a ‘stepping stone’ to teaching in the lifelong learning sector. If there is anyone struggling or having challenges in any NVQ courses, A1 award, V1 awards or PTTLS, you can visit our website at to get useful articles and resources that will help to complete this qualifications easily. Free online support is available too where every question is answered promptly.

  9. Hi, I usually just delete comments that are made with key words rather than someone’s name but I had a look at your site and it does have some useful stuff so I’ve just de-linked it. I’ve left the link to your NVQ Health and Social Care site in the comment.
    Although PTTLS is a starting point it was my NVQ Assessor training I was trying to decide about. Actually PTLLS would have been OK I think if I’d had a better informed tutor!
    In the end I decided not to go ahead with NVQ assessor qualification. I only teach 1 day a week as I work on other things the rest of the time. I can earn more per hour lecturing than assessing and I don’t have to attend in school observations.
    I’m still concerned that NVQ2 really doesn’t prepare people to be effective teaching assistants. It’s all about jumping through hoops and getting the right paper work signed by the right people. It’s about proving competencies that the new TA doesn’t really have yet so it might be fudged.
    For example is perfectly possible to pass NVQ2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools and yet not be able to spell all the words on the high frequency word list!

  10. Hi, i am hopeing someone will be able to direct me the right way to go. I have designed my own Care Assistants and taught it to pupils. I have worked in care for 24 years managing sheltered schemes,mother and baby units homeless projects etc. I would like to teach the Health and Social care course but not sure where to go. I am in the process of completing my PTTLS 7303 course can someone advise me and point me in the right direction

  11. You’re doing the right thing doing the PTLLS. I’ve just completed mine and now need to choose between doing a CertEd with a view of teaching children or doing the DTLLS for teaching adults. Perhaps someone in the NHS, for instance, might be interested in either employing you to deliver training for their new staff or alternatively, you might like to sell them your course. I would envisage it could be worth a few thousand £’s,if you were to sell it. Don’t talk money though, see what they’re prepared to offer.

  12. I am currently studying PTLLS and I hate it. The essay type questions give you the impression that you can answer them from your own experience and knowledge, this however is not the case, and instead I had to sit through three days of mundane drivel then rewrite all the essays so that they included some of the elements from the course. Additionally there is a huge pile of additional paperwork to create and organise. My instructor was uninspiring, poorly prepared and critical of some of the students. This hasn’t been a pleasant experience and I definitely don’t recommend it to anyone else.

  13. Hi Paul,
    It’s a while since I did my PTTLS now and I’m having to think about doing DTTLS next year if I’m to carry on teaching. I think the PTTLS course varies massively depending on your tutor & the set up at your college. I know a few people who have found it useful but they really are the minority.
    I think the bigger question may be whether it is worth the investment of time,money, energy and resources to do any adult education qualifications in the current climate of cuts.

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