There are several different organisations who run training courses for the school workforce.
Many schools deliver their own training and have a staff member responsible for assessing staff training needs. Schools may deliver nationally recognised qualifications as well as customised learning, or may take on new staff through an apprenticeship scheme. Check with your supervisor or head teacher to see if this is the case in your school.
Teaching schools are outstanding schools that work with other schools to provide high-quality training and development to new and experienced school staff. One of their responsibilities is to offer a range of professional development opportunities for school support staff. Speak to you head teacher to find out about any local opportunities.
Some local authorities (LAs) or councils deliver training for schoools in their area, working in partnership with schools to asses their training needs and provide development for their staff. Talk to your supervisor or head teacher or contact your local authority to find out what provision they have. A full list of local authority contacts can be found here.
Further education colleges
Further education colleges deliver nationally recognised qualifications to people over 16 years old. They will also deliver customised training to local employers. To find out what's available at your local college, talk to your union learning rep, or contact the college for a prospectus.
National Extension College
The National Extension College is an educational charity which is part of the Open School Trust. They offer GCSEs, A Levels and some RQF qualifications and UNISON members can receive a 10% discount on all courses. Find out more here
Some universities have partnership arrangements with further education colleges and employers to deliver some courses relevant to school staff. The institutions involved include the Open University, and the courses include foundation degrees as well as undergraduate courses leading to first degrees. UCAS is the central organisation which processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. You can find out more on the UCAS website.
The Open University offers part-time, flexible courses. For more information on the qualifications they offer in Education, Childhood and Youth, visit the website here
Private providers are training companies which can deliver training locally to schools.
Learndirect provides information about and access to courses, many of which are online and can be studied at home, at work (with agreement from your school) or in local Learndirect centres. You can find out more on the LearnDirect website
Online and long-distance providers
Various online organisations offer qualifications such as Stonebridge, ICS Learn, Open Study College and Home Learning College. Prices can vary considerably so it is worth comparing all the options.
Many unions run courses to help their members brush up the skills they need (e.g. reading, writing, maths, ICT and study skills) to progress on training and education courses. UNISON, for example, runs Learning and Organising Services (LAOS) which promotes lifelong learning both nationally and at local level to its members.