Partners in Learning – Advanced Certificate for education support staff

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Date(s) - 04/09/2024 - 31/08/2025
12:00 am


The next available course will begin in September 2024.

Apply for the 2024 course from here – download and complete the following application form:

Partners in Learning course can provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide a high level of education for the learners with whom you work.

Partners in Learning is an in depth training course for teaching assistants and other education professionals working with learners with vision impairment from 0-25. It was originally developed by RNIB and the Open University before being taken over by VIEW in 2015. The course is studied and assessed online over 12 months with two face to face training days. Around 1000 education professionals have studied the course since it was first launched in 2005 and it is the only nationally available course of its kind in the UK.

Partners in Learning was accredited as a BTEC advanced certificate at level 3 until 2018,  when BTEC rules changed to require a minimum of 100 learners per year. Because vision impairment is a low incidence special educational need we are unable to recruit such large numbers and have therefore had to relinquish our BTEC status. However, the course itself remains unchanged in its range and depth of content. It continues to receive very positive feedback from students and their employers. In recognition of its excellence, several local authorities have made Partners in Learning a mandatory qualification for teaching assistants employed in their visual impairment support services.

Key features of the course:

  • Developed between RNIB and the Open University (equivalent to Level 3 study).
  • Uses online study and discussion activities with tutor support.
  • Includes two training days to spend time with your tutors and student group (delivered by Zoom).
  • Consists of six units studied over 12 months  (as part of a group so plenty of contact with others).
  • Begins: September 2024- introductory training day will be held by Zoom.
  • Cost: £850 (£710 VIEW members)

What does the course cover?

Partners in Learning seeks to challenge you to consider your current practice, share and develop this with others in the field, and apply your new understanding to your working situation. You are asked to actively use your learning in a variety of practical ways and to implement your developing knowledge of best practice with colleagues and learners in your own setting.

Learning Outcomes

The Partners in Learning course will allow you to:
•    understand visual impairment and its implications for educational and social development
•    learn a range of skills and techniques to support learners and promote their independence both in and out of the classroom
•    develop an understanding of team work and its importance in effective practice.
develop a positive working relationship with learners which promotes their independence and engages them in planning and decision making.

How is the course delivered?

Partners in Learning is studied over a calendar year. The course is delivered online. The course runs over three terms and is divided into six units, each estimated to involve around 30 hours of study. The units include:
•    provision, roles and responsibilities
•    vision and visual impairment
•    effective practice
•    curriculum access
•    communication skills in a learning environment
•    independence and social inclusion.


Assessment is via regular assignments, online discussions and factual tests. Each unit includes the following elements:
•    online self study activities assessed by an online multiple choice test
•    online group discussion activities which enable you to engage and share your learning with other students
•    short written assignments encouraging you to apply your learning from the unit to your own situation.

What are the benefits?

Benefits of the blended learning course include:
•    leads to an advanced certificate from VIEW
•    flexible online access
•    detailed timetable of activities
•    extensive course materials set out over six units
•    varied approach to learning and assessment
•    frequent online discussions with fellow students
•    regular online contact with experienced tutor
•    online training days involving no travel

Partners In Learning does not meet the requirements of the mandatory qualification for teachers of children with visual impairment.

Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for any education professional that works with blind or partially sighted children and young people, including teachers, teaching assistants, support workers and early years practitioners.

Entry requirements

You should be able to provide evidence of the following:
•    education to GCSE standard, NVQ Level 2 or equivalent experience or qualifications
•    working on a regular basis with one or more children or young people with visual impairment for the duration of the course
•    regular access to broadband internet and email facilities
•    employer support for the period of your training.