New Zealand Certificate in Education Support (Level 4)

This programme is gives you the skills to provide education support in class. As well as assisting students, support work can span across health or the social services sectors assisting disadvantaged young people or those with disabilities. You will graduate from this programme with the full range of skills that these support roles need.

About the programme

Do you want to see young people reach their potential and thrive?

Education Support workers work alongside teachers and other education professionals and are in high demand in New Zealand. 

Roles include a Teacher Aide for students ranging from early childhood students up to, and including, tertiary students. Support work can span health or the social services sectors assisting disadvantaged young people or those with disabilities. 

This programme is for those currently working in an education support role (who would like to upskill and gain a formal qualification recognising skills and experience) or those that would like to be. It has been designed to ensure you graduate with the full range of skills that these support roles demand. 

Graduates will have the skills and knowledge for roles such as a Teacher Aide, ICT Assistant, Library Assistant Administrator in a school or early childhood settings or Community Support Worker in the community disability sector. 

Work placement

You'll complete 72 hours of work placements during this programme. You need to either be currently employed as an education support or be willing to work on placement (in a volunteer capacity) where you will be supervised as you assist young learners in their education setting. 


This programme is made up of four courses and includes 72 hours of work placement. These placements provide invaluable learning opportunities and will help you link theory with practice.

Course name Description Credits
Roles and Responsibilities

Examine the roles and responsibilities of an education support or teacher aide worker. Develop skills in professional communication, roles and relationships, as well as the ethical and legal responsibilities as they relate to the health and safety of children within a bicultural context of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Indicative content

  • Legal responsibilities
  • Professional responsibilities
  • The Education Act
  • Children’s Act
  • Health and Safety
  • Self-regulation and Positive Guidance
  • Responding to challenging behaviour
  • Role of the teacher aide/education support worker
  • Role of the teacher
  • Communicating with colleagues, children and hanau
  • Child protection
  • Education Council Code of Ethics
  • Reflection 
Level 4, 10 credits
Including All Learners: E Pā Ana Ki Kā Ᾱkoka Katoa

Develop reciprocal, responsive, and inclusive relationship-building strategies alongside children within the bicultural context of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Indicative content

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Treaty-based practice (bicultural practices)
  • Whakawhanaungatanga
  • Reciprocal, responsive relationships
  • Te Reo and Tikanga Māori
  • Tātaiako cultural competencies
  • Learner needs
  • Inclusion: i.e. inclusive practice – age; gender; cultural; socio-economic background; additional needs; ability
  • Language and labelling
  • Children with additional needs
  • Individual education plans
  • Working with special education services
  • Resources to support working with diverse learners e.g. sign language 
Level 4, 10 credits
Children’s Learning and Development: Te Akoraka Me Te Whanaketaka Tamariki

Explore how children learn and develop, focusing on the influence of culture and society on learning and development using theories relevant to the bicultural context of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Indicative content

  • Socio-cultural theory
  • Learning and developmental theory
  • Ako – Reciprocity of teaching and learning
  • Developmental progressions may include language, physical, literacy, numeracy and social
  • Cognitive development
  • Relevant Ministry of Education reports and documents 

Supporting Children’s Learning: Tautoko I Te Tamariki

(Level 4, 10 credits) 

Develop your skills in working alongside teachers to plan, implement and evaluate teaching and learning for children in the bicultural context of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Indicative content

  • Curriculum documents
  • Assisting with planning, implementation and evaluation of teaching and learning
  • Learner-centred practice
  • Resource uses and development
  • Technology-enhanced learning
  • Teaching strategies for working with individuals and small groups
  • Transitions within and between contexts
Level 4, 10 credits

Work placements

These placements provide invaluable learning opportunities and will help you to link theory with practice. 

You’ll be required to engage in a range of education support and related activities in a nationally-recognised education setting under the guidance of your lecturers. 

Examples of work-integrated activities include planning teaching and learning activities, as well as using strategies to engage and support young children in learning. 

Further study options

You could move into our New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) or the New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing (Level 5) if you want to continue your learning.   

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.