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.


13 Weeks Full-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
On campus


*Approximate full qualification tuition fee

What You Study


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.   


Your workload

You'll be expected to spend about 30 hours a week studying and part-time learners about 15 hours. The programme will be delivered flexibly and a proportion of your learning will be work-based. 


Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • For those under 20: NCEA Level 2 with passes in English/Te Reo Māori, or equivalent.
  • For those 20 and over: No minimum academic requirements.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where you supply evidence of your ability to succeed on the programme. 
English Language requirements 

If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Other requirements 
  • You must provide evidence that you have access to an education setting to complete 72 hours of paid or voluntary work under the supervision of a registered teacher. Please note: applicants may be supported to locate a suitable setting but Otago Polytechnic does not undertake to provide placements for learners.
  • For all applicants, we'll need to assess your suitability for working with children in the community and to ensure Otago Polytechnic meets the legislative requirements of the Children's Act 2014. In accordance with this Act, you'll be required to:
    • provide two character references. These should be from people who are over 16 and in positions of trust or responsibility such as an employer, teacher, pastor, kaumatua or kuia. References from family, friends or work colleagues will not be accepted.
    • provide a signed consent form which allows Otago Polytechnic to check your record of convictions on entry, during and prior to completing the programme.
    • attend an informal interview to discuss your suitability for working with children in the community.  

Please note: All applicants with any convictions may be declined entry depending on the severity, recency, age at offending and pattern of offending. 

Selection process

Where there are more applicants than places available, learners will be selected based on the order of their applications being received. 

Want your existing skills recognised?

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, please ask us about our recognition of prior learning process. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification and could achieve it in a shorter timeframe. Please email or call 0800 762 786.


Domestic fees

Full tuition

Fees Free 

If you’re a domestic student and this is your first time doing tertiary study in New Zealand (over 60 credits at Level 3 or higher), you may be able to get free tuition fees for this programme. 

All the details and criteria are on the Fees Free website and you can check whether you’re going to be able to access funding by entering your National Student Number. 

If you can access it, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission when you’re enrolled to study with us. This funding doesn’t include additional costs or living costs.   

Check whether you can access funding here

Tuition fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.

Student Services Fee

For most students, your tuition fee shown above includes a Student Services Fee – also known as the Student Levy. This compulsory fee covers your access to the student services we offer. This cost is tailored depending on how you're studying.


A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, 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. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014