This article explores whether using reflective dialogue in action learning sets on a foundation degree (FD) in educational support can develop the capacity for reflective practice of the students. Developing a reflective stance in relation to professional practice is a central theme of the programme, which is reinforced by the work‐based learning module providing a space for reflective dialogue and the inclusion of an employer's perspective for establishing links between university and work. By adopting a case‐study approach, this study focuses on 24 female students who work as teaching assistants or higher level teaching assistants (TAs/HLTAs) in state primary and secondary schools, and reports findings from their and their tutors' perspectives. In view of the rapidly changing educational landscape, apparent in the implementation and development of Integrated Children's Services, the Schools Remodelling Agenda and Workforce Agreement are in effect one policy. Such a programme is essential in creating appropriate opportunities for the continuing professional development of the new workforce. Given the non‐traditional background of the majority of the students and the perceived ambiguity surrounding their roles as teaching assistants within schools, such a programme poses considerable challenges to higher education institutions in terms of appropriateness of content and mode of delivery.