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Defining the role of an HLTA

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Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by Lil Miss Sunshine on Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:22 am

Q: What is a HLTA?
A: [long answer] Every school will want one. They are members of school support staff, usually with more than two years experience, who are trained and assessed as working at a higher level of professionalism. So rather than doing the photocopying or collecting trip money, they might, in a primary school, be working helping a small group of very able pupils on some advanced maths. In a secondary school, they might help a group with recording and graphing the results of a science experiment. The benefit is that they are a highly able extra classroom help who can free a teacher up to do what they do best: which is teaching children.

A: [short answer – better for live interviews] Every school will want one. They are teaching assistants who have been assessed as working at a higher level. In a secondary school, for example, they might help a group of pupils record the results of an experiment. The benefit is that they can free a teacher up to do what they do best: which is to teach.

Q: What is their role within schools?
A: Extra support staff, both inside and outside the classroom, help ensure that teachers can focus on their teaching role and that higher standards are achieved in the future. It also means that support staff are recognised for their contribution to raising standards and can take on more involved roles in support of teaching and learning. How they do this is up to the headteacher and the school concerned. But, for example, in a primary school the HLTA’s responsibilities could include supporting the teacher to work with children right across the curriculum but with a particular focus on numeracy and literacy.

In secondary schools, HLTAs can be used as specialist assistants for a subject or department. Responsibilities might include working as a key member of a departmental team, making an active contribution to planning and monitoring, organisation of key out of school activities such as field trips, and development of support materials for lessons.


Q: So does that mean TAs are no longer needed?

A: Teachers need a range of support, including administrative tasks and classroom help, so various types of TA and other support staff are required. The aim is to ensure that tasks are done by those who are best equipped to do them and to free up teachers to spend as much time as possible teaching.


Q: What is the relationship between a HLTA and a teacher?
A: HLTAs work strictly under the direction and guidance of a teacher. HLTAs work within the framework of management and supervision of their school, which means that responsibility for teaching and learning remains with the teacher (and ultimately the head), who will exercise their professional judgement, based on what is best for pupils.



Q: What is the distinction between higher level teaching assistants and other teaching assistants?
A: The key distinction is that HLTAs take on higher level roles than other TAs, including undertaking some teaching activities within an appropriate system of supervision provided by a teacher. They help raise pupil achievement and free up teachers so they can focus on teaching. They have been assessed against rigorous national standards so that heads, teachers and parents can have confidence in their abilities and knowledge.


Q: Do HLTAs undertake teaching activities?
A: Yes they do. As HLTAs are highly skilled, they are able to undertake teaching activities under the supervision of a teacher. This means that the teacher can concentrate on perhaps helping a group of children who are finding the work hard, stretching some high achievers or using their teaching skills in other ways to benefit pupils.


Q: Surely it is wrong for higher level teaching assistants to take whole classes?
A: HLTAs are trained to lead classes and only do so under the direction and supervision of a teacher – Teachers remain the leaders and the experts in the classroom and HLTAs are there to support them, not replace them. This is in accordance with legal regulations and guidance which specifies the teaching activities staff without qualified teacher status may undertake.


Q: What do you mean by ‘supervision’?
A: Teachers use their professional judgement to determine the level of supervision required. Teachers may be present in the classroom, or they may be elsewhere in the school. It depends on the tasks the HLTA is undertaking and their level of training and experience.


Q: What does the ‘system of supervision’ entail?
A: The regulations require schools to implement a system of supervision but the details of the system will be a matter for the professional judgement of headteachers and teachers rather than for rigid national demarcation. Only headteachers and teachers in the school will know the needs of their pupils and the experience/expertise of the member of support staff, and will therefore be able to make a judgement on the level of supervision and support needed. However, ‘supervision’ does not necessarily mean that the teacher must be in the same room as the support staff member when they are undertaking ‘specified teaching work’.


Q: What is the difference between a HLTA and a cover supervisor?
A: A cover supervisor’s role is to cover periods of teacher absence and oversee pre-set learning activities, whereas a HLTA works under the direct supervision and guidance of a teacher and plays an active role in learning activities on an ongoing basis.



Q: Will involvement in the HLTA training and assessment process not just be another burden to schools?
A: We are keen to ensure that burdens on schools and teachers are kept to a minimum. Every member of the support staff working in school and wishing to become an HLTA should undertake a training needs analysis at the start to ensure that training is tailored to their individual needs. Working towards meeting the HLTA standards may be achieved through development activities undertaken in their school. The providers delivering HLTA training and assessment in the regions make every effort to ensure training and assessment is flexibly delivered and meets the needs of candidates and schools.


Q: Are TAs and HLTAs subject to the same full security checks as headteachers and teachers?
A: Yes. Anyone who works regularly with children should be subject to the appropriate level of checks from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). For staff who regularly supervise children, an enhanced disclosure from CRB should be requested.


Q: Does every HLTA work towards qualified teacher status (QTS)?
A: Some HLTAs may well want to work towards QTS but it is not compulsory, nor an expectation. Many HLTAs will not necessarily want to progress to full teacher status and we should not deter them from making a valuable contribution as a HLTA.


Q: Does it mean my child's school is failing if it needs to have one?
A: No. HLTAs provide schools with another way of supporting children’s learning. Schools do not have to appoint them but we think they make a valuable contribution. Eventually, every school will want one. They are there to support teaching and learning no matter how well the school is doing.
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Re: Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by maseymoo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi I'm an HLTA and my school won't pay us unless we do all of the planning for the lesson we are going to cover, is this correct?

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Re: Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by caffeine needed on Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:25 pm

At my old school I was only paid cover supervisor rate when I covered a lesson I hadnt planned for. I was employed as a t.a. but had hlta status. Now I am employed as a hlta and am paid that rate no matter what I am doing. Usually teaching from my planning but can be acting as a t.a. I suppose it depends what you are employed as and what your contract says
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Re: Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by maseymoo on Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:20 pm

Thanks for the reply. We have supply teachers coming in who are paid £75 a day and I get an extra 53p an hr on top of my Nursery Nurses pay for doing the same job, somethings not right!! Lol

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Re: Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by Lil Miss Sunshine on Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:55 am

The key is in the word 'teachers'. Sadly they do not see HLTA's or TA's in the same light though many are far more knowledgeable than some supply teachers. I would definitely speak to your manager and ask them either for a pay rise or two contracts. Do be mindful though if one ends they do not have to add hours to the other one x
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Re: Defining the role of an HLTA

Post by maseymoo on Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:26 pm

Thanks for the advice, it's much appreciated! !

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