Working as a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) in primary or secondary schools in England can see you team teach, cover classes or take groups of schools pupils for extra subject lessons.
A HLTA can teach full time for a unspecified length of time for example a term to cover an absent qualified school teacher, not employed on a permanent contract full time or a year. A headteacher makes a decision on capabilities & how long a HLTA teaches a class full time, mainly until a qualified subject teacher can be appointed.
Can a HLTA be used as a teacher?
Primary and secondary school HLTAs are also used for short term teacher absence and PPA time. England’s school head teachers can decide to use a suitably qualified HLTA teaching assistant ‘short term’ for a certain period of time as a classroom primary or secondary subject teacher.
The teacher workload agreement was formed in 2003 in England by the UK government to take some of the work load off teachers, mainly relating to non class contact or teaching. 2 job roles were established HLTA & cover supervisor. To monitor the agreement the government setup the Workload Agreement Monitoring Group (WAMG), for following the terms and compliance of the agreement.
All TAs who teach a class, take small groups or cover for a teacher require being qualified. Schools in England guidelines require a TA to have a level 3 qualification and be competent & knowledgeable for the role & employment contract. HLTA level 4/5 can cover short 3-4 days and longer running teacher absence that’s known and unplanned.
Can a HLTA teach a reception class? Yes. For a short time span, if a headteacher chooses, a level 4 teaching assistant can teach young early years’ school pupils in the absence of a qualified teacher in England. The TA would require be competent with appropriate qualifications and classroom experience with young children. A TA at level 4 or 5 would have up to date in depth knowledge of early year’s reception teaching & learning for a class of up to 30 young children.
Capabilities of a higher level teaching assistant
The advanced school HLTA would have a teaching timetable for a class or classes. They’ll be responsible for teaching, lesson planning, and homework setting for an undefined specific period of time on their timetable.
They should be competent & confident in meeting teaching & learning standards of the school parents and pupils.
They’ll require to:
- Plan lessons according to the national curriculum.
- Deliver lesson topics as a general primary or specialist subject teacher.
- Set and mark homework.
- Test each class of school students during lessons and periodic topic progress testing.
- Take a class register and keep an accurate attendance of pupils for each day.
- Monitor, assess & record student progress & performance for each topic and overall subject.
- Effective behaviour for learning strategies in the classroom during lessons.
For a HLTA to teach classes full time and a prolonged specified time span they require an appropriate teaching assistant award and qualification of at least a good A level in the specialist subject.
Primary school teaching a TA would be cover as a general class teacher of one age group of children from 5-11 years old on a daily basis until the return of the teacher, although not long term such as 8-10 months or year.
Primary TAs require adequate knowledge of:
Literacy, numeracy, science, geography history and other English national curriculum school subjects.
Secondary school higher level teaching assistants would normally specilise in a certain subject and have good subject knowledge or a degree that’s related to what they teach.
Should a HLTA be teaching full time?
A higher level teaching assistant can and should teach a class full time on an ongoing basis of they have appropriate experience, subject knowledge and know the students.
When a qualified teacher is available the teacher should take over the class from a HLTA.
Why? A higher level teaching assistant may or may not be a specialist in the subject they teach, and certainly not a qualified teacher with in depth knowledge skills and experience required. An HLTA are provided teaching & learning support from a primary year leader and department head in secondary school and can ask for, although usually provided assistance for lesson planning from experienced subject department teachers.
Level 4, 5 HLTAs who has a timetable including teaching group classes each week are given preparation time for lesson planning.
How long can a HLTA cover a class
A qualified teacher would be timetabled to either teach all lessons in the year or a HLTA would have 1-12 weeks to cover absent teachers or PPA time. There’s no specific time length that a HLTA is allowed to work and teach in English secondary or nursery schools, although should be kept to a minimum.
How many hours can an HLTA teach? You can have a set timetable of 2/3 days a week teaching a small class of school students, where a headteacher decides on the appropriate amount of hours, possibly around 4-10 lessons. PPA time is allowed to plan prepare and assess pupils work including marking homework, although this is decided by departments heads at secondary or year leader in primary school.