Early years learning for children is important to get them interested and provide the building blocks to more advanced study in later life.
Reception school and all classes have different requirements for what is taught, allowed, and qualifications required than primary and secondary schools.
Working with a reception teacher a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) helps and works in the classroom as a team, helping guide 4-5 year olds learning & development.
A HLTA level 4/5 is not allowed to teach a school reception class. England EYFS framework states that a qualified teacher must teach and is responsible for the reception class learning.
Can an HLTA teach a class?
In an early years setting of a reception school classroom an HLTA can only assist the class teacher with 4-5 year old school pupils. Why? An HLTA is a more advanced teaching assistant and not a qualified class teacher, lacks the knowledge, training, understanding & formal qualifications for a reception teacher role.
Government maintained early year’s foundation stage statutory guidance for reception schools in England and law for early year’s qualification requirements mean an HLTA doesn’t have the required teacher certification.
Yes, they have other training and skills. All TAs in class at level 3, 4, 5 will have GCSE in English, mathematics or possibly HLTA status professional standards at least National Qualifications Framework level 2 literacy & numeracy qualification.
When a higher level teaching assistant steps into assist a reception class they’re given instructions, guidance, notes, work sheets and topic from the class teacher.
HLTA reception school class role
Normally the role of a higher level teaching assistant working in a reception school is assisting in class with a teacher. Lessons include:
- Learning through play
Key class HLTA skills required:
- Use existing classroom behaviour management techniques to keep the pupils attention & engaged in learning.
- Assist the teacher to help pace a lesson to include all topic content and questions & answers on time.
- Maintain school procedures on health & safety in the classroom or taking students around the school, and especially outside in the school grounds.
- Give each child in the class equal attention.
- Provide an opportunity for every pupil to ask questions if required.
- Each school pupil in class should have the same opportunity to participate in learning.
Advantages & disadvantages HLTA in reception class
|Already knows the reception pupils & names||Not as effective as a qualified teacher in most cases|
|Helps children and teacher in small groups||Lack of experience managing reception classes|
|In the class daily as a teaching assistant||No deep understanding of early years teaching curriculum|
|Has learning abilities for small groups & transferable skills||May lack appropriate group teaching & learning techniques required, although teacher guidance is always on hand|
Does a reception class require a qualified teacher?
UK local council and government maintained reception school class teaching 4-5 year old children must have a registered qualified early year’s teacher, and are responsible for leading all teaching and learning.
Education department (DFE) EYFS framework details the roles and qualifications required of a reception teacher and other school employees in the class assisting the pupils learning daily.
“The qualifications that enable an individual to be deemed a ‘school teacher’ are set out in the Education Act 2002, the Education (School Teachers’ Prescribed Qualifications, etc) Order 2003 and the Education (School Teachers’ Qualifications (England) Regulations 2003”.
Headteachers of government maintained early years reception schools and classrooms require a qualified foundation stage teacher that’s assigned and responsible for teaching & learning.
The guidance under school teachers pay & conditions ensures a group or class of pupils are taught all core and other subjects by a registered and qualified early years teacher.
Reception class teacher responsibilities include the overall academic progress of each individual class pupil they teach each year. They work with TAs in the classroom and other activities outside of class.
EYFS framework is clear that each class requires at least one early years teacher assigned and one level 3 or above competent teaching assistant in the class at the same time.