Early years learning for children is important to get them interested and provide the building blocks to more advanced study in later life.
Working with a reception teacher a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) helps and works in the classroom as a team teaching, guiding 4-5 year olds learning & development.
A HLTA level 4/5 can teach a school reception children’s class only for a very short period of time 1-2 days unexpected teacher absence or PPA at the discretion of the headteacher. HLTAs are not allowed to teach longer term as 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 early years setting of a reception school classroom an HLTA can only teach a class of 4-5 year old school pupils as PPA cover once a week or emergency unplanned absent teacher for 1-2 days. School head teacher decide, why? An HLTA is a more advanced teaching assistant and not a qualified class teacher, and lacks the knowledge, training, understanding & qualifications for a 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 teach a reception class they’re given instructions, guidance, notes, work sheets and topic to teach from the class teacher. They are effectively stepping in to cover the class when the teacher is elsewhere.
HLTA reception school class role
Normally the varies roles of a higher level teaching assistant working in a reception school is assisting in class with a teacher or taking small groups of pupils alone providing booster lessons. These lessons include:
- Learning through play
HLTA teaching a class with another TA
Teaching and leading learning in class with another TA the HLTA is responsible for up to 30 reception school children in a lesson. They are now delivering a lesson topic supplied by the absent teacher, and also directing & teach teaching a level 3 TA to deliver the lessons aims & objectives.
Should a HLTA require the school will provide PPA time to plan the reception class lesson and arrange any resources required. Certainly for scheduled teacher absence PPA time will be allowed in your weekly TA class timetable as part of the normal hours you work.
The reception school headteacher would have full confidence in the HLTA work abilities and experience to be able to teach effectively for PPA or 1-2 days cover. You would be using different skills and knowledge teaching a larger group than normally, and with another person.
Key class HLTA skills required:
- Use existing classroom behaviour management techniques to keep the pupils attention & engaged in learning.
- Pace a lesson to include all topic content and questions & answers.
- 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 teaching reception class
|Already knows the reception pupils & names||Not as effective as a qualified teacher in most cases|
|Teaches some students in small groups||Lack of experience teaching and managing reception classes|
|In the class daily as a teaching assistant||No deep understanding of early years teaching curriculum|
|Has teaching abilities for small groups & transferable skills||May lack appropriate large group teaching & learning techniques required|
Does a reception class have to have 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 to having a qualified foundation stage teacher that 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. A suitably qualified teaching assistant can take a small group of receptions pupils for additional learning or teach the class in an emergency if the class teacher is absent.
EYFS framework is clear that each class requires at least on early years teacher assigned and one level 3 or above competent teaching assistant in the class at the same time.