Leaving school at 17 or 18 years old and working as a school TA from level 2 to 3 provides you with valuable job paid work experience, training and a qualification.
With experience and few qualifications you can progress from class assistant to a HLTA status at level 4/5 taking small groups of school students for classes on your own.
People from different backgrounds, prior job experience and academic qualifications have qualified and work as HLTAs in England primary & secondary schools.
With a degree you can work as a HLTA, though you can’t use it as prior learning to achieve recoginised HLTA status and standards. You’ll require meeting higher level teaching assistant professional standards through work place 50 + hours training & observations at level 3 TA.
Teaching assistant with a degree
With a relevant bachelors degree it’s only a benefit for you and the school, although you don’t require a degree to become a teaching assistant (TA) or HLTA with schools recruiting employees with relevant work experience with children.
You’ll require a level 3 TA qualification enabling you to work in a classroom with a teacher, as you’re degree uses different skills and training.
Primary and secondary schools in England & Wales have people working as TAs that have a degree.
Indeed you can be a level 3 general TA in a primary class, gain HLTA status or a school graduate teaching assistant job as a secondary subject specialist or at a primary school.
What qualifications do you need to be an HLTA?
Becoming a HLTA you require GCSE English & maths or level 2 literacy & numeracy qualification in England, working as a TA and support from the school headteacher to train & be assessed for recoginised HLTA status.
Higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) don’t require a TA qualification, although you should have or be working at level 3, and preferably gain level 4 TA certificate to become a secondary or primary school HLTA.
Required 33 professional HLTA status standards
Skills to complete planning and expectations of the role: Plan & support pupils in class learning activities, use varied activities keeping pupils interested & motivated, preparation & planning of lessons & resources.
Able to conduct teaching & learning activities: Efficient use of ICT in learning, use appropriate behaviour for learning techniques, conduct small group, 1:1 or whole class learning with or without teachers, teaching & learning following school health & safety procedures, work & direct other support staff.
Professional knowledge & understanding: English/literacy & Maths/numeracy qualification, account & act upon diversity in children, learning activities knowledge objectives for learning, SEN support for learning, efficient use of ICT in the classroom.
Monitoring & school pupil assessment skills: Provide & modify focused support after monitoring pupils, keep accurate records of learning & progress, evaluate pupil progress with varying assessment techniques.
Professional attributes: Commitment to help pupils with learning, firm, fair & build constructive & supportive relationships, communicate effectively, work cooperatively with other employees.
Can you be a HLTA without the qualification?
Working as a school HLTA doesn’t require a TA qualification, although you benefit of having a level 4 teaching assistant certificate, proving you have appropriate training and meet HLTA status passing all 33 standards.
You make yourself more employable or can advance you’re school education career as a TA with a highly relevant qualification at level 4.
How long does it take to become a HLTA? Will take you, with prior experience at least 360 working hours total qualifying time.
Is a HLTA qualification equivalent to a degree? No. A degree is an academic qualification with examinations; HLTA is a status not a qualification, you require passing 33 professional standards with school work experience and formal observations.
School HLTA specialist job role
Higher level teaching assistants have more responsibility, increased expectations placed on them by a school and cover absent teachers, a role that someone with just a degree might not be able to do.
Simply having an undergraduate or postgraduate degree doesn’t qualify you or provide you the skills, training & knowledge to efficiently teach, assess and assist student school learning in a classroom.
HLTA school role:
- Teach small groups of learners, 1:1 or whole classes covering teacher PPA time.
- Use appropriate class teaching & learning strategies.
- Plan and prepare lessons under the direction and instruction of the class teacher.
- Assess pupil learning progress with regular tests and set homework.
- Contribute to schemes of work and worksheet production.
- Keeps an accurate record of attendance and student subject learning progress.
- Encourage and motivate school students to engage in learning & stay focused.
- Provide feedback on pupils learning progress to the class teacher.
Skills & qualities of HLTAs
Bachelor or graduate degree holders don’t have the skills or relevant class and working with children experience what a HLTA has including:
- Have achieved all 33 higher level teaching assistant professional standards.
- Good pupil behaviour management techniques & strategies for whole classes & small groups.
- Secondary school specialist subject TA or general primary class assistant with literacy & numeracy teaching skills.
- Can work as part of a team with other TAs or class teachers.
- Can plan lessons, assess student’s class work & mark homework.
- Cover planned absence of a class teacher or PPA.
- Take school pupils for 1:1 additional learning or small group for separate lessons.