Qualifying as a HTLA can be a benefit for some people and a school, although for others the extra work load and stress may not be worth it. Job position working as an advanced TA you have more autonomy on how thing should be done using your experience, training and responsibilities.
It’s worth it working as a full time HLTA providing you with good career advancement and higher salary. You’ve responsibilities to cover whole classes & groups, advanced skills & training, and work independently providing positive impacts on pupils learning. HLTAs take on many schools roles; CPD & keeping up with change, which could result in stress.
What is a HLTA
A higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) at level 4/5 works in a school with additional responsibilities, can cover PPA & wholes classes, and has advanced teaching & learning skills in turn paid a higher basic salary than level 2, 3 TA’s. In primary school you’ll work in class with a teacher or intervention will small groups on your own. Secondary you work as a specialist in one department or general HLTA across multiple subject areas.
A lot of the time HLTAs teach small groups or 1:1 school pupils as part of booster lessons receiving timetabled planning, preparation & assessment time. Should a class teacher be absent a level 4/5 TA can cover a whole class short term that’s planned or unplanned leave.
At all times an HLTA works and takes on responsibilities according to regulations & guidance under Section 133 of the Education Act 2002 and School Teachers’ Pay & Conditions Document 2017.
Specific top HLTA duties:
- Provide teaching & learning and support to pupils in class or other activities.
- Record & keep an accurate record of student attendance, progress, homework completion and test results.
- Prepare and organise materials for pupil small group & 1:1 intervention lessons.
- Support class teachers motivating pupils and positive creation & use of behaviour management strategies.
- Liaise, support and supervise other teacher assistants.
- Participate and go on school student trips with pupils and staff.
- Communicate with class teachers providing feedback on lessons and progress.
- Attend meetings and school training.
What is the difference between a TA and a HLTA? As a higher level teaching assistant you have advanced skills, knowledge & responsibilities working independently planning & covering classes where a TA works in class alongside a teacher and is given instructions & directed.
HLTAs have increased skills, training, responsibilities through providing intervention lessons 1:1 or with school group thus enabling schools to provide more flexible and better tailored teaching & learning pupil support.
Why do I want to be a HLTA
People working in secondary and primary schools have various reasons to progress from teacher assistant to higher level teacher assistant from career progression, better pay, job satisfaction, more responsibility, teach groups & classes and work more independently. As an HLTA you’ll have more variation of the job and work tasks day to day from working with other TAs, teachers and teaching classes on your own.
Receive a higher salary
As a HLTA on a full time salary you receive between £20,000-£28,500 per annum depending on experience, school type and UK location. Benefits of getting a higher salary as a higher level teaching assistant means you can afford a better life style & living cost, and higher mortgage loan for property.
HLTA career advancement
Once you’ve been an HLTA for a while, years of experience in the classroom, great skills, curriculum & subject knowledge you can apply for assessment by QTS only route to become a qualified teacher in England school. An advantage here is you don’t need a degree or initial teacher training, PGCE or BA education.
With extra responsibility such as teaching PPA teacher time, small groups and classes on your own you can train, gather additional skills with you’re current HLTA job towards becoming a qualified teacher. With the same position you don’t’ require finding another job such as school direct or being accepted on a teacher training course, and ultimately don’t need to give up your job to qualify as a teacher with QTS.
A career goal using the vast amount of classroom and pupil contact time experience & skills could also help you being offered additional whole school responsibility with teaching & learning responsibility points (TLRs).
Gain HLTA status
Being appointed in a school job role and getting paid as a level 4/5 HLTA you must first successfully gain higher level teaching assistant status by passing all 33 standards through work place training & observations.
Crucially, you’ll need the school headteacher support for you to work towards gaining HLTA status while working or volunteering in you’re current school teacher assistant job role.
Advancing a career as a school TA provides good benefits for you, school & pupils as you’re showing commitment, willingness to up skill to provide students with better support and the school more flexibility for learning.
Once you’ve decided it’s worth you becoming a HLTA and get the support of a school to train & complete all requirements you’ll need to meet HLTA status standards. You gain advanced skills, extra responsibilities giving you and the school opportunities to provide school children a better learning experience.
Working as a higher level teaching assistant
TAs gaining HLTA status and level 4/5 qualification provides more understanding, training & skills of a classroom support role to do the job better. You can, as a TA elevate stress by becoming more confident in the support role with children and working with teachers in the school classroom.
Disadvantage of being an HLTA
Disadvantages being a teaching assistant, or It’s not worth it being a HLTA if you’re not appointed with the full time title in a job role with the higher basic salary. Schools employ 1-3 HLTAs full time, although only pay overtime per hour for other TAs while taking on additional duties of teaching without preparation time. You’re just being used as short term gap filling by school employers being paid a regular lower TA wage, and only paid higher for hours worked at short notice for HLTA teaching & responsibility.
Not worth being a HLTA without the job title as the little extra pay per hour doesn’t compensate for the extra training, effort, stress and work to cover classes for a short time for another person,.
Depending on you’re personality, traits & skills working as a HLTA may not be worth it if taking on extra class duties & responsibility, planning and assessment means not doing a good job adequately or can’t cope with the workload. Remember, you’ve work outside of school keeping up with the curriculum, subject and preparing for covering lessons.
Schools have limited budgets to pay salaries and employ mostly regular teacher assistants with only 1-3 HLTAs as level 2/3 or paid less. With fewer jobs available career advancement into a full time job position is competitive. You might need to apply for a HLTA job elsewhere after gaining the status moving schools for a full time position with no guarantee of finding and securing a job in you’re local area.