Higher level teaching assistant


Higher level teaching assistant might be a role you are interested in.

Higher level teaching assistants can be paid more than teaching assistants and will have extra responsibilities such as working with whole classes when the teacher is not present, training of other teaching assistants and contributing to the planning of lessons.

At Edapt we support higher level teaching assistants, support staff and teaching staff in schools. We are able to provide support and advice for your employment needs for your role when you subscribe.

In this article, we outline how to train to become a higher level teacher assistant, provide an overview of the HLTA standards and link to examples of job descriptions and person specifications.

How do I become a higher level teacher assistant?

You will already need to be an existing teaching assistant and have support from your line manager and headteacher to progress. There will also have to be a ‘need’ for a higher level teacher assistant at your school so in some circumstances it could be the case that there isn’t a position immediately available.

You will need to be aware that the government has withdrawn funding for training, however, you could explore if your school or local authority has a budget for training costs or alternatively self fund your own training. 

There are various training providers available. For example at the University of Chester, a HLTA Preparation Course is available. The entry requirements for the course are:

  • To have achieved a nationally recognised qualification at level 2 or above in English/literacy and mathematics/numeracy
  • Relevant qualifications are those recognised nationally as being equivalent to level 2 of the national qualifications framework (NQF).
  • At the start of preparation for assessment, candidates must provide original certificates as proof of having gained relevant level 2 qualifications. It is important to identify in the training needs analysis if you still need to gain your level 2 qualification

Higher level teaching assistants standards

The 33 HLTA standards are outlined in full on the HLTA National Assessment Partnership website. Examples of the standards include:

  • Devise clearly structured activities that interest and motivate learners and advance their learning
  • Contribute to maintaining and analysing records of learners’ progress
  • Use effective strategies to promote positive behaviour
  • Advance learning when working with whole classes without the presence of the assigned teacher
  • Direct the work, where relevant, of other adults in supporting learning

Higher level teaching assistant: job description example

Woodlands Academy in Ealing outlines the various responsibilities of the role in a job description. Some of the main responsibilities of the role include:

  • To undertake work and responsibilities in line with Standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants
  • To contribute to planning, preparing and delivery of agreed work and support programmes to individual or groups of pupils
  • To advance pupils learning in a range of classroom settings, including working with whole classes where the assigned teacher is not present
  • Under an agreed system of direction and supervision carry out timetabled PPA cover for teachers
  • To use behaviour management strategies in line with the schools policy and procedures, which contribute to a purposeful learning environment

In terms of supporting the classroom teacher you will need:

  • To be involved in display work around the school and to direct others as necessary
  • To monitor and evaluate pupils’ responses to learning activities and note their progress towards targets
  • To advance learning when working with individuals, small groups and whole classes without the presence of the assigned teacher
  • Support the evaluation of pupils’ progress using a range of assessment techniques
  • To contribute effectively to teachers planning and preparation of lessons

Higher level teaching assistants: person spec example

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Durham has a person specification for the role of a higher level teaching assistant. In explains the applicant should have experience of:  

  • Working in a primary school  
  • Working under the direction of a teacher  
  • Planning, preparing and delivering learning activities to groups and classes  
  • Training or expertise in a relevant curriculum or other learning area (e.g. SEN need, ICT, Maths or English)  
  • Working with children with a range of needs  
  • Managing pupil behaviour 
  • Communicating with pupils, staff, parents and other professionals  
  • Assessing, recording and reporting on development and learning progress. 
  • Dealing with minor injuries

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While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.