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What is the HLTA qualification?

The HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) qualification is a Level 4 qualification that equips teaching assistants with the skills to become effective and knowledgeable higher level teaching assistants. The HLTA qualification will demonstrate to schools and employers that you have the skills to take on this challenging role.

HLTA Courses - Work Towards HLTA Status

As HLTAs are more involved in supporting teachers than lower level teaching assistants, they need to meet certain professional standards that have been set – and continue to be maintained & reviewed – by the Teaching Agency. HLTA courses are specifically based around these professional standards required for HLTA status. 

Achieving HLTA status can be considered a step forward in the career of any teaching assistant, in that it requires you to already be employed as a teaching assistant in a school. You then need to ensure that you have the support of your headteacher and school, as well as some form of funding to complete HLTA courses and take the HLTA assessment.

Further HLTA Requirements

While teaching assistants (TAs) play more of a support role that focuses on preparing & maintaining the classroom, displaying students’ work or working with small groups of pupils, HLTAs are more proactively involved in the actual delivery of training by:

  • providing assistance in planning lessons
  • having a role in producing support materials
  • leading an entire class under supervision
  • specialising in a given subject
  • taking responsibility for other support staff

This additional responsibility means that HLTAs need to meet certain requirements that do not apply to lower level teaching and learning support assistants. More specifically, if you are aspiring to become an HLTA you will need to be able to demonstrate literacy and numeracy skills at Level 2 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework, after which you will need to complete a dedicated HLTA course to prepare for your assessment. HLTA courses are designed to ensure that you understand the HLTA professional standards and how they apply to your own working environment, and understand the process through which you will be evaluated in order to prepare for the assessor’s visit and the various assessment tasks.

The rigorous standards ensure that individuals completing the HLTA process further their knowledge and skills, but also their confidence and ability to perform their role effectively. What’s more, candidates who have been through the process have reported seeing positive effects on the children they work with, which has in turn served to enhance headteachers’ regard for HLTA status.

HLTA Courses - Further Specialisations

Another benefit to taking HLTA courses is that they often combine HLTA preparation with other specialisations, including:

  • Special Education Needs
  • Child Psychology
  • Challenging Behaviour Children and Young People (CYP)
  • Autism Awareness
  • Nursery Nurse Training
  • Safeguarding Children and Young People
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Participants will not only gain the crucial knowledge required for HLTA assessment, but the additional expertise required for certain specialist schools and roles.

Frequently asked questions

  • An HLTA course is a training program for individuals who wish to become Higher Level Teaching Assistants. It involves learning advanced teaching techniques, behaviour management, and assessment methods. The course usually lasts for several weeks and includes both classroom and practical training.

  • The cost of an HLTA course varies depending on the training provider. Funding may be available through your school or local authority. The government also provides funding for eligible candidates, which you can check on the Gov.uk website.

  • To enrol in an HLTA course, you must have at least a Level 2 qualification in literacy and numeracy. You must also have experience working as a teaching assistant for at least one year. However, some training providers may have additional requirements, so it's best to check with them directly.

  • Becoming an HLTA can lead to career advancement, increased job security, and higher pay. HLTA status is recognised nationally, and it demonstrates that you have advanced teaching skills, knowledge, and experience. It can also enhance your job satisfaction by allowing you to take on more responsibilities and have a greater impact on students' learning.

  • The length of time it takes to become an HLTA varies depending on the training provider and the course structure. Some courses can be completed in a few weeks, while others may take several months. Additionally, the time it takes to complete the course may depend on your availability and commitment to the training programme.

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