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My teacher colleagues say that I should not plan lessons, deliver lessons to pupils and assess progress because I am not a qualified teacher. In order to gain HLTA status I thought that I needed to do this to be able to show evidence of working with pupils on a one-to-one, in small groups and with whole classes. So who is right?

The teachers are probably thinking of something called ‘Specified Work’. Under these regulations, support staff are only able to do ‘Specified Work’ if they are:

a) assisting or supporting the work of a qualified teacher;
b) working under the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher in accordance with arrangements made by the head teacher; and only if
c) the head teacher is satisfied that the support staff member has the skills, expertise and experience to carry out the ‘Specified Work’.

When you have gained your HLTA status you will have proven that you have those skills.

Do I have to do all three days of the training?

Yes. You need to do all three days in order to be fully prepared for the assessment process. We’ll let our Regional Providers of Assessment (Best Practice Network) know who is participating in the training each term. Once we’ve seen your Level 2 certificates (or equivalent) for maths/numeracy or English/literacy (see Maths & English requirements for more information) we’ll send BPN a photocopy of these and a form called the F17. When they’ve received your F17 and we’ve confirmed that you’ve attended all three days they’ll publish your details for their assessors.

What will I be expected to do once I have achieved the status?

As your school has decided to support you through your preparation and assessment for HLTA status it is likely that they already have an idea how they would like you to support teaching and learning. Each school will use their HLTAs in a different way; for example supporting interventions, covering a teacher for PPA time or short-term absence, or to utilise a particular skill or training that the HLTA is qualified in. A head teacher, in consultation with the Governors, can write a job description that should cover the agreed duties and pay scale appropriate for your new role once you’ve gained the status.

What’s the difference between an HLTA and a Cover Supervisor?

While cover supervision should be undertaken by effectively deployed support staff with appropriate skills and training, it occurs when there is no active teaching taking place. An HLTA’s role however, can be nearer to that of a qualified teacher for parts of the day depending on what is written in their job description.

Will I be given time to plan and prepare lessons if I’m teaching?

Yes. This is something that you should discuss with your head teacher once you’ve achieved the status and seen your timetable.

I want to become a qualified teacher, how will HLTA help me?

Gaining HLTA status is a good opportunity for teaching assistants. Many TAs with a degree will spend some time working in schools before applying for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to gain appropriate experience. Other TAs who intend to become a teacher will take the opportunity to gain the status while studying for their degree. ITT providers should be aware that being able to work to the 33 HLTA standards is proof that you have gained the appropriate skills while working as a TA.

How can I get training in preparation for HLTA?

There is no longer funding from the government for HLTA training, preparation and assessment and the training routes you may have heard of have disappeared. HLTA status is regarded as being in line with a Level 4 qualification. So if you already have a Level 3 qualification in supporting teaching and learning, this should mean that you already have some of the knowledge you need to meet the standards.

Other training relevant to your role in school will also help you to be ready for assessment, but remember, HLTA assessment expects you to be able to show how you have applied the knowledge that you’ve gained from training courses. Working in collaboration with, and under the guidance of, your teacher in school will also give you valuable understanding relevant to your role and should not be underestimated.

How will I find out more about the assessment process?

All your questions will be answered during the three-day training provided by HLTA Community South West. However, if you want to find out more about the assessment process right now, visit

If I don’t think I’m ready to have the assessment straight away after the three-day preparation organised by HLTA Community South West, can I defer?

The assessment window for each training group is agreed with Best Practice Network and is dependent on the date of Day 3. If you engage fully with the training days and do the inter-sessional tasks then you should feel confident about preparing for the half-day assessor’s visit. But if you need to defer Day 3 until the next term due to illness, for example, then that won’t be a problem. We’ll inform Best Practice Network on your behalf and put your name on the list for the following term.

How will I know what to do during the assessor’s visit?

All this is explained during the three days. Our training is run by people who have been involved since HLTA began in 2004 and also have experience of doing assessments themselves – so you’re in good hands.

Further queries?

If you’ve got any further queries about HLTA Community South West, please

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