Teaching Assistants / HLTA
Education in Wales: Our national mission (2017) states that that in order for Wales to achieve ‘equity and excellent for all we “... require a high-quality education workforce that is vibrant, engaged and committed to continuous learning for all.”
Whilst we have 26,000 teachers in Wales, we also have 23,700 Teaching Assistants (TAs) which is almost half the workforce in our schools - 8,000 TAs work in the Central South Consortium region. TAs are a valued and integral part of the school workforce and have an important role to play in developing a high-quality education profession.
In Our national mission the Welsh Government state their commitment to continuing to enable TAs to improve their skills and help them to commit to professional learning by facilitating clearer learning pathways including to achieving the status of higher level teaching assistant (HLTA). This is the Teaching Assistant Learning Pathway (TALP).
These colleagues need support to lead learning effectively in what are hugely diverse and often challenging roles requiring considerable skills and expertise. TAs are often required to take a lead in specific aspects of a school’s improvement plan and more experienced TAs often lead teams of colleagues.
Professional learning that improves the skills of TAs as leaders of learning and leaders of staff teams is therefore increasingly important.
The Professional Assisting Teaching Standards have been designed to support TAs to be the best they can be, reflecting practice that is consistent with the realisation of the educational reforms. The standards have been available since September 2019 for use by all teaching assistants (TAs) and higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) to reflect on their practice and identify their own professional learning.
The world’s highest-performing education systems have vibrant, engaged educators and support staff who are committed to continuous learning.
All professional learning opportunities in Central South Consortium are designed to support schools to develop as learning organisations across the seven dimensions of the framework and/or to support practitioners in the professional standards for teaching and leadership (PSTL). Through the professional learning passport, practitioners can record their professional learning activities.
Information and Guidance
Professional Standards for teachers leaders teaching assistants and higher level teaching assistants
Information on gaining the HLTA status
Aspiring HLTA information presentation
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Interactive Professional Standards for Assisting Teaching
Teaching Assistant Learning Pathway (TALP) Professional Learning Document
CSC Google Classroom
Training from CSC
Register for the Induction Programme for New Teaching Assistants. Full details here.
Practising TA Programme
This programme is for teaching assistants who have been in post for 2 years and who would welcome an update on the changing context of the profession.
Cohort 1 – English medium - Join here Starting Tuesday 23 November 2021.
Cohort 1 – Welsh medium - Join here Starting Thursday 25th November 2021.
Aspiring HLTA Development Programme
This is a new national programme co-ordinated by regional consortia, utilising a range of delivery partners, in collaboration with Local Authorities.
This Aspiring HLTA Development Programme is to support the most experienced Teaching Assistants who wish to further develop their skills and identify their readiness for HLTA Assessment.
It is a 5 day programme (equivalent) delivered over 2 – 3 terms and examines the new professional standards in depth. The programme explores the crucial role of Teaching Assistants in supporting the pupils and schools in achieving the objectives of the National Mission, Schools as Learning Organisations and developing the New Curriculum.
Upon successful completion of this programme Teaching Assistants are in a very strong position to identify their readiness for HLTA assessment.
Due to current restrictions, it is not possible to offer a face-to-face programme.
Dates for applications for the next round of the programme will be released soon.
Delivery of the programme will be a combination of self-directed study, online support and webinars. The webinars will be designed to address core aspects of the programme and to deal with questions. Each webinar will last no longer than two hours and will take place during the school day. If necessary, schools will need to release candidates from their responsibilities for these times, just as they would if a candidate were attending a face-to-face course.
This development programme will consist of 4 modules:
Module 1 Professional Learning, National Context and Collaboration
Module 2 Influencing Learning, Refining Teaching and Collaboration
Module 3 Advancing Learning and Collaboration
Module 4 Leadership, Innovation and Collaboration
Candidates will be asked to complete short pieces of writing about a range of activities that they are involved in, including lessons with an individual pupil, a small group and a whole class. Other activities might include such things as educational visits, meetings and other everyday school situations.
These pieces of writing, Professional Learning Reflections (PLRs) are recorded throughout the programme and are submitted after the final session to support the HLTA assessment.
Watch this video of the online information session
Access to the programme is through a national application process and will be delivered by the regional consortia and their partners including Local Authorities.In order to be eligible for the Aspiring HLTA programme applicants must:
- have sufficient experience and specialised skills to evidence sustained highly effective practice against the professional standards for Assisting Teaching.
- have or be willing to attain required level 2 qualifications (Applicants without Level 2 qualifications can apply for this programme but must attain Level 2 prior to assessment).
- have some experience of leading the learning for whole classes without the presence of a qualified teacher. Teaching assistants who have limited experience of this may find that sufficient opportunities to teach classes can be arranged within the timescale of the programme. Headteachers will be asked to confirm that candidates have been or will be given these opportunities.
- have the full support of their Headteacher who will be required to endorse the application.
In order to apply to take part in the programme the individual should
- Discuss their suitability with their headteacher or line manager as appropriate
- Submit a completed application form by the notified closing date using the application link.
Apply online here - closing date 26th November 2021.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the above please contact your regional co-ordinator as detailed below.
CSC: Cheryl Roberts Cheryl.Roberts@cscjes.org.uk
EAS: Rachel Cowell firstname.lastname@example.org
PARTNERIAETH: Heulwen Lloyd email@example.com
GwE: Wendy Williams WendyWilliams@gwegogledd.cymru
Further Reading and Research
The role of teaching assistants: Supporting learner well-being in response to COVID-19
Numeracy - How children think about Maths
For further support and guidance please contact:
Project Support Officer:
Matthew Robbins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheryl Roberts: email@example.com
Mandy Esseen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other areas of professional learning
Equity and Wellbeing / Curriculum / Pedagogy / Welsh Language Development / Induction / Governors / Leadership / Educational Visits / Lead Creative Schools Scheme / NQT Induction / Initial Teacher Education