The role of the HLTA is to support learning for all children. Historically Teaching Assistants were none teaching adults who helped qualified teachers carry out day to day preparatory and administrative tasks and provide pastoral care to children (Calyton 1993). In 1998 the Local Government Chronicle published a summary of a Green Paper (LGC 1998) which outlined that a greater number of better trained teaching assistants would be more effective. In order to support learning for all children all support staff need to have a good understanding of how children learn. HLTA’s do not take the role of teacher but needs to have knowledge and understanding of how to work with individual and groups of children or in classes. Training is required to understand the responsibilities that are complex and the level of autonomy they have compared to other classroom support staff. The HLTA will have to take responsibility for tasks that are detailed and specific under the teacher of head teacher that is being assisted.
Every HTLA will have different training and development needs as each will have existing skills, knowledge and experience they will need to be able to demonstrate competence in management skills to work and guide other support staff, in line with the schools and head teacher’s requirements. Understanding the curriculum a HTLA will contribute to the creation of education plans and timetables for children. Working in a pastoral capacity the HTLA will need to be able to contribute to healthy and beneficial relationships between parents/carers and the school.The training requirements for the HLTA include the understanding of the HLTA standards and qualifications. Numeracy and Literacy skills are essential in order to maintain the National Occupational Standards (NOS) STL6 Support Literacy and Numeracy activities, as a minimum understanding to NVQ level 2 in English and Math. Training should include development of skills and training in learning strategies in order to be able to adapt to specific learning needs of individuals and groups.
To adequately support teachers and children the HLTA should develop skills and training in curriculum development and delivery. The HLTA should have knowledge and competence in the use of ICT and have the ability to demonstrate the use of basic ICT programmes, use of electronic communication, social media and accessing the internet. The HLTA will develop knowledge and understanding of Policies, procedures, regulations and laws specially relevant to education, working with young people and schools. The HLTA should be able to identify personal development goals and targets as well as have the skills, knowledge and experience to assess other individuals. Within the role of HLTA the development and maintenance of relationships at all levels is key to the enabling children and young people to develop to the maximum of their individual ability, encouraging them to higher aspirations and achievements.
The HLTA will need know and understand the mandatory policies, practices, activities that promote inclusion as well as a working knowledge of the requirements of health, hygiene and safety in a school environment. What are the National Occupational Standards (NOS)? What Purpose do they serve? The National Occupational Standards were developed in conjunction with school leaders to give clear guidance and standards to describe the support staff role within the classroom and school. The standards set out what Teaching Assistants who are working at a higher level need to know and what they are able to do.
Some of the elements of the NOS are applicable to other industries and commercial roles, these elements primarily involve development of staff identifying development needs and improving staff performance for business benefit. The clarity of the standards provides structure for a wide range of training and development, without being prescriptive. Schools can access a range of options to meet their specific needs and standards within their school curriculum and staffing capacity and capability. The key benefits of the NOS are that they are transparent and provide clarity that enables schools to manage the recruitment, development and progression of support staff. There are 69 elements within the 33 NOS standards which assessed through demonstration These are broken down into:-
Professional values and practice (standards 1-7)
Encouraging children and young adults to have high expectations to achieve their full potential in school and adult life. Building relationships based on respect and trust with children, young people, colleagues, parents and carers. Personal development of knowledge
Professional knowledge and understanding (standards 8-16)
Within this section HLTA’s must demonstrate through practice that ehy Understand diversity and key factors that affect children and young people’s learning and progress They have sufficient understanding of their area(s) of expertise to develop learning They have a level 2 qualification or above English and Mathematics Know how to use ICT to support their professional activities Understand the curriculum , statutory and non statutory frameworks and can relate it to age range and abilities. Understand content, objectives and intended outcomes for specific learning activities. Know how to support learners accessing the curriculum in accordance with Special Educational Needs (SEN) code of practice and disabilities legislation Know how other frameworks, that support the development and wellbeing of children and young people impact on their practice. Professional Skills working under the direction and supervision of an assigned teacher and in accordance with arrangements made by the head teacher of the school. Planning and expectations (standards 17 – 21)
Use of their area of expertise contribute the the planning and preparation of learning activies and plan their role in learning activities Plan and devise clearly structured activities that interest, motivate and advance learning as well as supporting inclusion of children and young people in their learning activities Contribute to the selection and preparation of resources suitable for learning Monitoring and assessment (standards 22-26)
Monitor learners ‘ responses and progress and modify approaches and provide focused feedback Support the evaluation of learners’ progress using a range of assessments techniques Contribute to maintaining and analysing records of learners’ progress Teaching and Learning activities (standards 26 – 33)
Recognise and respond appropriately to situations that challenge equality of opportunity and use effective strategies to promote positive behaviours’.
Use ICT skills to advance learning
Advance learning when working with individuals, small groups and classes without the presence of the assigned teacher Organise and manage learning activities in ways which keep learners safe Direct the work where relevant, of other adults in supporting learning.
How do Higher Level Teaching
Assistants support children in school? The HLTA role is to assist the teaching staff to support the learning of individuals and groups. They work with greater autonomy than other classroom support but do not replace the role of the teacher. Helping manage and provide guidance to other support staff in their responsibilities and duties. The HLTA will only undertake support activities with agreement and guidance from the teacher or head teacher being assisted, contributing to the development and delivery of education plans and timetables for children. The HLTA will use their experience and knowledge to identify opportunities for improvement in the performance of learners by setting goals and targets for learning and behaviours.
The HLTA will monitor and maintain records of learning as well as school records which will include personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. HLTA’s have a more one to one relationship with children assisting with learning through a more sustained interaction, the HLTA will have a roving role as well as a specific allocated individual or group support for learning. HLTA’s have a more generalist approach to learning and offer support to teaching through specialist help e.g. technology skills, counselling, careers advice providing a positive impact on pupil behaviour, discipline and improving social skills.
Research Brief DCSF-RB0287 – ISBN 978 1 84775 111 9 Deployment and Impact of Support Staff in Schools Peter Blatchford, Paul Bassett, Penelope Brown, Claire Martin, Anthony Russell and Robert Webster with Selma Babayigit and Naomi Haywood, Institute of Education, University of London Department of Education, National College for Teaching and Leadership, HLTA programme: Professional Standards TDA, National Occupation Standards booklet, updated October 2010 www.ukessays.com
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