How to Become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant

What Is an HLTA?

A Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) carries out largely the same role as a teaching assistant, except they carry more responsibilities and earn higher pay.

An HLTA can teach a class by themselves, and cover teachers on leave. In addition, an you will supervise other teaching assistants in your school. There are national standards in place that must be met for an individual to become an HLTA.

As we wrote in our job description article, full-time HLTAs can expect to earn £16,000-£21,000 a year. Many are paid by salary, but in most local authorities you will be paid on a pro rata basis during term time only.

How Can I Become an HLTA?

These are the requirements for becoming an HLTA in the UK:

  • You must already be a teaching assistant
  • Your school and headteacher must support your application
  • You must have access to funding, through either your Local Authority (LA) or school

The fee for application to become an HLTA is currently £450.00 per candidate, so the last bullet point is important unless you are willing to pay from your own pocket.

HLTA Standards

The assessment process to become an HLTA involves a number of standards that you must meet. A ‘training needs analysis’ will be carried out by your school, LA, or Regional Provider of Assessment (RPA) to see what has to be done.

To apply, you will need to have NQF level 2 qualifications (GCSEs / Standard Grades) in mathematics and English.

Preparation Course

If you can provide proof of level 2 qualifications in mathematics and English, your LA will put you on an HLTA Preparation Course, a three day course.

This will establish the professional responsibilities of an HLTA, and by the end you should have prepared your assessment tasks.

You must also prepare and organise for an assessor (via your RPA) to visit your school using the registration helpline below.

HLTA Assessment Day

The assessor will visit your school for half a school day. They will interview you on your record as a teaching assistant, look at evidence (approved by your headteacher) of completion of your assessment tasks, and ask you about the HLTA professional standards.

This might be daunting, but don’t feel too anxious. As long as you think professionally and show a good attitude towards work, you needn’t feel too overwhelmed.

For further information you can read this handbook and visit the HLTA website. Alternatively you can phone the HLTA registration helpline on 0845 8800929.

Schedule some time to sit down and talk with your school’s headteacher, because they will be able to give you feedback and information relevant to your LA.


2 thoughts on “How to Become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant

  1. Thanks for this, very helpful! Although do you have any tips for stress on the day when the assessor comes in?

    1. Thanks Jane. Remember to breathe and do enough revision and preparation work, and you’ll be fine. Let your passion for the job and working with pupils shine through and you’ll get it :)

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