Navbar button The Headteacher

HLTA – Why yours might need more CPD

July 9, 2024, 10:41 GMT+1
Read in 3 minutes
  • Schools should recognise the ambition of their HLTAs (higher level teaching assistants), says Dean Boyce...
HLTA – Why yours might need more CPD

Many HLTAs may need more CPD, according to a 2019 survey of 944 HLTAs and TAs across England.

The HLTA National Assessment Partnership (HNAP) carried out the survey to canvass views on the HLTA standards related to CPD. It revealed that 46% of HLTAs are undertaking whole-class teaching for between a fifth and half of the week, in order to strengthen their schools’ staffing structures.

HLTA expertise

Their confidence matches their enjoyment of this role, though. 90% of HLTAs feel confident in their ability to advance learning when engaged in whole-class teaching. They also feel that their schools recognise their strengths and areas for development, and seek to support these.

The survey also showed that HLTAs get to employ their area of expertise in a way their school recognises (55%). However, a significant proportion of respondents (60%) felt that schools could more effectively deploy their skills; both in support of pupils’ learning and the work of other teachers and TAs.

HLTA training

It was clear from the survey that HLTAs receive plenty of professional development in school:

  • around 70% said they attended INSET training
  • 55% reported receiving observation and feedback
  • around half had participated in training programmes run by external providers.

The general view, though, was that there’s more scope to develop their whole-class teaching skills. Almost half of the HLTA respondents said they didn’t receive feedback concerning this aspect of their work.

CPD plans

As well as giving HLTAs a voice, the survey has helped the HNAP to gain a better understanding of current practice. In response to the findings, we recommend that schools put systems and processes in place for monitoring and evaluating. This way, schools can know exactly where TAs and HLTAs are in terms of their performance and capability, and relate this to their knowledge, understanding, skills and behaviours.

We would also suggest that schools develop clear plans for helping TAs and HLTAs get to where they need to be, professionally. This could include giving HLTAs and TAs opportunities to network with peers at other schools. Another recommendation would be to match TA and HLTA development to school needs and priorities.

HLTAs and TAs are already doing great work in our schools, and committed colleagues are supporting them.  Yet, it’s clear that we can also do more to support HLTAs and TAs in being their best.

Dean Boyce is programme director, CPD and accreditation at Best Practice Network – a national training provider that helps to manage HLTA assessment standards – and is a member of HNAP.

Latest News