Guidance School support staff

Teaching Assistants and Support Staff

Whilst the majority of support staff are deployed in the classroom supporting teachers and working directly with learners, there are many others deployed in other support roles that schools depend on to ensure that the school runs smoothly and efficiently.

Teaching assistants (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 have stated in 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).

In 2018 there were over 31,000 support workers registered with the EWC across Wales.

Higher Level Teaching Assistants

The Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) is a status that was introduced in 2003 to support school workforce reforms. The agreed definition of HLTA is ‘to complement the professional work of teachers for agreed learning activities under an agreed system of supervision. This may involve planning, preparing and delivering learning activities for individuals/groups or short term for whole class’. The award of the status, although not a qualification, supports teaching assistants to undertake a specific role within the classroom.

The HLTA scheme has been run in partnership since 2005 and WG continue to support an increase in HLTA numbers. There are no specific regulations for HLTA although there is an impact on Workload Agreement.

Entry to the HLTA scheme requires candidates to have appropriate literacy and numeracy qualifications and the endorsement of their Headteacher.  The HLTA scheme requires candidates to complete pre-tasks and provide evidence to demonstrate that they meet the appropriate requirements for the scheme which will be linked to the Professional Standards for Assisting Teaching.

For more information on the Teaching Assistants learning Pathway and training opportunities please refer to your Regional Consortia websites.

Since 2017 the Welsh Government has supported the development of a national approach to developing Teaching Assistants across Wales. In partnership with the Regional Consortia, the Welsh Government has supported the development of a Teaching Assistants Learning Pathway, with the view:

  • to increase the number HLTA candidates each year
  • training for all new Teaching Assistants
  • train assessors to deliver a programme of activity aligned with the National Approach to Professional Learning  Framework including  opportunities for school learning support workers to gain a level 2 qualification in Mathematics and English/Welsh
  • to develop the learning pathway for all Teaching Assistants.

There is a cohesive approach across all the Welsh Government in conjunction with the Regional Consortia to work together to further develop the Teaching Assistants learning Pathway  which will support the introduction of the new curriculum and the new Professional Standards for Assisting Teaching.