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HLTA, Foundation Degree or ..?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by y6ta, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be money for job for TAs at the moment - despite need! I am just about to graduate from my Foundation Degree and unfortunately also leave my job of 4 years as the pupil I support goes to high school. There have been 3 jobs for the LEA in the last month that I could apply for (ideally would like to keep up my pension etc), none above level 3, but as Childrens Services budget for council has been dramatically cut it seems that new vacancies - particularly level 4 (HLTA) will be much less available than they were. I have to decide whether or not to take a voluntary position so I can complete honours next year, but am worried that I will be accruing debt with no real potential for a job with pay to reflect my qualifications.
    Good luck with FD! very rewarding personally if not professionally!

  2. Hi,
    I am a HLTA and have been for a number of years. You do not have to do the foundation degree to achieve HLTA status if you are an experienced TA. You can take the assessment only HLTA route. This may be more suitable for you, as it only takes a year. You just have to show in your tasks (and file) that you are currently doing all the required elements in your job. The only thing I will say is, if your LEA pays for the HLTA assessment route, they may decline to pay for the first year of a foundation degree, should you choose to do it at a later date. Good luck with your decision!

  3. I started off as a TA and had no qualifications. I left scholl before taking exams(when you could).
    I did several courses including City & Guilds qualifications in Learning Support. Then it was suggested i try for HLTA Status. As i had been a TA for a number of years i decided to go for it.I had to have a qualification in Maths & English to become an HLTA so i went and got some.
    I took the HLTA short course and completed it in a couple of months. Once i had my HLTA Status i was immediately given a pay rise and HLTA Status in my school(Secondary).
    I have since done the Maths HLTA part(it wasn't available at the time) and i have for the last 2 years had my own low ability maths group. I am told the topic and have guidance from the maths dept. but i teach the group.
    I am thoroughly enjoying it and the students have made remarkable progress.
    I am respected by all staff including senior management. You don't have to be taken advantage of, you just need to work at the right school.
    Good luck in whatever you decide.
  4. Hi remember that HLTA is a status and not a qualification, you will only be paid as a HLTA if you school decides they can afford you!!!!!
    I completed my STAC through the OU 4yrs ago, I then went on to do my foundation degree in learning support, I am on my final year of a 3yr course. I won't say it hasn't been challenging and hard work(but what in life that is worth having isn't) but it has been extremely rewarding. I can say hand on heart I know my job inside and out and can give the school and the children 100%. I am going on next year just to put the icing on the cake to do my BA. I have had mixed responses to studying for the FD Degree some people say it is not worth the paper it is wrote on (these are usually the people with no qualifications and have been doing the role for many years and are stuck in their ways). Then other people think it is an amazing thing to be doing whilst working and juggling family life.
    All I can say is doing my foundation degree has actually got me into a new role(better pay, better prospects) something I would never have had the confidence to go for without my studying and I have thoroughly enjoyed the learning curve and making life long friends along the way.
  5. I have found reading this thread very interesting.
    I am currently working as a GTA and have just completed my CACHE level 3 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
    I am hoping to do my Foundation Degree (Early Years Sector Endorsed) as I would love to become a teacher, especially KS1 or EYFS.

  6. bluebell27

    bluebell27 New commenter

    I think you need to consider just what you really want to do in life. One of our TAs completed a Foundation Degree and whilst there was a lot of work involved relevant to working in a school it wasn't actually needed in a TA role. The reason she did it was to top up with a third year to gain a teacher qualification and has just recently finished her QTS year in school. She is now a qualified teacher with her own class in school where a few years ago she was a TA.

    I myself am nearing the end of a Degree in childhood and Youth studies. ( with the OU) whilst many of the modules/courses are relevant to my work such as studying SEN/ working with children and families etc.... I also know it is not a requirement for my role as a TA. I do not want to teach as I prefer working with those children in need in smaller groups. What I intend to do is to complete a post graduate Play therapy course and then decide how I will use my new skills.
    I do have a busy life in school, have some responsibilities in terms of ICT and training new TAs/students etc and only do one session of PPA which is for one hour per week doing PSHE. That's all I am prepared to do in that line of work. Basically the choice is..... Stay as a TA with TA duties, train as a teacher..... or do something entirely different. Ta work is not a role for progression but then again that is what the teacher's role is like. Train to be a teacher, some stay as they are for years out of choice others progress to become head teachers. I personally love my TA role and would hate to be forced down the HLTA route if it only meant having to stand in for teachers taking whole classes.[ I've been a TA for 18 years]
  7. I am a senior HLTA, I have completed my Foundation degree and I also teach the Foundation degree at Uni. I love my job but I find it very stressful, like other HLTA's have expressed when your teaching you don't have any TA's to support you. So you have to cope with children with SEN as well as behaviour issues. My advise would be if you love what you are doing stay as a TA with TA duties you only get paid term time as an HLTA anyway. You could train as a teacher as I have found that a lot of schools are now by passing employing HLTA's and are now going for NQT's instead.
  8. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Really? A year? It was three days when I did it!
    There are an awful lot of things in this thread which strike me as nonsensical but I am coming to realise that it must be that there are some extremely strange arrangements in certain local authorities. My guess is that when the SSSNB finally come up with some national terms and conditions for TAs and other support staff many of these will disappear.
    The one thing I really want to query is where are the local authorities that are paying TAs all-year-round? We have been repeatedly told that this is not acceptable within the terms of Single Status and if other LEAs are still doing it I would really appreciate a pm from someone so that I can take this information (anonymously, of course) to my union. It most certainly must breech equality laws totally unconnected with Single Status if TAs are being paid all-year-round and HLTAs only term-time-only in the same LA - or is it, as it used to be here, that long-term TAs are told they are paid all-year-round but actually earn exactly the same as those on term-time-only contracts whose rate of pay is quoted as a higher one but only paid pro-rata?
    I would also like someone to come up with a definitive explanantion of the difference between a qualification and a status - I really feel that some devious LA and/or head came up with this pathetic excuse for not paying proper rates of pay and has got away with it! QTS is a status but it is necessary for people to work as teachers and therefore would surely be put in the qualification box of a job application - no? I would put my HLTA in that box. The fact that it is a status has nothing to do with being paid the rate - that is down to whether there is a job vacancy available - deputy heads are asked to complete the NPQH but do not automatically become a head teacher when they have achieved it - HLTA is a very similar situation for experienced TAs.
    I see HLTA as a role progession but heads are not prepared to pay the rate for the job - I am fortunate that this does not apply to me and I know that this puts me very much in a minority - I am paid a good wage for which I have to work very hard but I have no desire whatsoever to become a teacher and so I personally wouldn't see any point whatsoever in doing anykind of degree as it would not increase my wages. In fact our LEA require any teachers who wish to become HLTAs to complete the assessment route and gain the status before they can be considered!
  9. I have just achieved Distinction for my Fd in 'Supporting Teaching and Learning' (secondary school ) . I really enjoyed the programme and the depth of my knowledge of the secondary TA role is incredible. It was extremely time consuming but always worthwhile. My assignments ranged from 2500 in yr1 to 4000 in yr2.
    I am now pursuing HLTA as my Fd did cover this it did not credit me the status. I have just begun the 3 day Preparation and Assessment process. After I have completed the paperwork, an assessor will visit school and I will be advised if I have been successful sometime in October.
    To be honest I don't really know why I'm putiing myself through the HLTA as I have been told by school there are no HLTA positions available. I suppose I felt that having given over 2 yrs of my time to the Fd, I may as well achieve HLTA.
    So by October I will find myself the most qualified TA in the school! However my role has not changed in the eyes of the school and has remained identical to others who are the same grade as me with NVQ 3 or similar.
    The only difference between myself and these other TA's presently is that I have created opportunities formyself with individual pupils,groups of pupils and whole class teaching and learning to support the qualifications I have pursued. Therefore on completion of HLTA with a positive result I will then fall back to the role of that of my colleagues, that of classroom support (appearing and disappearing at the end of each lesson, as we are all only paid per lesson). Soul destroying!!
    I did the qualifications to better myself and increase my knowledge but most of all I wanted to help learn how to better support those children who struggle each day in mainstream secondary school. I feel I now know how to support them in so many ways, it remains to be seen if my superiors will acknowledge this. A perfect result for me would be a higher grade and a new role which would utilise the skills I have displayed and which they have experienced .
    Good luck to anyone who goes for the FD and HLTA I hope you are all rewarded, you certainly should be!

  10. Sorry but just don't understand this, in my area my LEA pays all TAs for 52 weeks of the year and we all work full time for 32.5 hours per week. This is the norm and other neighbouring LEAs are slowly starting to follow. I have nothing against HLTA STATUS but my point is that the foundation degree is a qualification and the amount of assignments you have to complete which all relate back to your professional practice. It doesn't make any difference to my role as a senior TA and I do the same job as a level 3 TA but it gives you so much extra knowledge and a way forward, whether thats going on to up to a BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Studies or Education then a guaranteed interview for PGCE if you want to teach. HLTA status is fine if you are working all the time as a HLTA but my problem is when TAs are not working at HLTA level and then "make up" evidence for their folders. Yes QTS is a status but thats awarded after completing a degree and the PGCE and a year working as a NQT which is rather different than putting a HLTA folder together in 3 days.
  11. I would agree with you about some TAs not really fulfilling all the criteria in their everyday roles - when I did my assessment, the other TAs at the prep days couldn't believe how much more work/responsibility I had in my role compared to them. It was a little irritating - especially as my Head Teacher was very reluctant to pay me on HLTA at the time. However, I had no trouble gathering plenty of evidence for assessement.
    With regard to 'putting a HLTA folder together in 3 days' - well, that's not actually how it works. You have three preparation days, where you are given guidance on the sort of evidence required and how to complete the forms for the task but the evidence can be from a 12 month period and the whole process usually takes a few months. In theory, the evidence used should reflect what you do in your everyday role - in other words, you should be working routinely at HLTA level to achieve the status. However, in reality, I suspect (and am aware of several cases) that this is not always the case.
    I quite enjoyed the process and, once I achieved the status, managed to convince the Head that I was worth the extra money!
  12. Just picked up on this thread. When the HLTA role first came in some 6 years ago (I think), the only route was through a Foundation degree. There was no guarantee of a job at the end. I began this but it soon became clear it was aimed at those who wanted to progress to teaching, although I had previously been told otherwise. Within a few months the assessment route became available. I opted for this instead. At that time you had to have a minimum of 5 yrs experience. It involved 3 days teaching and approx 4/5months gathering documentation and completeing tasks. It was necessary to show evidence of 1:1 teaching, group and whole class.
    The HLTA assessment now appears not to require whole class teaching. A TA at my school has recently achieved HLTA status, yet had never taught a whole class. Only now is she doing this from time to time, however all the work is planned and prepared for her, unlike myself and another colleague. Whilst we all get on well it does seem unfair, and no-one has ever observed her ability to teach whole class. Even she herself was surprised she was not expected to do so as part of the course.

  13. for your acheivement the HLTA is worth doing but from experience HT have very little respect for the role as do a lot of teachers. They both have very little understanding of the role and the responsibilities that go with it and how HLTA's should be deployed.
    The education minister also seems to have little knowledge of what this role government has tried to implement miserably if i knew what i know now i would not have bothered.
    Also remember the HLTA is only a STATUS not a qualification
    Try the Specialist Teaching Assistant Certificate (course E111) through the OU.
    Much more rewarding and gives you points

    Hope this helps you come to a decision
  14. Where i live the HLTA assesment route can now be done in 9 weeks (when i took it the time was 12) the time scales seem to be changing rapidly.
    Because of this rapid approach i can understand some staff being aprehensive towards the role
    I did have to show evidence of taking a class without the teacher present.
    As for the work and standards once you get into the swing of understanding what is being asked the rest falls into place.
    Good luck if you decide to do it.
  15. I did the HLTA 3-day assessment to be awarded the status, just over a year ago. It IS part of the assessment to demonstrate that you regularly take whole classes and 'further their learning'. i.e., not just babysit. You have to 'prove' that you plan, deliver and assess. I do all of this regularly. However, the 'proof' that you need is so tenuous that there were many people on the course who had not ever taken a whole class, and were having to make arrangements to do it once, just so that they could say they had. Personally, I think this makes a mockery of the whole thing, You're supposed to be proving that you're competent, and how can you do this from one forced session?
    As for rates of pay, it all depends on your individual school. I was told right from the start that getting HLTA status would not lead to a pay rise, although the school are more than happy to use me to cover classes when the need arises - but then they did that before I had the status anyway. Because of an internal re-shuffle, I do now get paid HLTA rate, but the school certainly gets their money's worth.
    I think the whole 'how many weeks do you get paid' thing is all a bit of a complicated system. The way it works in our LA, and at least 2 other nearby ones, is that you get paid for 35 weeks work in the year but the money is split so that you get 12 monthly payments.
    I've been told by various heads that HLTA-paid-roles are few and far between but having HLTA status, along with an NVQ3, will make you much more employable. Our school had a TA vacancy recently that had over 75 applications, so doing all you can to be a desirable employee has got to be worthwhile.
    I'm also doing the Foundation Degree, which I intend to top up. Some days I think I would like to be a teacher, but other days I think no way! I'll still finish the full degree though, because I figure that whatever I do in the future having a degree is going to help.
  16. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I am also in a dilema at the moment. Im starting my 2nd year of the foundation degree in sept. We covered the standards of HLTA for our port folio. One of the girls on the course did HLTA alongside the first year of the foundation degree, as her headteacher had asked her to do it. Now Im wondering if its worth approaching my head. I know there are no vacancies, but should I do it anyway? I have the STAC qualification as well as NVQ level 2 and 3. I am presently employes as a 1-1 with the child in her final year next year. I have worked as a TA, SSA for 7 years doing differant roles.Our school did employ an NQT as HLTA, so it may be as another person said that that may be what is starting to happen. My intention was to get more qualifications for my career. I am continuing the FD. However a STAC is a level 4 qualification. What would you do in my position? Should I do HLTA for the sake of the status?

  17. It has been interesting reading the different approaches that schools have to HLTA's and foundation degrees. I have been an HLTA for 4 years and cover Y4 PPA all day each Wednesday and cover from Reception to Y6 vacancies, PPA etc. I am just reaching the end of a foundation Degree, which is 2 years and St Mary's Uni, Twickenham. This leads on to a further 2 yrs BA with QTS, all one day per week. I am doing this for my own benefit, funded from my own pocket and losing one day per week pay as a result.
    I feel that the pay for the job I am currently expected to do is not enough, I get little or no PPA myself and am paid term time only. I am thoroughly enjoying the FD, but it is tiring fitting everything in. I am hoping it will be worth it in the end.
  18. Hi,

    I finished my Foundation Degree in Learning Support in 2004 and it helped to pave the way for more responsibility in school but 6 years on I'm still on the same pay scale as the other TAs in my school. I do all the ppa for ks2 in art and dt, I do the planning, preparation of the lessons, teach the lessons, assess, put up the art and dt displays and make the portfolios. For this effort I get time and a half which I claim each month. I'm currently doing the HLTA course, I today finished the Core Module, and although I'm thoroughly enjoying it, it's a lot of work. I would even say that it's on the same level as my degree. You have to cover 33 of the 41 Standards that teachers have to cover when they're training, twice over, so it's no stroll in the park. I'm going to see it through, and I've now been told I will go up a pay scale, so after so much effort, it's good to see my hard work will be rewarded.

    I'm going to do my Honours Degree next year, and after that my school want me to do the GTP. I'm 50 but I'm not letting that stop me! I feel I should go down this path to reap the rewards of a job that I've been doing competently for years.

    Do what I did, have a chat with your Head and see what they will offer you. If you don't ask you don't get!

    Good luck
  19. Hi. Glad I'm not the only person who is 50 and starting an honours degree. I am just finishing my Foundation Degreeand doing a top up from September and then hopefully doing the GTP.There's still live in the old dogs! No offence intended.
  20. sallieallie

    sallieallie New commenter

    the last two posts are certainly inspirational, at 38, I thought i was a late starter! I did the HLTA first around 3 years ago, am starting yr 3 of the foundation degree in september and planned to do the top up and then GTP, recently our head changed and new head seems to think there is little hope of me getting on GTP as so oversubscribed. She has recommended part time PGCE, but I can't afford to give up work. I'm not sure what other options there are. It seems like a long hard slog to qualification, but I am determined to succeed. I have had to resit maths and english GCSE's and about to start Science in September, so will be busy! Not to mention we are about to have our first child in 6 weeks! Am I mad???

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