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HLTA status. Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by SimplePimples, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Two TAs where I work have recently gained HLTA status. They are used to cover when teachers are out on courses and for when teachers have their subject leader time. PPA is covered by other teachers. The HLTAs are only paid at the HLTA rate for this work, at all other times they are paid the same as the other TAs. I am considering working towards the status, school are going to fund it ( possibly to stop me asking about NVQs!) but I don't want my role to become about being cheaper than a supply teacher. Any thoughts?
  2. Two TAs where I work have recently gained HLTA status. They are used to cover when teachers are out on courses and for when teachers have their subject leader time. PPA is covered by other teachers. The HLTAs are only paid at the HLTA rate for this work, at all other times they are paid the same as the other TAs. I am considering working towards the status, school are going to fund it ( possibly to stop me asking about NVQs!) but I don't want my role to become about being cheaper than a supply teacher. Any thoughts?
  3. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    After the week I've just had I would say 'Don't do it!'
    They use you whenever they want cheap cover.I don't mind covering for classes I already work in or regular cover for PPA in but not to be thrown in with no planning (verbal outline), no support and a class full of little people whose names I don't know.Soon learnt some names.Take my hat off to the teacher she deserves a medal.
    We were paid like that to begin with then one of the HLTAs went to Headteacher and insisted we were paid properly.If you think about it a Ass.or Deputy Head is paid when they are a class teacher they don't suddenly get demoted. It was meant to raise standards and not necessarily to have HLTAs teaching.If you are working at that level you should be working at it all the time.
    tmac1966 likes this.
  4. If you don't want to do regular whole class teaching then don't do it.
    If you are flexible, willing to leave what you are doing at the drop of a hat, don't mind leading the work of other TAs in the classroom then HLTA may be for you.
    I moved from the top of level 3 TA pay scale to the bottom of the HLTA pay scale and two years on I take home £100 per month more than I did before. When I look at some of my colleagues still working as classroom TAs I do sometimes wonder whether it is worth the extra responsibility for £25 per week .
    However if you are lower down on the pay scale the bigger jump onto the HLTA pay scale may be worth it. I knew that prior to gaining HLTA status I was already doing a lot of things that a HLTA does so it made sense for me to do the HLTA training. I was at the top of my pay scale and could go no further so I know that I now have the opportunity to move up the HLTA pay scale.
    It's not all about pay at the end of the day and you really have to look at how HLTAs are used in your school and how TAs in general are treated by your Head. If you work in a happy school where communication is good between everyone it is worth considering. If you are simply there to cover whole classes then you should consider carefully whether that is what you really want to do.
  5. In all too many schools, HLTAs are being used as cheap teachers. But that is the way education is going. It was Blair who thought up the idea of schools only having a few teachers, lots of computers and TAs. I don't know about the computers but part of his idea is coming to fruition. perhaps you could see yourself as being in the vanguard- altho I wouldn't want it whilst others are being paid a load more for the same thing.And don't forget you also get the accountability and the stress.
    Ahh, but I'm just an old cynic and maybe I've just become jaundiced after all these years in classrooms. But I've seen changes in all sorts of areas- and in some areas not necessarily for the better.
  6. I think it very much depends on how a school treats the HLTAs. I don't believe they should be used as a cover teacher on a per lesson basis and paid that way. There needs to be a commitment to work with you in an appropriate way & not exploit you as a cheap stand in for short term absences.
    My own experience has been very positive. I decided to get out of my long term career in I.T. 4/5 years ago. I took a job as a TA and really enjoyed it. The school supported me in obtaining HLTA status (& science specialism). I was given a role within the science department working very much in partnership with the teaching staff and in situations where extra support and knowledge was of great advantage to the students. The experience of working in class, planning lessons and support sessions etc was very useful to me along with the understanding how to work with children and get the best out of them.
    I am now a non-teaching head of year and I would not be there without the HLTA status and the experience it gave me. Go for it - it can open doors in the right places.
  7. nessyville

    nessyville New commenter

    There are no HLTA's at my school and normal level 2 TA's often cover PPA time without any extra pay!
    I definitely would go for it if the schools paying for it, judging by some of the other messages thats an extra £1200 that i bet you could really use!
  8. Very true Nessyville.
    Hubcap, I'm not sure if I actually want to be a teacher. I already have a degree, amongst other qualifications. I've looked into PGCE courses but I can't find one that fits with my other commitments at the moment (I run a childcare business and am a single parent with no family nearby).
  9. I think you're making the right decision, but make sure you are clear about your role afterwards. When I first asked my HT about doing the course I was encouraged, but told not to expect a job as a HLTA at the end of it. Halfway through the course (which the school were eager to fund) I was informed that I would have some hours as HLTA which was great as I would have the best of both worlds. However, upon completing and thankfully passing the course I was told that from the following term I would be a full time HLTA covering PPA, Leadership Time, sickness and Training Days! My one piece of advice is to get a good, supportive Mentor in school, someone you feel able to talk about anything with, and then keep them on hand even after you've finished the course. Mine is wonderful and I continue to go to her for advice and support. I wouldn't be without her.
    Good Luck
  10. Simple is as simple does ... just be the person who can be there for the learners when they need it...leave the politics for others...invest in the future, and allow others to concern themselves with more material things ...
  11. Ooooh! I have my first preparation for assessment day next week! I've collected some evidence and matched it to the standards. I don't want to do much in case I'm on the wrong track. Should I do anything else?
  12. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Are you doing the 3 day route? If you are and you are talking about Day1 then don't do anything more as it will all be explained to you.Take some for a headache co you might have one at the end of the day as there is a lot to take in.Good Luck.
  13. I am just leaving an HLTA role after 4 years. I am so disappointed. I was encouraged by the HT to gain the status, and she employed me as an HLTA - all hours at entry level HLTA pay. It is approx £1.90/hour more than I earned as a TA. She hadtold me she had plans to develop the role but alas they have not happened. In fact, I am now regarded as expensive and treated as if it was my fault I am on this salary. The school has reduced my hours considerably, meaning I now take home about £200 less per month. To add to it I get all the playground duties etc. The only HLTA part of the job is PPA cover, although I am meant to help with marking etc, the teachers have never been told that. I don't think the HT has ever told the CTs what my role means, or told them what is in my job description. It is really frustrating. On top of that I have heard that the HTnow advises other schools not to hire HLTAs saying she regrets it!!!!!
    I also think I work in one of the poorest counties for TA pay. We are paid for 39 weeks of the year, term time only. That means the most we can ever earn our hourly wage multiplied by 1072.5 hours. Of course we are all part time at our school so the salary is measly. Even if I worked every hour the school was open I would only come out with just over £11,000. As we can't work in the holidays, we are really quite low paid in my opinion.
    I would ensure that if you become HLTA you have a clear path to work along, and that the whole staff is aware of your duties and responsibilities. Or use it a s a stepping stone to something else in education.
  14. That's dreadful! I have been told by our HT that I will only be paid HLTA rate when working as a HLTA, they have done that with the others. My class teachers are very supportive and I have enjoyed the first day.
  15. This is part of the problem with HLTA status. When it originally came out it was an opportunity for experienced TAs working within the classroom at a higher level to gain some recognition. It was a status that recognised the expertise and extra responsibility that some TAs had within their role.
    The bit about whole class cover as I understand it was tacked on at the end because of Workforce remodelling. Hence the training for HLTA status is very little about teaching whole classes and more about the higher levels within the role of Teaching Assistant. With the best will in the world four days training does not make you a teacher.
    As a HLTA you have a status that recognises that you are working at a higher level at <u>all</u> times whether in the classroom, working with small groups or teaching whole classes.
    The HLTA status has become a distortion of what it was intended to be and Heads now think that you are only in your 'HLTA' role if you are providing whole class cover. In the meantime experienced TAs who become HLTAs are taken away from doing what they do best, that is supporting teachers and children in the classroom. They do this to become an unqualified teacher and in doing so have managed to hack off supply teachers who wonder where all the cover jobs have gone.
    Good luck to everyone who takes on HLTA ststus. I wish I hadn't done mine, I constantly feel that I have a foot in two camps, neither TA or Teacher. I don't have access to the same training and professional development of teachers but I need to ensure sufficient expertise for me to teach amd mark to an equivalent standard as the class teacher the lessons that I do cover.

    blacknred6 likes this.
  16. helpfulfriend

    helpfulfriend New commenter

    As an experienced HLTA paid as such all the time I love my job, yes I am expected to teach a class at the drop of a hat, often without planning, so 'winging it' is a regularity. I have my regular classes I teach and regular subjects (French, Music, R.E). which I plan for. Nearly all head teachers use hlta's in different ways I went for the status for my own satisfaction and hopefully once my degree is over I'll get on the r.t.p. programme and be teaching soon. To have a classroom base will be heaven but I will miss the different classes. Only go for the status with your eyes open, you could be used as a cheap teacher or just get nothing out of it at all. Have a chat with your headteacher to see how you would be used. If you are thinking the numeration will be worth it forget it!
    I wouldn't swap my role but I'm extrememely lucky
  17. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    I did the 3 day route.It wasn't training it was about how to present your work.You were supposed to be working at that level in order to access the 3 day route.It was never intended to turn you into a teacher.

    I agree that some Headteachers have abused the system by paying a HLTA rate only when staff are taking whole classes.I think this is mean as they are saving money anyway.A Deputy Head doesn't suddenly drop their hourly rate because they walk through the door and become the class teacher but it is up to HLTAs to point this out.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your first day Simple Pimples.

    I feel that I have a foot in two camps sometimes three but I love my job.I was taking whole classes anyway for PPA so it meant I was paid more although Single Status will soon change that.I felt the HLTA status raised my self esteem and I feel we have gained more respect from the teaching staff. Our teaching staff may be unusual but they prefer the HLTAs to take their classes for PPA - it is some of the TAs who don't agree with it!
  18. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Will someone please tell me how to keep my paragraphs on TES?
  19. I can't keep paragraphs either, I think it is to do with the browser I'm using (Google Chrome). Thanks for your replies, I am feeling mainly positive. I know that ideally, we should be paid as HLTAs the whole time but I decided I would gain the status then work on that! I think I already have a bit of a name for complaining about things that aren't right but I feel a squeaky wheel gets the oil or whatever it is. I'd rather be assertive than walked over. My colleagues who already have the status say they enjoy the increased self-esteem and respect but the money isn't any better. Having been made redundant once, I feel it would do me good if I need to job hunt in the future.
  20. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Ahh! Thanks mine is Google Chrome as well because we had such trouble with AOL. We live in the country and have difficulty with mobile phones too.

    That's what I did. I did the HLTA and thought that if they didn't agree I might start looking elsewhere.When all four of us had the status one went and asked on our behalf and obviously put forward a good argument because the Head agreed.
    Yes it will help in the future I'm sure.
    Leave plenty of time to do the grid.

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