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The role of a HLTA

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Bronco, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. The primary role is to assist and support the teacher but many HLTAs are being asked to replace a teacher.
  2. Do you mean in comparison to a teacher?
    If so, then yes the workload and responsibilities are going to be less.
    However it can be a very challenging role and the role varies within schools.
    Some schools only pay HLTA for the actual hours that are providing whole class cover. Pay is generally pro rata, holidays are unpaid with the salary spread out across the year. Salary rates may look good but this needs to be taken into account when working out actual take home pay.
    Many HLTA roles are not full time with 30 hours often called full time. I am lucky that I am paid at HLTA rate for the 37 hours that I work.
    Many schools offer very little or no time for planning and preparation.
    The job generally means covering PPA or planned absences as well as staff absence for illness.
    Many HLTAs have other demanding roles and responsibilities within school.
    One of the trickiest aspects of the job is having a foot in two camps (TA and teacher). You are reliant on the class teacher who decides what you are being asked to teach, mark and assess.
    Many HLTAs do their own planning and preparation and unlike teachers are unlikely to have TA support in the classroom.
    You have to be resilient and adaptable as you may be teaching several classes in lots of different classrooms.
    I work about five hours every week at home and about a day of the holidays. Sometimes more and sometimes less.
    I have no idea if that is less or more than average but I am guessing that in common with other HLTAs I have an inability to say 'no'.
    HLTAs are often very experienced TAs like myself, who over many years have become part of the fixtures and fittings of the school.
    A good HLTA is discreet, adaptable, hard working and able to work under pressure.

  3. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Well said LaureRichis!

    I teach 1 1/2 days approx a week PPA cover and also staff absence sometimes.I also provide 1:1 support for children with challenging behaviour and/ or severe difficulties that some staff may not feel they can cope with. I run a Nurture Group (I am a trained Nurture Practitioner) and provide support for some EAL pupils, their families and resources for staff. I liaise with the local EAL person (down to one now) and the SENCO. I attend meetings for EAL in my own time.
    I get 1 hours planning time and 45 mins for Nurture. I think I would on an average week spend a minimum of 5 hours at home.
    I also support a group of pupils with SEN in class and group work.

    It is less work than a class teacher but it isn't a picnic as you feel pulled in several directions. However I love my job the variety, the children and I hope I make a little difference to some of their lives.
  4. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    If, as others have said, you are asking if HLTA is less pressured than full-time teaching - the answer would, of course, be, "yes" but I have been an HLTA for over six years now and it has become a very stressful job for me over the last three (since a change of head teacher.)
    I have just finished marking one set of PPA books and have another waiting for me to do from this afternoon - plus there will be another two classes tomorrow afternoon needing marking. Because our SMT are obsessed with book trawls I spend ages trying to make detailed comments in books in case there is a sudden check of them - children don't gain much from this as most either can't or don't read these comments so I'm not actually doing it to help them learn but just to tick a box for the Head!
    Planning has to be on computer system every week (in case I should be ill and someone else has to cover) so this has to be done too. I get one hour's PPA for myself - on a day when I run an after-school club so can't continue working past that hour. Even with only covering PPA (and sometimes having to provide emergency cover across Nursery to year 6) I have to spend a fair amount of time working at home. Because my contract is for 36 hours I am supposed to be doing after-school clubs on several days as all my time is 'directed' - it is not acceptable for me to say that I am doing some of my planning or preparation in school time other than during the one hour allocated for it!
    I am not suggesting that my job is remotely as difficult as a teacher's - please don't think that's what I'm saying, but it defintiely is not nearly as stress-free as it might seem! Even the TA role is nothing like as enoyable as it used to be many years ago - I can remember leaving school just after the childre with no work to be done in the evening, and not being forced to justify what I am doing every minute of every day!
    If you are thinking of giving up teaching for TAing I would suggest that you need to know what the school you are applying to is actually like - I am quite sure there are other HLTAs who are not under very similar pressures to teachers but don't assume there are not a whole set of stresses related to the HLTA role.

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