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HLTA of the Year 2016

Sue Brown was crowned Outstanding HLTA of the Year 2016 at the fourth annual HLTA of the Year awards held on the 21st of November. She was joined by all of the other regional winners for a tour of the Houses of Parliament and a presentation of the awards by Chair of HNAP Professor Richard Rose and MP Andrew Mitchell, who spoke eloquently about the dedication and commitment of the regional winners and the tremendous contribution that education makes towards a better the world.

The HLTA of the Year Award is aimed at teaching assistants who have gained HLTA status and is designed to highlight the hard work and dedication that HLTAs in particular across England put into their role and the vital support they give to pupils in their schools. Each year nine regional winners are chosen with one of them becoming named HLTA of the Year.

National winner

National winner and East Midlands regional winner - Sue Brown

Sue is a critical member of the school team who uses her specialist knowledge and training in SEND to work alongside and in support of colleagues to decide how best to fulfil the potential of children with a range of complex needs. She supports the SENCo with a range of specific assessments which has strengthened her understanding and ability to recognise the ‘whole child’, thus adapting the learning environment to meet their educational and social needs. Her passion for ensuring all children are recognised for their individual achievements meant that she was asked to steer a working party during consultation when devising the school’s values. Sue’s own love of sport, and especially swimming, mean that she helps run and attend sporting events, ensuring that her swimming coach qualification is put to good use with some of her group qualifying for Nationals. She is also very creative, staying late and coming in during holidays to support colleagues, having painted murals around the school, created props for plays to name but two contributions; this expertise is also deployed in planning and delivering art lessons to an excellent standard.

Senior Staff say that “she is an inspirational colleague who is thoughtful, supportive and dedicated. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her attention to detail reflects her commitment to our school - she is at the heart of what we do: motivating, encouraging and dependable - we don’t know what we would do without her.”

Regional winners

East of England - Cindy McLeish

The East of England region winner is Cindy McLeish of King’s Lynn Academy in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Assistant principal Elanor Westbury says that Cindy “goes the extra mile to ensure that students exceed all expectations, even their own.”

“Cindy was a teaching assistant when we became an academy and has relished every new opportunity that has come her way since. She has been selected to become a form tutor and was promoted to HLTA in the English faculty where she has been an incredible support to the Head of Faculty and the entire team.

She has learned the ins and outs of three GCSE specifications in the last five years to ensure that she is able to support all students to achieve their very best. In addition, when the role of Assistant SENCo became available Cindy applied and was successful, she has worked in the team through challenging times of changing codes of practice and education, health and care plans and keeps herself up to date. Cindy is not afraid of challenge and rises each and every time something new comes along.”

London - Gill Koch

Gill is lead teaching assistant at West Lea School for children aged 4-19 with special educational needs. She leads a team of 50 TAs, training and modelling best practice in delivering the school’s mission and ethos. She is also the outreach co-ordinator training mainstream staff on best practice for working with children with SEN needs. She has been instrumental in developing a framework for responsibilities in the classroom used across the school. This enables teaching assistants to have a key role in the school’s classrooms. External audits of provision indicated that staff who were taking this on board showed real strength in the classroom.

North East - Joanne Scott

Joanne Scott is the winner for the North East Region. Joanne became a TA in 2003 and currently works at Park View School in South Shields. Chris Rue, Headteacher says that the school is very lucky to have a HLTA of such high quality working there. “Her key to delivering such a high level of teaching is her tenacious attitude of ensuring that she plans and delivers every lesson to meet the needs of each student in her class.” Joanne explains how her life has changed since achieving the HLTA Status.

“I really believe that I have learnt so much from working in a school as a TA and working through to HLTA status, I have learnt so much from so many people. I think the important thing to do is to keep reshaping and moulding your practice so that young people get the best deal and that you are always one step ahead with new ideas and innovative ways of keeping students engaged in learning. As I have become more experienced I also like to share good practice with my colleagues and work with others so we provide an outstanding learning environment across the school.”

North West - Paula Lacey

Paula Lacey from Rainford High Technology College in St. Helens is the regional winner for the North West. Paula is currently studying at University (PGCert SpLD (Dyslexia with AMBDA/ATS) as well as working full time. Paula explains what HLTA means to her, “I am proud every time I see a student achieve and every time a teacher comments that a student I have worked with is performing better in lessons. I feel proud when a student expresses that because of my team’s commitment and support, they feel better about coming to school. I feel proud when students whom have previously been non-attenders, have started to come to school regularly because they enjoy their literacy lessons. But mostly, I feel proud that I can prove that, no matter what difficulties students with SEND face, everyone has the potential to achieve and feel successful.”

South East - Sarah Wise

Sarah works at Holy Cross CE Primary School in Uckfield where she has worked with the school’s most vulnerable children and families and the positive impact she has on the lives of these children and families is immeasurable. Her support for these families goes above and beyond what is expected from a member of school staff. Sarah is often referred to as the ‘child whisperer’. She has a unique sense of what individual children need and will fight hard to ensure that they have these needs met. She strongly believes that each child has their own unique gifts and that their academic, emotional, social and cultural needs should not be automatic barriers for them not achieving their dreams.

South West - Alison Carpentier

The winner of the South West region is Alison Carpentier of Glenfrome Primary School in Eastville, Bristol. Alison teaches all classes from reception to Year 6. Headteacher Inger O’Callaghan says “She leads a team of fifteen teaching assistants and models excellent practice and high expectations leading to improved outcomes for children. Alison lives and breathes our core values of aspiration, fairness, courage, respect and joy, and expects the pupils to do the same.”

“Alison always treats all colleagues, parents and children with respect. She works tirelessly for the school, and has achieved a range of outcomes for Glenfrome, including leading our efforts to achieve our third Eco-Schools Green Flag award. She organises the pupil Eco Council, liaises with our business partner DAS to take the children on trips to complete an Eco Audit of their offices, and also to other places to find out more about environmental issues. Alison is also the staff link on our PTA committee.”

West Midlands - Lianne Tetsell

Lianne Tetsell of The Bridge School in Telford and Wrekin is the West Midlands region winner. Teacher Kate Parton says: "Lianne has worked as a HLTA in a Year 1 and Year 2 class for pupils with severe and complex learning needs for two and a half terms this year. She has fulfilled teaching responsibilities for this class during a period of long term absence, with the support of colleagues within the key stage and senior colleagues in school.

“She has effectively led a team of five teaching assistants and an apprentice. She has been an excellent role model to her team, who she has developed throughout the year. Lianne has high expectations and has ensured that her team are consistently following strategies to support learning and teaching. Lianne has worked at a consistently outstanding level throughout fulfilling this role, and in the many years in which she has supported teaching and learning within school.”

Yorkshire and Humber - Jeanette Barnes

Jeanette Barnes is the regional winner from Yorkshire and Humber. Jeanette is from Airedale Junior School, Castleford. Deputy Head Teacher Katie Robinson says that “Not only is Jeanette an inspirational HLTA, she is a major contributor to school life and a huge support to other colleagues in the school.”

Jeanette explains what she is most proud of since becoming an HLTA:

It is so satisfying when a child makes progress from an intervention I have been involved in. I am also continuing my international work and have planned to visit Africa again early next year to work in our partner school as well as arranging for a third year for one of the teacher’s from our partner school to visit our school. One of the things I am most proud of is seeing less confident children standing on stage in front of a full audience and performing. It might only be one line but their confidence develops and the pleasure they show just makes me smile with pride.”

Contact your Regional Provider of Assessment for details on how to nominate colleagues for HLTA of the Year 2017

Change of RPA in the East

Please note that as of 10th May the Eastern Leadership Centre (ELC) no longer operates as the Regional Provider of Assessment for the Eastern region. Assessments in the East will now be conducted by Best Practice Network.

Outstanding HLTA of the Year 2015

We are pleased to announce that Jill Birch from Birkwood Primary School, Barnsley, is the national winner of the HLTA of the Year award 2015. We congratulate her and all of the nominees for their outstanding practice.

L-R: Ghazala Khan, Josie Wilkinson, Dina Mayes, Sharon Farrell, Jill Birch, Marion Fearon, Jenny Boyce, Michaela Mason and Jake Clarke.

Jill travelled to London to receive her award from MP Nic Daykin and to enjoy a tour of the Houses of Parliament, along with the eight other regional winners.

East Midlands Regional Winner

Dina Mayes from New College, Leicester City

Dina is a literacy specialist and delivers targeted literacy intervention across the college, supporting the least academic students, who as a result, make expected or better progress from their starting point. She is the advocate for all SEN students within the English department and delivers faculty based and whole school training associated with literacy and RWI Freshstart, line managing other TAs in this area as well as working with the head of faculty to develop a targeted tracking system.

Dina was a student of the college herself and has, during her career, constantly developed her skills, taking a Foundation Degree in Education and going on to a BA Honours programme. She is part of the LA’s Whatever It Takes research group (looking at reading) and attends all LA INSET, collaborating with colleagues from Ruth Miskin to develop the RWI programme at the college through differentiation schemes, structured activities, mentoring and peer support. 

Senior staff say that, ‘ Dina has extremely high expectations and believes all students can achieve success with every lesson being a new beginning; all staff, students, parents and carers value her opinion and professionalism without question’. 

East of England Regional Winner (ELC)

Ghazala Khan from Queens Park Academy, Bedford

Ghazala runs and develops the school’s Children’s Kitchen. The Children’s Kitchen provides all children within this large primary school with the opportunity to cook and learn about healthy lifestyles. Ghazala worked with the senior leadership team to design and develop both the physical space and the curriculum. Ghazala’s passion for providing engaging and long lasting learning is outstanding. Children thoroughly enjoy their time in the kitchen and many recently voted it as their happiest place to learn in the school.

Ghazala takes her own learning very seriously. Her commitment to her study is described as “outstanding” by her line manager. She constantly seeks opportunities to engage in initiatives that relate to health and nutrition. One of her targets this year has focused on developing community links, she now runs a parent and child cookery club after school. 

Ghazala has worked alongside a colleague from a neighbouring county to develop practice. Her passion for what she does is evident in her enthusiasm for initiatives such as the Sainsbury’s mini chef awards and various Jamie Oliver initiatives. She ensures the school is involved in events such as the world record attempt for the greatest number of children cooking together.

Yorkshire and Humber Region (Outstanding HLTA of the Year Winner)

Jill Birch from Birkwood Primary School, Barnsley

Jill has worked at Birkwood Primary School for eleven years and has been an HLTA since 2006. During that time she has gone from strength to strength and is now a senior HLTA with whole-school responsibility for Art and Design Technology. Jill’s colleagues describe her as an outstanding role model who encourages a can-do attitude. She works mainly with Y6 children and demonstrates expertise in a wide range of areas – in reading, writing, maths and in practical science. Her support has helped children to significantly improve their reading skills. She willingly gives up her break and lunch times to support pupils.

She also has strengths in art and design, shown in displays around the school, and she has helped the school achieve the Artsmark Gold Status. Her colleagues state that she teaches excellent whole class lessons and always finds ways to give children explanations.
She is always willing to take on new ideas and initiatives. She has been particularly proactive in coaching and mentoring other staff in the Thinking Actively in a Social Context programme. She has a gift for developing Philosophy for Children and she has shared her talent with others. Visitors watching her teach a Y6 Philosophy for Children lesson described it as an ‘emotional experience’.

And as if that is not enough, she is also a member of the school’s governing body. Her school say that ‘she is inspirational and we are very proud of her’.

South West Regional Winner (Best Practice Network)

Jenny Boyce from The Wey Valley School, Dorset

Jenny is described by the school Principal, Sara Adams, as a quite remarkable individual who has that rare quality in a HTLA of consistently showing and delivering excellence rarely seen in others.

‘She makes a real difference to the lives of our most vulnerable students and gives up most weekends of her time freely be it Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, tall ships races, camping trips or school trips to our sister school in Nepal. The staff, students and parents of the school hold her in the highest esteem.
Jenny has high aspirations and a ferocious energy which translates to the students in a true ‘you can do it’ attitude; she has inspired many students especially those who have extreme difficulties to push themselves to succeed both in and out of the class room. She has a very outgoing and confident personality and she has the ability to light up any room.

Jenny has progressed learning from Year 7 to Year 11 working with a wide range of students to raise attainment and whole school happiness. She works with the sole purpose to allow the student to feel safe, supported and inspired to do their very best.
Over the last 12 years Jenny has loved to learn and become qualified to support her role within the PE and Outdoor Learning Department. From being First aid trained she went on further so she could teach First Aid to students and just recently has attended a highly advanced course in wilderness medicine. She has become a very experienced HLTA and often advises teaching and non-teaching staff to help them improve. She is an amazing woman and truly deserves the recognition that this regional award brings.’

South East Regional Winner (Babcock 4S)

Jake Clarke from Hartsdown Academy, Kent

Jake is a hardworking and conscientious member of staff who consistently shows dedication and a valuable work ethic. He has proven to be an asset in his position as HLTA in the Health and Social Care Department. Jake has the ability to link the understanding of the subject that he teaches with teaching strategies to enable the student’s to remain engaged so that they access both the practical and academic application of Health and Social Care.

Jake is motivational and encouraging in his approach to pupils, arranging individual tutorials and consistently recognising achievements. He contacts parents/carers to share and celebrate success. All this promotes pupils to achieve excellent results, evidenced in their 2015 GCSE exam in which the group achieved high grades, including C and above.

Colleagues respect Jake for his professionalism, expert approach, dedication and engaging personality. He contributes to many areas of school life, including Open Evenings, Training Events and Parents’ Evenings, inspiring displays and projects and taking the role of ‘Gifted and Talented’ Mentor in his department.

As further demonstration of Jake’s commitment and dedication, he has undertaken an Open University Degree Course in English which he will complete next year. This is incredibly impressive as he is completing his degree under his own initiative and alongside his HLTA role.

West Midlands Regional Winner (Best Practice Network)

Josie Wilkinson from Featherstone Primary School, Birmingham

Josie is described by her Headteacher as a vibrant and active member of the whole school team. She plans and delivers high quality P.E. lessons and has promoted an active, healthy lifestyle, instilling self-confidence in children who showed no initial interest in participating in sport.
Josie was instrumental in helping the school achieve the award for Outstanding Change4Life Sports Club delivery at the SGO National Summit Awards 2014. She also played a proactive and lead role in securing the school’s recent national Leading Aspect Award.

Josie provides differentiated intervention groups tailored to their learning styles. Resources are adapted and lots of motivation and praise is given. Children enjoy their interventions as their work is celebrated and strategies discussed with parents, class teachers and the Senior Management Team. She gives additional support for disadvantaged pupils and their overall progress has increased so now children are working towards more challenging targets.

Josie shows complete dedication and works with the NHS, ASDA Walmart and a local horticultural business to continue embedding health and wellbeing across the whole school to meet the school’s priorities and to improve outcomes.

As a role model, Josie shows commitment, dedication and integrity. She is always willing to help others and goes the extra mile over and above her role. Josie provides PPA and short term cover across KS1 and adult learners seek her advice to develop their own learning and skills. In summary, ‘Her enthusiasm and dedication in making a difference for the children is quite simply outstanding!’.

North East Regional Winner

Marion Fearon from The Beacon Centre, South Shields

Marion has worked for the Alternative Education Service for over 15 years, predominantly with students between the ages of 11 and 16 who are at risk of or who have been permanently excluded from school. Her colleagues say that she works tirelessly for the benefit of the young people, helping them overcome the difficulties they face and developing their confidence and self-esteem. She teaches small groups and whole classes across a range of subjects and takes a lead role in delivering emotional resilience.

She runs the counselling and mentoring service for students allowing teaching staff to focus on educational progress. She leads and manages a team of teaching assistants. In fact, her school describe her a true leader who has excellent relations with her colleagues and who epitomises hard work and dedication. She ensures all students have a voice, as shown by her input into the school council.
Marion has continued to develop her own knowledge and skills by completing a counselling qualification which has now led to a degree in counselling at Sunderland University. This has enabled her to train other staff at the school.

Beyond school, she also offers her skills voluntarily to help adults within the community, working with a team to keep young people safe in the town centre at night.

London Regional Winner (Babcock 4S)

Michaela Mason from St Andrew’s and St Mark’s CE Junior School (SASM)

Michaela has been a central figure in the life of SASM school. During her time she has filled many roles including, Chair of the PTA, Fire and Safety Officer as well as being an inspiring HLTA. Single-handedly she leads interventions for less able pupils, securing the progress of pupils who need her special support and challenge the most.

In addition her impact on academic achievement, Michaela works with pupils to improve their levels of motivation and self-esteem. Every class teacher who has worked with Michaela has seen an visible impact as a result of her support. For example, Michaela has spent her own time after work teaching a child who did not understand multiplication. As a result, the pupil moved from thinking that maths was impossible to finding it achievable. It is this level of skill and dedication that makes Michaela stand out as an exceptional HLTA. 

Michaela always ensures she has the subject knowledge to support the class teacher to the utmost degree. Without prompting, Michaela will be assessing pupil progress; supporting SEN children and challenging the more able in the course of every lesson. As a GCSE tutor outside of school, She is able to bring a high level of knowledge in relation to maths and literacy and fully appreciates what pupils need in order to succeed.

In her wider professional role Michaela is the school’s health and safety officer, monitoring and advising on all fire procedures and running health and safety training for all new recruits. She has volunteered for two hours a week as a Cygnet/Barnardo’s facilitator to support parents whose children are on the autistic disorder spectrum – giving parents’ strategies that are used in a school setting.

North West Regional Winner

Sharon Farrell from Willow Tree Primary School, St Helens

Sharon has worked at Willow Tree Primary School for over twenty years. As a member of the middle leadership team she leads the ‘Making a Difference Team’ and coordinates the Read Write Inc programme, which is having a huge impact on pupil progress.

She arranges and delivers interventions throughout school, tracks pupil progress and monitors the impact. She attends all pupil progress meetings. She is herself a qualified Better Reading partner. She has a particular interest in SEN but has also supported groups of able pupils. Her role has involved her in liaising with outside agencies. She teaches classes throughout the school. 

Sharon has been instrumental in developing the breakfast club, which has had a major impact on whole school life, on attendance and on parental contact. I believe staff also make use of the breakfast provision. She has engaged parents who are hard to reach and has arranged parenting classes. In addition she has implemented a new reward based behaviour programme.

She mentors colleagues, especially those new to the school. For instance, she recognised and acted on the need to arrange ipad training for other teaching assistants. The early breakfast club start does not prevent her also running the school netball club. And, on top of all that, she chairs the school’s Friends Association.

Re. HLTA Distance Learning programmes advertised online

Re. HLTA Distance Learning programmes advertised online - Babcock 4S, Best Practice Network, Eastern Leadership Centre, HLTA North of England and the University of Northampton have been the HLTA assessment providers since 2004, initially as part of a national contract, but more recently within the HLTA National Assessment Partnership. The Partnership delivers HLTA assessment through a clear programme of application (supported by the school), a preparation course with follow up assignments that is informed by a Code of Practice, and finally a school based assessment visit where evidence is scrutinised and interviews take place with key members of staff.

We are aware that there is an increasing number of online adverts that offer ‘HLTA.’ It is our collective view that these distance learning HLTA programmes may be valid as a form of qualification, but sadly they misrepresent HLTA status, which is a school assessed recognition of an individual’s ability to demonstrate, through their practice, their ability to meet the 33 HLTA standards. There are many worrying aspects of the promotion of online HLTA courses that demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about the status, particularly the suggestion that it has no entry requirements, that an individual’s salary might rise to £25k+ and that candidates can do it without being employed in a school.

These suggestions play on the emotions of vulnerable people and attempt to persuade them to part with money on very dubious, wildly exaggerated claims. We encourage individuals and schools to be wary of such programmes and to fully consider the benefits of gaining HLTA status with the HLTA National Assessment Partnership as the route that best ensures the rigour, consistency and credibility of HLTA status.

Outstanding HLTA of the Year 2014

We are pleased to announce that Azmeena Abdulla from Ashfield Academy, Leicester, is the national winner of the HLTA of the Year award 2014. We congratulate her and all of the nominees for their outstanding practice.

L-R: Dr Lynn Nickerson, Lisa Corbishley, Tracey Robertson, MP Alex Cunningham, Professor Richard Rose, Michael Osei, Kelly McKenzie, Helen Somers - Joce, Sian Lacey, Azmeena Abdulla, Karon Higginbottom

Azmeena travelled to London to receive her award from MP Alex Cunningham and to enjoy a tour of the Houses of Parliament along with the eight other regional winners.

London (Babcock 4S)

Michael Osei from Parkview School, Tottenham

Michael works as an HLTA with mathematics as his specialism. He supports students effectively by differentiating tasks and resources and enables students who have a variety of needs from SEN to EAL to successfully access the curriculum; he runs maths catch up sessions, booster classes, homework club and lunch time surgery which has resulted in enhanced progression from expected levels at GCSE (E to B and from C to A). As a result of Michael’s intervention students grow in confidence and understanding, they become punctual, active and on task. He often meets with the MFL department and supports with translation, engaging EAL students and other adults. Michael line manages other support staff, managing their performance reviews; he has supported LSAs sit their GCSEs and gain grades from C to A*. He continues to improve his own expertise having recently completed the Advanced Teaching of Mathematics conference and, in his own time, a pure mathematics course with the OU.

Senior Staff say that, ‘Michael is highly motivated, enthusiastic and hardworking; his is professionally ambitious, reliable, organised and has excellent communication and interpersonal skills. His flexibility and cordial relationship has gained him trust from all with Shining Star award year after year’.

South East (Babcock4S)

Dr Lynn Nickerson from Didcot Girls’ School, Oxfordshire

Lynn is a talented chemist who supports students working at a range of levels from sixth form to SEN within science; she has high standards for all and finds creative ways to enable all students to access the curriculum. Last year she took on a CREST leadership role and worked with low attaining year 7 students with 18 achieving the Bronze award, raising their profile, enjoyment of science and confidence in their ability to succeed. She also worked with a group of vulnerable SEN students who completed and passed Core Science GCSE, attending additional days in order to complete their exams with her. Her chemistry background means that she is often called upon to share resources and discuss new ideas. Lynn runs science clubs each week with the senior club presenting their work at the Regional Big bang fair in London and at this year’s national fair in Birmingham; she creates links with local science organisations such as Fusion Energy and arranges events for students. She is proactive in furthering her own professional development by attending events such as Crest meetings and working with other school departments to create whole school numeracy guides. She is an active supporter of the School Council and thanks to Lynn the school has their own beehives with honey being harvested and sold by the young Enterprise Group.

Senior Staff say, “Lynn is hugely valued member of staff who makes a huge contribution to the positive ethos of the school. She is modest and an inspiration to the whole school community. Lynn will be rightly remembered by generations of students as someone who inspired them to love science”.

South West (Best Practice Network)

Tracey Robertson from Beaucroft Foundation School, Wimbourne, Dorset

Tracey has very high aspirations for the youngsters in the SEN school where she works as PE Co-ordinator and Extended Schools Co-ordinator as well as representing over 40 support staff as a member of the Senior Leadership Team and acting as a School Governor. Tracey has developed a bespoke PE assessment tool enabling small but significant progress to be evidenced. She organises a vast range of school activities so that everyone can participate including: residential experiences such as Centre Parcs, Eurodisney and tall ships; the year 11 prom including stretch limo; sports activities and inter school competitions alongside day to day teaching of art and PE. Working beyond the curriculum she organises extended servicers such as a holiday club and youth club and took an active lead on organising a recent TA conference.

Senior staff say, “Tracey is a valued, trusted colleague and friend to staff, students and governors; she is an inspiring and valued HLTA who really makes a difference – constantly seeking out new opportunities to engage the children and enable them to show their potential”.

East of England (ELC)

Sian Lacey from Galleywood Infant School Chelmsford, Essex

Sian has a strong partnership with the teaching team by supporting and inspiring learning with a range of individuals and group work as well as preparing and teaching the Barnaby Bear programme; her work with year 2 phonics has meant that all children who were working below expectations in year 1 exceeded the pass mark by the end of year 2. Sian undertakes a significant role within school by leading TA weekly meetings, mentoring new TAs, taking on the lead of geography subject leader, co-ordinating Achievement for All across 3 schools along with choreographing the dance for school productions.

Colleagues say that, ‘ Sian is always looking for the next challenge and undertakes training with a very positive, open outlook, contributing views and not shying away from more challenging discussions’.

East Midlands (University of Northampton)

Azmeena Abdulla from Ash Field Academy, Leicester

Azmeena is a Creative Curriculum Assistant at a special school for pupils from 4 to 19. She works from a pedagogy of hope and high expectations, celebrating abilities rather than disabilities. All observed lessons have been rated as good or outstanding and she features in the school’s good practice training video demonstrating a multisensory approach to learning. Training in Arts Awards and ipads has enhanced the school’s creative curriculum. A few examples of her skills include: She has co-led a 6 day iPad orchestra project for 13 pupils which was performed to a large audience; when working on a performance at the Richard Attenborough Centre she ensure that the Sound beam settings for a pupil with complex needs were correct throughout the performance enabling him to use his legs to play while continuing to video the performance; she has created half termly ‘wake and shake’ dance routines for the school– a real challenge considering the pupils’ needs and also has developed a relationship with Loughborough Design School whereby students from the university worked with school pupils to do a Dragon’s Den type design and pitch which has featured in an international journal.

Senior Staff say that, ‘Azmeena is unflappable; all who work with her from both within the school and the wider agencies comment on her efficiency, ability to lead and take initiative; she is dedicated to the pupils she works with and is a true asset to Ashfield Academy’.

West Midlands (Best Practice Network)

Lisa Corbishley from the Burton Borough School, Telford and Wrekin

Lisa works to support pupils with BSD and as a manager of the school’s nurture provision as well as taking responsibility for transition between primary and secondary provision. She is particularly skilled in developing relationships and planning support for pupils with SEND, acting as an analytical partner and support for the SENCo. Lisa works with some of the most challenging pupils, building self-esteem and renewed engagement through alternative curriculum packages such as allotment work, climbing wall sessions and Lego Build to Express. Evidence of this can be seen through rapid increase in pupils’ reading ages, and enhanced progress from P scales to level 3. Lisa supports class teachers with her excellent knowledge and builds an understanding of behaviours and strategies to succeed. She has provide a classroom environment within Nurture with a soft seating area and fish tank to enable pupils to feel calm and secure. Lisa works to develop her own skills, having completed ILM level 5 Leadership as well as Lego Build to Express training.

Senior staff say, “Lisa is reflective, generous with her support and highly skilled; her organisational skills, experience and tenacity find solutions allied to her continual need to strive forward and make her an indefensible member of the team”.

North East (HLTA North)

Kelly McKenzie from Sandhill View School, Sunderland

Kelly works most effectively to support pupils from difficult and challenging families in the Young Mums Unit. She encourages them to aspire to achieving good qualifications and to go beyond their perceived limits, modelling this practice herself by embarking on a part time degree course and gaining a degree in Working with Young People while working full time and supporting a young family. Kelly has completed training in CoPE and Speakeasy and so enables pupils to gain level 2 qualifications from her delivery of these courses; she has recently been successful in leading the unit to achieve the Positive Relationship Charter Mark. Kelly will often undertake extended activities in order to help pupils through their difficulties such as accompanying them to appointments, dealing with housing and benefit issues and supporting grant applications. Once students have left she follows up on their progress to ensure they have taken up college placements and have not dropped out. Kelly is a great advocate for the students, working with all stake holders to represent their needs and the needs of their babies.

Senior staff say, “Kelly is an outstanding HLTA and an inspiration to students and staff; in all her work she shows great tenacity and empathy while setting a good balance between challenge and support, helping students to develop their own independence”.

North West (HLTA North)

Karon Higginbottom from Anderton Primary School, Chorley

Karon demonstrates very high aspirations for every child and colleague through her work across the school from EYFS to KS2, having a very positive impact on pupils’ learning; for example, 97% of year 2 reading booster group achieved level 2 or above, an increase of 11% since 2012. Karon is responsible for the School Council and the library. She has organised events such as: ‘The Great Anderton Bake Off, Wake and Shake, American Independence Day and talent shows to raise money for charity; World Book Day; whole school themed art projects; centenary celebrations including making costumes and photo displays. She works hard to promote the role of support staff and has supported others in their professional development and introduced a section on the school website providing further information for parents.

Senior Staff say, “Karon is truly outstanding; her friendly but highly professional demeanour allows her to work with all colleagues in school and achieve wonderful outcomes for the children; her many roles and talents enable her to enthuse, motivate and engage all pupils and staff”.

Yorkshire and Humberside (HLTA North)

Helen Somers - Joce from Barwic Parade Community Primary School, Selby

Helen is committed to supporting the progress and learning of every single pupil under her supervision. She has progressed the learning of more able year 6 pupils in mathematics through her carefully planned and delivered intervention work with the number predicted to gain level 5 rising sharply. Helen is the school leader for MFL, being a French speaker, and is leading the school towards achieving the MFL award as well as leading a French café project. She is also very musical and used her own time to research affordable opportunities for every pupil such as: co-ordinated and started the Berwic Parade Band, running an after school club along with the Specialist Music Team and introduction of the school choir, now attended by 50 pupils. She led this choir in fund raising carol signing at Christmas and has organised their attendance at Big Sing in Scarborough. Helen has embraced these roles and taken the opportunity to attend twilight courses as well as voluntarily engaging with advisors and external services to better her practice and improve pupils’ outcomes.

Senior staff say, “Helen is an asset to any school and her ability to enthuse and motivate pupils is exceptional. She is a consistently outstanding practitioner and we are incredibly fortunate to have such a dynamic individual on our staff team”.

Outstanding Change4Life Sports Club delivery

HLTA Josie Wilkinson recently celebrated her school's success at the SGO National Summit Awards 2014 in the category of 'Outstanding Change4Life Sports Club delivery.' Josie gained HLTA status with Best Practice Network and the HLTA National Assessment Partnership, with PE as her area of expertise. Well done to Josie and Featherstone Primary School, Erdington, Birmingham.

http://youtu.be/-UnWGz-IGhk

2014 HLTA of the Year

17 November is confirmed as the date for the presentation and award of the 2014 HLTA of the Year. The 9 regional winners each receive a tour of the Houses of Parliament followed by a presentation lunch where the overall winner will be announced. Each region is currently in the process of selecting their individual winners to be invited to this exciting event. Contact your RPA now if you are interested to nominate an outstanding HLTA to recognise their work and impact.

Teaching Assistants - Parliamentary debate, 18 March

In the Parliamentary debate on 18 March, Alex Cunningham MP, argued that "those teaching our young people and assisting their learning are of the greatest importance to all our lives" and explained that through Early Day Motion 753 he tabled in November, had hoped to have recognised "the immense value teaching assistants bring to classrooms and schools throughout the United Kingdom."

During the debate, a number of MPs spoke of the positive impact of teaching assistants. Although Ofsted does not have an official remit for evaluating teaching assistants, its report for Gorringe Park Primary School was quoted as saying "Teaching assistants are sensitive to pupils’ needs and offer good support and guidance to those who need extra help. Consequently, disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs achieve as well as their classmates and sometimes better”.

The speech can be accessed from the MP's website, http://alexcunninghammp.com/media/pdf/Importance_of_Teaching_Assistants_Speech_(18-03-14).pdf or you can read the full debate here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2014-03-18a.227.0

HLTA Assessments pass 2,000

We are delighted to report that we have now passed a significant milestone, with just over 2,000 HLTAs being assessed by the HLTA National Assessment Partnership since funding stopped. With an estimated 47,000 HLTAs having been externally assessed prior to cessation of funding, we are looking forward to surpassing 50,000 soon. A real achievement for all those involved. Assessment through HNAP remains the ONLY way that individuals can gain the status in EXACTLY the same way as the 45,000+ HLTAs assessed since 2003.

The year of the teaching assistant?

Interesting article in the Guardian covering the current situation that a lot of TAs find themselves in and how to improve their role and function.

Read the full article on the Guardian website.

East Midlands Outstanding HLTA announced

The University of Northampton has announced that Jayne Brierley from Beacon Academy, Loughborough, Leicestershire, has been awarded this year's most outstanding Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) for the East Midlands. Read more on the University of Northampton's website or you can read the article on the Loughborough Echo's website.

Partnership Board welcomes new members

We extend a warm welcome to the following group of Headteachers, School Leaders and HLTAs who join the Partnership Board this term. All were nominated and invited to join the Partnership following a successful track record of supporting the HLTA initiative and HLTA development over a number of years. We very much look forward to working together to ensure the continued success of HLTA.

Steven Connors, Manor Fields Primary School, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts
Michael Brown, Holyhead Secondary School, Birmingham
Terri Attwood, Park Junior School, Kettering
Susan Borsberry, Bishop Barrington School, County Durham
Helen Newton, Ash Field Academy, Leicester
Sally-Anne Phillips, Hayes Park Primary, Hillingdon Borough, London

We are also delighted that Richard Rose will be the Chair of the Board.

Richard is Professor of Inclusive Education and Director of the Centre for Education and Research at the University of Northampton. He has previously held positions as a teacher in four English Local Authorities and as a Local Authority Inspector. Richard has conducted research in the UK and internationally including studies of the provision of classroom support in England, Ireland and Hong Kong which has been published widely in books and academic journals

We know his enthusiasm and expertise will drive our work forward during his term as Chair.

HLTA Provider and Candidate Handbook

Until September 2012, overall responsibility for the HLTA programme in England lay with the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), latterly the Teaching Agency. It was managed on a regional basis with one organisation in each of the nine government office regions appointed to be responsible for the assessment of candidates for HLTA status. These organisations were known, and continue to be known, as Regional Providers of Assessment (RPAs).

From September 2012, these organisations have collaborated to become the HLTA National Assessment Partnership (HNAP) to maintain a quality assured continuation of the programme in each region. The Teaching Agency will continue to maintain contact with the Partnership and oversee the development of the HLTA standards.

This handbook sets out the steps candidates will need to work through in order to gain HLTA status. Whilst the time needed to gain HLTA status will vary for individual candidates, the overall process is the same across the country.

HLTA Code of Practice updated

The HLTA National Assessment Partnership is pleased to launch the new and revised HLTA Code of Practice that underpins our work with schools, local authorities and Providers of Preparation. The Code of Practice ensures consistency, rigour, accountability and clarity. It promotes quality provision across the training, preparation and assessment stages and helps maintain the credibility and value of HLTA by adhering to key principles established nationally since the HLTA initiative began in 2003.