Dr Helen Saddler has been appointed the new Chair of the Higher Level Teaching Assistant National Assessment Partnership (HNAP).
Dr Saddler is an MA senior lecturer at the University of Sunderland's Faculty of Education and Society and her research interests include the process of social inclusion for children identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as the influence of teaching assistants on academic and social outcomes of pupils identified with SEND.
Alongside her teaching and academic research Dr Saddler has worked in central and local government, as a youth policy advisor at the Cabinet Office, and for the Mayor of London's Education and Youth Team at Greater London Authority. She is the founder and director of Inclusive Classrooms, a social enterprise organisation providing training and professional development opportunities for teaching assistants in mainstream primary schools.
HNAP is an organisation made up of the four regional assessment providers that work together to manage and quality assure the assessment of standards for HLTAs participating in training programmes across England. The providers are: Best Practice Network (West Midlands, South West and East), University of Northampton, (East Midlands) Babcock 4S (London and the South East) and HLTA North (North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber).
Dr Saddler said: 'I am delighted to take up the appointment as chair of HNAP, particularly as the role of HLTAs, both in research and practice, is a specific interest of mine. I hope that I will be able to build upon the work of Professor Rose, of whom the network have spoken so highly, in guiding and supporting the network to explore challenges and opportunities associated with the HLTA role. The role of support staff in education is, and has been over recent years, continually debated; my aim in this role will be to champion the skills and expertise of support staff and to identify ways in which we can acknowledge their contribution to the learning process.'