latest news & events

2019 Higher Level Teaching Assistant of the Year Announced

Chris Mozo was declared 2019 Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) of the Year at a ceremony in Westminster last week.

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HLTA National Assessment Partnership Survey: April 2019

In December 2018 the HLTA National Assessment Partnership (HNAP) invited members of its Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) networks to contribute to a survey focussing on three particular HLTA Standards. This report provides detail of the responses received and what we as HNAP believe to be the key findings and recommendations to schools from this.

View Survey Results

Information on the apprenticeship levy and HLTA status

Preparation and assessment for HLTA status in association with the HLTA National Assessment Partnership (HNAP) is not eligible for funding using the apprentice levy scheme.

DfE Apprenticeship funding: rules and guidance for employers (July 2018) states: the minimum duration of an apprenticeship is one year unless the framework or standard specification or assessment plan requires it to be longer. For apprenticeship standards, the end-point assessment can only be taken after the minimum duration has been met.

The minimum duration of each apprenticeship is based on the apprentice working 30 hours a week or more, including any off-the-job training they undertake. At least 20% of the apprentice’s paid hours, over the planned duration of the apprenticeship, must be spent on off-the-job training.

Gaining HLTA status with HNAP is a process of preparation for assessment, which includes a school-based assessment visit related to the skills and knowledge that teaching assistants and support staff working at a higher level are already demonstrating and, as such, does not provide a programme of development and training for the equivalent of a day a week for a year. For levy funding to be applicable for training and development the programme and end point assessment must have followed a ‘trailblazer’ pathway and have approval by the government.

View the DfE Apprenticeship funding: rules and guidance for employers (pdf).

New Chair for HNAP

Dr Helen Saddler has been appointed the new Chair of the Higher Level Teaching Assessment 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: University of Northampton, (East Midlands) Strictly Education 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.”

Rebecca is Outstanding HLTA of the Year

Plymouth Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) Rebecca Ward has been awarded the Outstanding HLTA of the Year title for 2017.

Rebecca, who works at Courtlands Special School Academy in Plymouth, was presented with a trophy and framed certificate by Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer at an awards ceremony in Westminster on Monday (20).

Rebecca, centre, pictured with MP Johnny Mercer and the regional HLTA winners.

The Outstanding HLTA award is aimed at teaching assistants who have gained HLTA status and who go above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate the vital role that HLTAs play within schools.

The Outstanding HLTA of the Year Award, now in its fifth year, is organised by the HLTA National Assessment Partnership (HNAP), an organisation made up of the four regional assessment providers that work together to manage and quality assure the assessment of standards for HLTAs across England: University of Northampton, (East Midlands) Strictly Education 4S (London and the South East) and HLTA North (North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber).

Rebecca qualified for the national award by being judged the South West regional winner in the summer. She attended the national ceremony in Westminster with regional winners from across England.

Rebecca was nominated by colleagues who recognised her exceptional teaching and learning skills in the classroom, helping Courtlands pupils overcome their difficulties and regain a love of learning, as well as organising and running the school’s holiday provision and summer fair, and providing respite care for many of the school’s families in her own home, evenings and weekends.

Courtlands headteacher Lee Earnshaw said: “Rebecca’s quality work and unwavering dedication working for the children in Courtlands school has been inspirational to all members of staff, children and parents. Her tireless desire to go the extra mile for the children, and find ways of supporting the families during the holidays as well as in school time is truly outstanding.”

Professor Richard Rose, chairman of HNAP, said: “Rebecca had to meet a range of exacting criteria set by the judging panel, including demonstrating high aspirations for each pupil, a firm belief in pupils' abilities and a strong commitment to pupils' progress, as well as a continuing commitment to her own professional learning and development. This national title is very well deserved.”

National winner

National winner and South West regional winner - Rebecca Ward of Courtlands Special School Academy in Plymouth

Rebecca was nominated by colleagues who recognised her exceptional teaching and learning skills in the classroom, helping Courtlands pupils overcome their difficulties and regain a love of learning, as well as organising and running the school’s holiday provision and summer fair, and providing respite care for many of the school’s families in her own home, evenings and weekends.

The Courtlands headteacher tells us that “Rebecca’s quality work and unwavering dedication working for the children in Courtlands School has been inspirational to all members of staff, children and parents. Her tireless desire to go the extra mile for the children, and find ways of supporting the families during the holidays as well as in school time is truly outstanding. She is well respected and loved by all who work with her, as well as the children and families, and really deserves this award, as an unsung hero. She is far too modest to admit that she is an inspiration to others. Rebecca’s unwavering professionalism and real heart and kindness to all, has undoubtedly helped raise the standing of Courtlands as a leading establishment within the education sector throughout the south west.”

Regional winners

North West - Sylvie Litt-Wilson from St Bega's C of E Primary School in Cumbria

Sylvie’s headteacher says that “it is frequently commented on how Sylvie is 'the glue' that holds the staff together”. Her expertise covers a range of areas of school life and many aspects of the primary curriculum including Science, History, Geography, French and RE. She has a passion for teaching science and there is a huge amount of evidence to show her impact on children’s progress. She has made links with local industry, enabling children to explore careers within the nuclear power industry. Sylvie has also made an outstanding contribution to art within the school, leading the work towards the Artsmark award. She has developed links with the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, liaising with an expert in History and the Arts. Sylvie shows a huge commitment towards helping children with special educational needs and disabilities. Many of her interventions have been extremely successful due to this commitment to children's learning and to tailoring schemes to their individual needs and abilities. Her colleagues say that her pastoral care of children and families is absolutely outstanding and that she is well-known as a 'go to' person within the school community, including for those who have suffered bereavement. They also say that she brings a sense of fun to the classroom and is a role model for the children. The children love her and miss her when she is not in school.

North East - Gemma Moppett from Easington Lane Primary School in Tyne and Wear

Gemma’s colleagues describe her “positivity and magical personality, which, along with her determination to see the best in everyone and every situation, cannot fail to be recognised in the children she teaches”. She is widely acknowledged within the school as a creative and proactive practitioner. Her enthusiasm is contagious and helps to motivate both pupils and colleagues. In this academic year alone, Gemma has played a key part in the successful application for funding to develop a Forest School on site, resulting in achieving Silver Status for the Woodland Trust Award. She has also worked towards the school’s accreditation for the Eco-Schools award. Gemma has attended a variety of training, including giving up part of her Easter holiday to visit Reggio Emilia in Italy to learn about Early Years approaches to teaching mathematics. She has been confident in cascading this training to the rest of the school, not only developing her own practice but also the practice of others. Gemma believes in a student centred approach to learning, understanding that all children have individual beliefs, interests and talents that should all be celebrated. She achieves this in the way she plans, teaches and assesses the children she works with. Her input has greatly accelerated the learning of children in the reception class. Her headteacher says that “she is an invaluable asset” and that “she can make the most miserable day appear the brightest”.

Yorkshire and the Humber - Amanda Russell from Methley Primary School in Leeds

Amanda’s colleagues say “she has a clear passion for her role and always goes the extra mile”. They say that she often spends her own time taking individuals and small groups of children for focused interventions to help them make progress but also to ensure that they develop self-belief and aspirations for the future. She has a particular heart for children identified as disadvantaged or experiencing difficulties at home, and enables them to experience activities they would not normally have the chance to. She strives to develop her own practice through self-reflection and by observing other teachers. Her specialist knowledge in PE encourages full participation for all, even the most reluctant. She has extended these skills to include exercise classes for the staff after school. She also has skills in the PSHE curriculum and her colleagues say that “she instils confidence in both teachers and pupils” in this curriculum area. Her headteacher comments that “you could not wish to meet (or employ) a more dedicated professional”.

East of England - Yvonne Matthews of Kimpton Primary School in Hertfordshire

Yvonne was nominated by teachers Jessica Dunk and Zoe Akers who praised her unwavering commitment to supporting the progress and learning of every single pupil. “Yvonne uses pupil progress data to inform her next steps in learning to maximise the progress that the pupils can make, not only for her own groups of pupils, but for groups working with other teachers and TAs. She celebrates the children’s success by sharing it with children in the moment so that it inspires others, she uses positive praise continually throughout her day and will share children’s successes with adults that are important to the child. Yvonne is someone who really makes a difference to the lives of those she works with. She is an asset to the school, she incorporates a friendly nature with highly professional attitude to the whole school. We are incredibly fortunate to have her on our team.”

South East - Annette Reeve from Sunbury Manor Comprehensive School in Sunbury-on-Thames

Annette works in a context where there are high levels of SEND and significant deprivation. She supports through Y11 maths intervention groups, resolutely engaging and challenging the children to achieve to their highest potential, despite their personal challenges. She has also made an exceptional contribution to the development of Maths Mastery, preparing schemes of work and developing colleagues through INSET sessions in school. Annette is fully involved in wider school life, attending the Y7 residential camp and leading a Y8 Transformational Dance Project to teach maths. Despite her own disability and requirement to use a wheelchair on occasions, Annette does not let this get in the way of her passion to support young people and contribute to school life. Her headteacher states that “she is a truly inspirational individual and she is an outstanding HLTA who provides something quite special to both students and staff”.

London - Bobbie McCabe from Cherry Orchard Primary School in Greenwich

Bobbie was the first HLTA to be awarded the status in the London Borough of Greenwich in 2005. Since then she has been an active ambassador for HLTA in the borough, providing network forums and CPD for HLTAs. Her expertise has been recognised nationally when she was invited to deliver a workshop at a national conference. Bobbie leads and chairs the termly HLTA CPD meetings in school as well as planning the annual HLTA conference for the London Borough of Greenwich. Bobbie line manages two HLTAs and 12 teaching assistants in the school and has a key role in supporting teaching assistants, giving them guidance and support for the Primary Writing Project in school. Her wider contribution to the development of HLTAs is exceptional and her involvement in CPD for support staff in school ensures quality provision is provided by all teaching assistants.

East Midlands - Jane Fenn from Ryhall Church of England Academy in Rutland

Jane is committed to ensuring that the children she works with, regardless of their needs, make good, if not excellent progress. The intervention work she plans and delivers, often going way beyond expected hours, not only relates to class work but extends to meeting individual needs and interests and demonstrates her commitment. The quality of the intervention is paramount to school success. For example, one SEND pupil made +7.9 progress in maths and achieved end of KS2 expectations, way beyond projected expectation. She works closely with year 6 children and those who would normally struggle with their next phase, helping them to leave school with an epic toolkit of strategies for learning and life that Jane equips them with. In her wider role, Jane has taken on the Food for Life project across the school, teaching children the skill of preparing healthy food. Jane represents her colleagues as the support staff governor, making sure their voice is heard and adopting a ‘can-do’ attitude to any problem that arises from display to timetabling. Jane was the only TA or HLTA on a recent KS2 literacy update course and impressed the course leader with her knowledge and skill level. Senior staff say that “Jane’s attitude is infectious and she inspires us all to want great things. Her mind-set and strength of character drives her to be the best she can and she instils this in the children in her care. I cannot think of a more deserving person from 20 years of teaching - I could not be more proud to work with such an admirable colleague”.

Contact your Regional Provider of Assessment for details on how to nominate colleagues for HLTA of the Year 2018

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.&rdrdquo;

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

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 East Regional Winner (Strictly Education 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.

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 (Strictly Education 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 - Strictly Education 4S, 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 some we have seen appear to 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 aspects that give rise to concern about the promotion of online HLTA courses that do not fully reflect 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.

Any such suggestions are either inaccurate or incomplete and should be read with caution.

We encourage individuals and schools 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 (Strictly Education 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 (Strictly Education4S)

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”.

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’.

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 the HLTA National Assessment Partnership, with PE as her area of expertise. Well done to Josie and Featherstone Primary School, Erdington, Birmingham.

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, or you can read the full debate here:

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.