The professional standards for higher level teaching assistants (HLTA) set out what teaching assistants who are working at a higher level are expected to know and be able to do.

The standards were developed following a wide-ranging consultation with headteachers, teachers, professional bodies, unions, employers and support staff. There are 33 standards, grouped under three main headings.

Professional values and practice

Those awarded HLTA status must demonstrate, through their practice, that they:

  1. have high expectations of children and young people with a commitment to helping them fulfil their potential
  2. establish fair, respectful, trusting, supportive and constructive relationships with children and young people
  3. demonstrate the positive values, attitudes and behaviour they expect from children and young people
  4. communicate effectively and sensitively with children, young people, colleagues, parents and carers
  5. recognise and respect the contribution that parents and carers can make to the development and well-being of children and young people
  6. demonstrate commitment to collaborative and cooperative working with colleagues
  7. improve their own knowledge and practice including responding to advice and feedback.

Professional knowledge and understanding

Those awarded HLTA status must demonstrate, through their practice, that they:

  1. understand the key factors that affect children and young people’s learning and progress
  2. know how to contribute to effective personalised provision by taking practical account of diversity
  3. have sufficient understanding of their area(s) of expertise to support the development, learning and progress of children and young people
  4. have achieved a nationally recognised qualification at level 2 or above in English/literacy and mathematics/numeracy
  5. know how to use ICT to support their professional activities
  6. know how statutory and non-statutory frameworks for the school curriculum relate to the age and ability ranges of the learners they support
  7. understand the objectives, content and intended outcomes for the learning activities in which they are involved
  8. know how to support learners in accessing the curriculum in accordance with the special educational needs (SEN) code of practice and disabilities legislation
  9. know how other frameworks, that support the development and well-being of children and young people, impact upon their practice.

Professional skills

Teaching and learning activities must take place under the direction and supervision of an assigned teacher and in accordance with arrangements made by the headteacher of the school.

Planning and expectations

Those awarded HLTA status must demonstrate, through their practice, that they:

  1. use their area(s) of expertise to contribute to the planning and preparation of learning activities
  2. use their area(s) of expertise to plan their role in learning activities
  3. devise clearly structured activities that interest and motivate learners and advance their learning
  4. plan how they will support the inclusion of the children and young people in the learning activities
  5. contribute to the selection and preparation of resources suitable for children and young people’s interests and abilities.

Monitoring and assessment

Those awarded HLTA status must demonstrate, through their practice, that they:

  1. monitor learners' responses to activities and modify approaches accordingly
  2. monitor learners' progress in order to provide focused support and feedback
  3. support the evaluation of learners' progress using a range of assessment techniques
  4. contribute to maintaining and analysing records of learners’ progress.

Teaching and learning activities

Those awarded HLTA status must demonstrate, through their practice, that they:

  1. use effective strategies to promote positive behaviour
  2. recognise and respond appropriately to situations that challenge equality of opportunity
  3. use their ICT skills to advance learning
  4. advance learning when working with individuals
  5. advance learning when working with small groups
  6. advance learning when working with whole classes without the presence of the assigned teacher
  7. organise and manage learning activities in ways which keep learners safe
  8. direct the work, where relevant, of other adults in supporting learning.