Headlines: March 27th, 2007



England’s 15,000th Higher Level Teaching Assistant has started work this week. Nazish Mohammed has joined the staff at Heald Place School in Manchester to reach the milestone. The assistants are members of support staff in schools whose skills have been developed to meet a level set in national professional standards by the Training and Development Agency for Schools – formerly the Teacher Training Agency.

The HLTA standards were published in September 2003 and Nazish is the latest person to meet them. “It has been very rewarding to gain HLTA status and to know that I am making a positive impact on Heald Place pupils’ learning and development,” she said. Her responsibilities will include taking classes under supervision by a teacher, and giving one-to-one support to children, with the focus on numeracy and literacy. She will also work with groups of students within a class who have English as a second language.

The head teacher at Heald Place, Ranju Martin, said the Higher Level Assistants were providing an important link between teachers and pupils in the classroom. As well as working with teachers, they gave extra support to individual children, leaving teachers with more time to teach.

Jill Staley from the Training and Development Agency was delighted that the 15,000 mark had been reached and with the number of school leaders who were now advocates in enabling support staff to develop themselves. The news was also welcomed by the Schools Minister, Jim Knight who said the assistants provided a skilled resource for the classroom and consistency to the school.