How Functional Skills can help you become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

Many Teaching Assistants (TAs) in schools are looking to improve their career prospects and earnings by becoming Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs). More and more schools are looking to employ HLTAs as they realise that there is a wealth of talent and experience that can be used for helping children learn. An HLTA does all the things that regular TAs do but the biggest difference is usually the increased level of responsibility. HLTAs often teach classes on their own, cover planned absences and allow teachers time to plan and mark. Because of this, HLTAs are on a higher Pay scale point and get paid a higher salary than a regular teaching assistant.

How can I become an HLTA?

To become an HLTA you need to have the following in place:

• You should already be a teaching assistant

• The support of your school and of your headteacher

• Funding – the most common source of funding is the local authority (LA). If your LA doesn’t do this then the programme can be self-funded or funded by your school.

• A nationally recognised qualification at Level 2 or above in English and Maths

But I don’t have English and Maths at that level , what can I do?

A Level 2 qualification is the equivalent of a Grade C or above in GCSE. If you don’t have a GCSE at this level – don’t panic!

A really good alternative is a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification which is based on the practical skills needed to be able to use English and Maths in the work place and real life. Learners in employment often find these more useful and understandable than when they were at school.

But I’m a working parent and don’t have the time to go to college each week…

Then why not study at home in your own time and at your own pace? You can do an on-line functional skills course in English, Maths (or both) with Runway Training which means that you do not have to go to a college or learning centre – you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. You can do this at evenings, weekends or any time that you have spare in your busy life.

How does the Functional Skills qualification work?

You can complete an online assessment which will indicate which level you are working at and which areas that you need most help with. Runway Training will then provide you with your own individual learning plan which will focus on those areas where you need support. You can use the on-line resources, video clips and support to work through the topics and even do practice exam questions. When you feel you are ready you can just give us a call and we will arrange a final assessment for you. This can be done at any time to suit you and can be taken at one of our centres or we can even send an invigilator to your home or place of work to save you travelling.

I want to start my HLTA course as soon as possible. How long does it take to get my Functional Skills qualification?

That’s entirely up to you. It depends how much (or how little) time you have each week to study and your initial level. Some of our learners complete the course in about 6 weeks whilst others can take up to a year – it’s up to you how quickly you want to work through the course. Once you take your final assessment you will receive your results within a couple of weeks.

How much does it cost?

This depends on whether you come to our centre for your final assessment or whether we send an invigilator to you. It may be cheaper than you think – prices for a complete course including all the resources, support and exam fees start from just £150. We often have funding available so in some circumstances it might even be possible for us to provide the course free of charge to you. Or how about asking your school to pay for the course as part of their staff training commitment to help you achieve your HLTA qualification?

What do I do now?

Why not visit us at or give us a call at Runway Training on 01732 402 402 to discuss how we can help you achieve the Functional Skills Qualifications you need to help you on your way to becoming an HLTA.

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Runway Apprenticeships Limited trading as Runway Training wishes its learners and commissioners to be confident in the knowledge that we operate a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking, and we are working hard to ensure that these bad practises do not exist anywhere within our organisation or within in our supply chain.
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