For many years I have had the pleasure of working in the Science Department at Bishop Barrington School in Bishop Auckland, County Durham but in 2012 I was also invited to take on another role – representing HLTAs from Primary, Secondary and Colleges across the North of England on the HNAP (HLTA National Assessment Partnership) Board.

HNAP was created in response to the withdrawal of Government funding for the assessment of HLTAs. The assessment process is now delivered, assessed and monitored by the Regional Assessment Providers and the National Board monitors the assessment process, ensuring uniformity and maintenance of high standards across all five regional providers, as well as being the awarding body for the status. At the inaugural meeting I was voted Deputy Chair, a position I am very proud to hold.

My role on the Board is to report and comment on proposals in the agenda. A significant proposal and development has been the introduction of Level 2 tests in Maths and English that enable aspiring HLTAs to access HLTA preparation and achieve the status if, for whatever reason, they do not have evidence of their qualifications.

In 2013 and 2014, I was involved with The National Outstanding HLTA Award, a celebration event to recognise the achievements of the nine regional HLTAs of the Year and present an award to the person chosen as National Outstanding HLTA of the Year.

On a personal level I have been able to give an insight into what is happening in schools, such as procedures for quality assurance, performance management  and how the current OFSTED criteria is used to assess learning support staff. This has promoted a great deal of discussion at the board about processes nationally and how support staff are observed alongside teaching staff to ensure that high standards of practice are maintained by HLTAs.

Being involved with HNAP reassures me that the HLTA assessment process is as stringent now as it has always been and that the Regional Providers continue to strive for the recognition and rewards for the skills and knowledge of aspiring HLTAs. As a member of the Board I work alongside dedicated professionals from a range of disciplines and have had great opportunities to meet HLTAs from all parts of the country.