Raising Standards Together

Information pack

School support staff

Over the years there has been a significant increase in the number of school support staff.


Over the years there has been a significant increase in the number of school support staff.

Because of this the Welsh Government wants to ensure support staff have the appropriate support and training including progression routes.

The role of support staff in Wales has been developed and extended, largely due to the provisions contained within the “Workload Agreement” but also as a result of initiatives to improve provision for early years education.

The development of support staff in new and enhanced roles has been instrumental in securing significant cultural change in the way that the school workforce is deployed and has been a key factor in the drive to raise standards through the provision of high quality teaching.

Whilst the majority of support staff are deployed in the classroom supporting teachers and working directly with learners there are many others deployed in other support roles that schools depend on to ensure that the school runs smoothly and efficiently.

The Welsh Government has developed an action plan that sets out a range of activities from introduction to school, performance management and professional development of support staff.

The action plan includes short, medium and longer term actions which, together we believe provide the foundations to meet the overarching commitment to support staff within schools in Wales. This will assist in building capacity to deliver a highly skilled school workforce for all schools in Wales.

Download Documents

Action plan to promote the role and development of support staff in schools in Wales (File size: 115KB)

Qualifications/Professional standards

In Wales, there are a wide range of support staff.

Some people within that will have specific work related requirements eg catering staff. However, there are some staff working in teaching and learning, where there are no minimum qualifications required to undertake their specific roles.

As a first step we are undertaking a project to consider what should be the content of qualifications for teaching and learning staff working at different levels within the classroom.

This is part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to the development and progression of support staff.

The outcome of this project, including options for the way forward, will be published in 2014.

Download Documents

The future qualification requirements for learning support workers in schools (File size: 300KB)

Related Links

Revised Professional Standards for Education Practitioners in Wales 

Higher level teaching assistant (HLTA)

The HLTA Scheme in Wales is instrumental in identifying those who have the ability to take on roles with increased responsibility for supporting learners.

The scheme has seen over 1800 teaching assistants successfully gaining HLTA status. The scheme works in partnership with local consortia and is undertaken by assessing portfolio of evidence presented by candidates to determine that they meet the HLTA standards.

Details of the scheme can be obtained from the following local consortium:

Professional Standards for Education Practitioners in Wales

The overall purpose of the professional standards is to raise standards of teaching and to improve learner outcomes throughout Wales. HLTA's must be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the Professional Standards.

Related Links

Revised Professional Standards for Education Practitioners in Wales

Induction guidance to school life for support staff

The Welsh Government is producing guidance that will help all support staff understand their role, feel confident in their work and be effective members of the school team.

Everyone who works in a school has a part to play in raising standards and giving pupils a better start in life. Longer-serving support staff will also find it useful as a refresher to bring them up to date with policies and practice.

The guidance will be available on Learning Wales in due course.

Performance Management for support staff

We encourage all schools to include support staff in their performance management policies.

For this reason, we have written guidance to help schools adapt their policies.

We consider it good practice for schools to include support staff in their performance management and to give them equal opportunity to participate in the process.

It is currently not mandatory for support staff to take part in performance management. However, many schools already have arrangements in place for their support staff.

When the opportunity arises the Welsh Government intends to legislate to enable performance management to become mandatory for all school staff.

The guidance will be available on Learning Wales in due course.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for support staff

The Welsh Government has introduced the Practice, Review and Development process as a means of integrating professional/occupational standards, performance management and CPD.

This is a model designed for the whole workforce and should consistently include support staff.

It is important that all support staff are given support to identify where they need to gain additional information in developing their knowledge and skills .As part of our commitment to support staff there are a number of resources that will provide guidance and support to assist in CPD. These include:

  • National support programme for literacy and numeracy competency – the training needs of teaching assistants must be taken into consideration along side teachers as part of the ongoing contract.
  • Learning Wales website provides access to a range of high quality resources materials that are relevant to the CPD of support staff as well as teachers.
  • The Welsh Language Sabbaticals Scheme offers a five week Entry – level course, which provides the necessary skills vocabulary and linguistic skills  to primary practitioners working in English  – medium and bilingual schools. This training is now offered in six locations across Wales and is planned to operate until summer 2014.

We also want to develop a self review tool that will provide you with some guidance and support in areas that you feel you would benefit from.

Please complete the Survey Monkey (external link), your views will help us identify the appropriate resources you would like us to make available.

Related Links

National Support Programme guide for schools 

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