Teacher training overhauled

Schools and Universities must work together: Kirsty Williams

NEW RULES for the courses that train teachers in Wales are part of the drive to attract the best talent to the profession, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced.

The Welsh Government has revealed changes for initial teacher education (ITE) that include strengthening how schools and universities work together and increasing the role of research.

The latest accreditation criteria are part of the Welsh Government’s national mission to reform education and include:

• An increased role for schools.

• A clearer role for universities.

• Structured opportunities to link school and university learning.

• A greater emphasis on research.

The changes come after the recently published new professional teaching and leadership standards.

Kirsty Williams said: “I want teaching in Wales to be a first choice profession so that we can attract the very best. For this to happen, we must get our initial teacher education offer right.

“The new accreditation standards are part of our national mission to raise the standards and standing of the profession.

“The teaching profession can only make its proper contribution to raising standards of education in our schools if our initial teacher training offers our future teachers the skills, knowledge and appetite to lead the change required.

“This is about our schools and universities working together, using the best research available, so our teachers have the right skills to deliver our new curriculum for the benefit of all our pupils.”

The Education Secretary also announced that the Education Workforce Council (EWC), through the establishment of the Initial School Teacher Training Committee (the Board) will accredit individual ITE programmes.

She added: “I am delighted to announce that the public appointment process for the Chair, and Deputy Chair, of the EWC ‘Board’ is now open. The establishment of the Board will enable more specific consideration of how ITE programmes will raise the quality of provision – attracting the right people with the right qualifications and an aptitude for teaching, to enter the profession.”

The Education Secretary wants international evidence and best practice to help guide Wales’ education reforms. From today the OECD will be holding an international workshop in Cardiff to help further develop ITE in Wales

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said: “NUT Cymru have largely welcomed both the Donaldson review into the curriculum and the Furlong report on initial teacher training.

“We saw both these reports as offering a more child-centred approach to education which valued the importance of the professionalism of the teaching workforce. Naturally to implement the recommendations of these reports it is right that changes are made to the way we train the workforce.

“If we are asking teachers to do things differently, with the skills we want our teachers to develop changing, that needs to be reflected in the initial teacher training programme.

“The changes put forward by the Welsh Government do reflect the need for a greater emphasis on the research capacity of the teaching profession, and to enhance the skills of teachers around curriculum design.

“For too long support in those areas has been limited due to the Welsh Government operating a highly prescriptive approach to the sector. We must make sure that as we make the change to a more innovative way of teaching pupils those entering the profession, and those already working within the sector, are given the right kind of training, excellent pay and conditions and the right level of support.”