Teaching training reforms 'critical' in Wales - review

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Media captionCaroline Newman of the National Association of Head Teachers Cymru says trainees need more classroom experience

Teacher training is at a "critical turning point" and needs to be changed, according to a major independent review for the Welsh government.

Prof John Furlong said the quality of the system had "deteriorated" since he last looked at it nearly 10 years ago.

It follows hot on the heels of proposals for a radical overhaul of how and what children are taught.

Education Minister Huw Lewis said the case for change was "compelling" if teachers are to meet future challenges.

Prof Furlong, appointed by Mr Lewis last year as an adviser on initial teacher education and training, was asked to look closely at the system and he has now set out nine recommendations in a 40-page report.

The Oxford University academic and former comprehensive school teacher said the case for change was "undeniable".

This year, 2,700 teachers are being trained at three centres involving five universities in Wales.


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Media captionProf John Furlong says teacher training has not improved since his last review

Among Prof Furlong's findings are:

  • The curriculum review by Prof Graham Donaldson has "raised the bar" for teachers and they will have significantly more responsibility and need to understand the "why" and the "how" of teaching as well as the "what"
  • There is a "vacuum" in leadership in the sector, lack of communication and confused messages
  • Recommends extending the BA Education degree to four years with half the time spent in a school department specialising in the student's main subject, which would "contribute significantly" to raising the quality of primary school teachers
  • The system is falling well short of best practice in other parts of the UK and internationally
  • There is a "substantial underinvestment and support" for staffing by universities in their education departments and faculties
  • Source: Teaching Tomorrow's Teachers
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Media captionHuw Lewis says Wales needs to 'raise the bar' on teacher training

Prof Furlong said he had been in contact with Prof Donaldson in drawing up his findings.

"It is my view that if the Welsh government, national agencies, schools and higher education work together on this, we can soon build a teacher education and training of which we can be proud," he said.

Mr Lewis said he would be considering the options in detail, adding: "In principle I would disagree with nothing contained in Prof Furlong's report".

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