Wales politics

Teacher training changes to attract 'very best' to Wales

Classroom

Changes to teacher training in Wales will help attract the "very best" talent to Welsh schools, the education secretary has said.

Kirsty Williams said new rules would strengthen links between universities and schools in a bid to drive up standards.

The quality of teaching in Wales had been criticised as the weakest aspect by education watchdog Estyn.

Ms Williams said the move would make teaching a "first choice profession".

The Welsh Government said changes to the initial teacher training (ITE) would build partnerships between schools and universities and increase the role of research.

'Radical move'

Gareth Evans, executive director of education at the University of Wales Trinity St David, said the move would make teachers "active researchers" rather than learning the theory in lecture halls and practising in classrooms in isolation.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme the changes were "not necessarily a knee-jerk response" to Estyn's criticisms, but to get ready for the new curriculum.

The new curriculum proposed by Graham Donaldson should be fully up and running by 2021.

"It is a recognition of the fact that we need new teachers who are research engaged, who are adapt at driving our brand new curriculum," he said.

Mr Evans said the changes would make schools directly accountable for their trainees, and schools could employ full-time trainers in the future.

He added: "You will have teachers who are constantly reflecting on their own practice, who want to get better, who are open to new ideas and innovations, and are research engaged.

"It's a very radical move, but one for the better."

School standards in Wales

  • 72% of primary schools have good or excellent standards

  • 39% of secondary schools have good or excellent standards

  • 48% of secondaries have adequate standards

  • 78% of primaries have good or excellent learning experiences, teaching and care support

  • 67% of secondaries have good or excellent learning experiences, teaching and care support

  • 39% of teaching is "good or better" in 33 secondary schools inspected

Announcing the new rules on Wednesday, the Liberal Democrat AM said in order to attract the very best talent Wales had to get its teacher training offer right.

"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," said Ms Williams.

"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."

A special board of the Education Workforce Council (EWC) will accredit individual programmes.

Last year, Ms Williams's predecessor Huw Lewis announced reforms to teacher training in Wales, including a new two-year postgraduate course and greater subject specialism for primary school teachers.

The largest union representing teachers in Wales has given its reaction to the proposed changes to initial teacher training.

NUT Cymru Secretary David Evans said the union "largely welcomed" the new curriculum.

He added: "We must make sure that as we make the change to a more innovative way of teaching pupils, those entering the profession are given the right kind of training, excellent pay and conditions and the right level of support."

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