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Education

Opportunities for students at new Innovation Hub

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screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-11-01-29GLOBAL tech firm Fujitsu has praised the forward-thinking vision of south west Wales as it opened its new Education Innovation Hub at Swansea University’s £450 million Bay Campus.

The technology-focused hub is the latest addition to the university’s School of Management, following hotly on the heels of The Bevan Commission, who moved its base from Cardiff to the Fabian Way campus last month.

A host of guests from across academia, industry, health, education and government gathered at the Bay Campus to see the ribbon cut at the prestigious education hub, which is supported by the Talent Bank Further Education programme.

Talent Bank, which is led by Gower College in a partnership with Institute of Life Science at Swansea University’s Medical School, is a new bespoke education and skills programme specifically designed to support the evolving life and health science sector in South West Wales.

The project is being driven by Gower College’s Beverley Wilson- Smith.

Talent Bank, which is part of the ARCH partnership, also announced the start of its Fujitsu and Intel Young Ambassador Programme at the opening of the hub. Beverley said: “We are delighted that Talent Bank can welcome such high profile companies as Fujitsu and Intel into our work. The opening of the Innovation Hub here at Swansea University is a key milestone for Talent Bank in that their ambassador programme will help us emerge our students in the world of innovation, industry and next generation tech.

“Fujitsu and Intel recognise the rising demand for STEM subject students across all sectors and their pilot industry-led programme is designed for selected students and focuses on digital and emerging technologies and innovation in order to grow local talent and skill supply across the south west Wales region.

“Students across south west Wales will be able to get hands-on, world-class exposure to industry experts from across the UK.

“There are a few remaining places available on the ambassador programme. If you are 14- to 16-years-old and currently in school and interested in technology and computer science, there is still time to be part of this unique opportunity.

“There is a programme of monthly meet-ups hosted at the new Fujitsu Innovation Hub which will support youngsters in their GCSE Computer Science studies and are also an opportunity to showcase emerging technologies and all available career options.”

Talent Bank, which is being delivered through the ARCH partnership, is a full-time education programme for young people aged 16+ wanting to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) A-levels or vocational and technical qualifications.

ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) is a unique partnership between Swansea University, ABMU and the Hywel Dda University Health Board, who have come together to improve the health, wealth and well-being of the people of South West Wales.

ARCH board member and School of Management Dean Professor Marc Clement, who opened the hub this week, said: “As well as creating a healthcare system fit for the 21st century, the ARCH partners are leading the way in ensuring the creation of the next generation of doctors, nurses, healthcare staff, scientists, researchers and innovators. The Talent Bank will provide a dynamic learning experience which will help deliver these goals.

“The School of Management is delighted to welcome such as prestigious partner as Fujitsu to the Bay Campus.

“Relationships such as this between ARCH and Fujitsu and Intel will ensure local students can be immersed in an innovation-rich environment, working with leading industry, health and life science partners.”

Professor Clement, who is Executive Chair for the Institute of Life Science and vice-president of Swansea University, added: “This really is pioneering stuff, and now students will be able to benefit from unprecedented access to the world-leading state-of-the-art resources the Fujitsu Innovation Hub will bring.

“It will also provide them with one of the most advanced technological learning spaces in the region and will inspire and create a new generation of talent for the 21st century.

“The brand power Fujitsu and Intel bring to the table and the opportunities they present for our young learners in South West Wales is invaluable.

“We should not under-estimate the forward thinking of the ARCH ethos and what Talent Bank can help deliver. Talent Bank is a vital part of realising the importance of the life science and health sector in this area.

“Collaboration with such big-name firms as Fujitsu and Intel, along with the two university health boards and the university, will provide Talent Bank learners with a unique and ideal learning environment.”

The Fujitsu programme already supports 10 schools, colleges and universities across the UK, by setting up Innovation Hubs to equip these establishments with high performance solutions and support digital skills development. The initiative aims to enhance teaching and unleash students’ potential by putting technology at the heart of education.

Ash Merchant, Director of Education at Fujitsu, helped open the hub this week. He said: “The Talent Bank is vital to transforming the way students learn.

“A recent survey by Fujitsu revealed that around a fifth of consumers believe digital education should be part of the modern education curriculum, which points towards a real need to see educational establishments focus on an embedded digital journey. Contemporary models such as the Talent Bank will play a crucial role in making this happen – and Fujitsu, supported by our partners, is committed to supporting them in bringing their vision to life.

“We are incredibly excited to further grow our commitment to putting technology at the heart of education by adding Swansea to our 2016 Young Ambassador Programme and opening the Innovation Hub in Swansea University.

“Passion goes a long way; however, passion is sometimes not enough – education needs collaboration and support from the industry to really support the right skills development for young people, to lead to future employment opportunity, and that’s what the Ambassador Programme is all about.”

Fujitsu Director Joe Durran said: “By using technology and harnessing innovation, we can redesign the future of healthcare. ARCH is an exciting vehicle to help deliver this.”

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Education

Becoming a teacher

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Thinking of teaching: Do your research

TO TEACH in a Welsh state school, you must have a degree, and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

All teachers in Wales are also required to register with the Education Workforce Council (EWC).

In Wales, most training programmes are university or college-based, and you have a choice of programmes delivered in English or Welsh. QTS awarded by the Education Workforce Council in Wales is automatically recognised in England.

UCAS Teacher Training is the scheme to use to apply for the main postgraduate routes leading to QTS. If you don’t already hold a degree, you can apply via UCAS Undergraduate for teacher training programmes, to graduate with QTS.

Some more specialised teaching routes – including the Welsh Graduate Teacher Programme and Teach First – are not managed by UCAS and have a different application process. These training options offer different routes to gain QTS, depending on your professional or academic background.

Postgraduate training

University-led PGCE or PGDE

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) training programmes are available for prospective primary and secondary school teachers. You’ll get classroom experience by spending time teaching and being trained in at least two schools, as well as time at the university or college you’ve chosen, working with a group of other students and being taught by university staff.

Typically a one year programme, students must complete a minimum of 120 days in a school, among blocks of study at their chosen training provider. Spaces on popular teacher training programmes fill up quickly. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply early.

Graduate Teacher Programme

For prospective primary and secondary teachers wishing to study for their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in Wales, the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) is an employment-based route into teaching which offers a way to qualify as a teacher while you work. Programmes typically last for one year and require students to pass a newly qualified teaching year.

The GTP is very similar to School Direct (salaried) programmes in England, but is managed and delivered by the three regional teacher training centres in Wales:

  • North and Mid Wales Centre for Teacher Education
  • South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education
  • South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education

There are a limited number of primary and secondary places available on the GTP in Wales each year. Applications are made directly to the regional teacher training centres. For more information, see Discover Teaching in Wales.

Teach First: Leadership Development Programme

This option combines leadership development and teacher training, giving applicants the chance to become an inspirational leader in classrooms that need it the most. It is a two year salaried programme leading to a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) qualification. Following five weeks of intensive training, you’ll continue to learn on the job while you work towards QTS.

Undergraduate training

Bachelor of Education (BEd) degrees

Bachelor of Education (BEd) teacher training programmes are an undergraduate route for those who would like to follow a career in teaching, and graduate with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). BEd programmes typically last three years, and are a popular route for prospective primary school teachers. Some providers do offer secondary-level BEd programmes for specific specialisms.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) are popular with prospective secondary school teachers, and focus on developing specialist subject knowledge required to teach. Not a common route for those wanting to study for primary teacher training programmes, most providers only offer BA and BSc with QTS for secondary teaching.

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE): Introduction to Secondary Teaching

This Wales-only training route is for prospective secondary teachers who may not have any formal academic qualifications, but do have a passion for maths, science, or design technology. This route gives you the chance to earn the credits needed to meet the entry requirements for BSc (Hons) degree programmes, enabling you to work towards QTS in three years.

Funding

Full-time undergraduate and postgraduate Initial ITE courses attract funding in the same way as other undergraduate degree programmes.

This means full-time students will be able to apply for student finance for fees and living costs in the same way as undergraduates on any other higher-education course.

In addition, the Welsh Government offers incentives for top graduates to train to teach in designated subjects, particularly sciences, modern languages, Welsh, and ICT.

Eligible students who are ordinarily resident in Wales and started full-time postgraduate ITE courses in the current academic year could also get a Fee Grant of up to £4,954.

Grants are also available, depending on the subject studied, for eligible ITE students undertaking full-time, pre-service PGCE PCET/FE courses.

Student teachers starting postgraduate secondary ITE courses and training through the medium of Welsh may be able to get the Welsh Medium Improvement Scheme grant. This is aimed at student teachers who need extra support to raise confidence in their ability to teach effectively in Welsh.

Student teachers on some employment-based teacher education courses will be paid a salary by their school. This will be at least equal to the minimum point on the unqualified teacher pay scale, but their school may choose to pay more.

Information on employment-based routes in Wales can be found under the ‘Employment-based routes’ section of the Teacher Education and Training in Wales website at http://bit.ly/1fFu5Ap

Students can also attend School-centred Initial Teacher Training courses in England if they have been designated to receive funding by the Welsh Government.

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Education

Education attainment gap widens

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Poverty: Still affecting children's opportunities

THESE days a huge amount depends on how well a young person does at school in year 11.

Whether they can go on to study A levels or even do an apprenticeship often depends on getting the golden ticket of 5 A*-C GCSEs. Yet the latest 2016/17 GCSE Examination results show that a huge proportion of our young people are not getting to this level, with those who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) doing much worse.

GCSE results

The cohort sitting their GCSE exams last year were the first to take the new versions of GCSE Maths and English. The overall proportions of year 11’s achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs including maths and English/Welsh first language have dropped from 60.3% in 2015/16 to 54.6% in 2016/17. There is also a dramatic drop in students achieving any 5 GCSEs A*-C, from 84% to 67%.

Free School Meals

Many more young people who are eligible for FSM are leaving school without the qualifications they need. The proportion of year 11’s that were eligible for FSM who achieved 5 A*-C GCSEs including maths and English/Welsh language dropped by 7 percentage points since 2015/16, and more worryingly have dropped by 30.3 percentage points for any 5 A*-C GCSEs, compared to 5.8 and 15.4 percentage points for those who were not eligible.

The attainment gap between students eligible for FSM and those not eligible for FSM is nothing new in Wales. There have been numerous statements and educational strategies centred around closing this gap and increasing the achievements of students eligible for FSM. However, as the data shows – the gap between those eligible for FSM and those who are not has increased.

Last year the gap between the two was 32.4 percentage points for 5 A*-C GCSEs including maths and English/Welsh language, compared to 31.2 in 2015/16, and 32.3 percentage points for any 5 A*-C GCSEs, compared to 17.4 the year before.

Reasons for the changes

Maybe students had not adjusted well to the changes to GCSE exams last year; early entry into exams might also have played a role. The Welsh Government advises that comparisons to previous years should not be made due to several changes to performance measures data. However, do these changes explain why the drop in achievement between last year and the year before is larger for those eligible for FSM and why the attainment gap is still not shrinking?

Effect it could have on young people

Many opportunities for young people are reliant on them achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs. Taking A-levels and most further education courses and even some apprenticeships require young people to have those crucial GCSEs. So, what about young people who leave school without those qualifications, which this year has increased?

We are working on a project looking at this, asking that exact question. We know that opportunities are limited and that the lack of them can seriously impact a young person’s life. The lack of good opportunities can increase their chances of earning low wages and in turn, increasing their chances of living in poverty.

The Bevan Foundation’s project is currently ongoing with findings due out early next Spring. To find out more on the better opportunities for young people project, please go to http://bit.ly/2CerDNH

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Education

Awards evening celebrates success

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Award winners: Freya and Stephen (inset)

JUST before Christmas, the educational achievements of Coleg Sir Gâr’s A-level and access students were celebrated with an awards evening.

The Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence was this year awarded to Stephen Hughes who is studying geography at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Stephen studied four A-levels and was part of ACE, the college’s more able and talented programme.

Whilst at college, Stephen also won one of three environmental awards by the Morgan Parry Foundation.

Vanessa Cashmore, head of A-levels said: “Stephen is an exceptional student with high aspirations and a committed approach to his studies.

“We are all incredibly proud of his achievements and never doubted his ability to succeed. It has been a privilege to support Stephen throughout his academic journey at Coleg Sir Gâr and we wish him all the best for his future.”

25 year-old Freya Hutton-Lightfoot won the Principal’s Award for Lifelong Learning.

Specialising in healthcare, Freya is studying an access to higher education course, which is a university entry qualification and preparation programme for university study.

Freya achieved straight distinction grades and achieved 45 full-mark distinction credits as well as achieving 100 per cent in two chemistry exams.

Bethan Norman, lecturer in access at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Freya was a pleasure to have in class, she was always engaged and completed all tasks to a high standard with enthusiasm.

“I was immediately impressed by the high academic level that Freya came into the course with, particularly due to fact that she was home schooled and did not have any GCSEs.

“This demonstrates just how much work she has put in for her to develop into the outstanding academic that she is today and I am sure that she will be successful at university where she is currently studying adult nursing.”

Vanessa Cashmore, head of A-levels and Access at Coleg Sir Gâr, said: “Our annual awards evening is a lovely end to the year where we recognise students for their outstanding effort, academic excellence and lifelong learning.”

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