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Education

Teacher survey launched

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Carrying out manifesto commitment: Kirsty Williams

Carrying out manifesto commitment: Kirsty Williams

ALL teachers in Wales are being urged to take part in the newly-launched Welsh Government Workforce Survey.

NUT Cymru has said that it is crucial there is as wide a response as possible to the survey in order to ensure that the Welsh Government have a full picture of what it is like to be a classroom teacher in Wales.

The union have campaigned for a survey of this nature to be conducted for some time and welcome the decision by the Cabinet Secretary to introduce it. The survey will look at six key areas, which are:

  • Being a teacher
  • Professional development
  • Performance management
  • Workload
  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Welsh language

David Evans, NUT Cymru Secretary, said: “The NUT has called for a survey of the profession for some time. A workload survey is conducted in England and that has provided the evidence of pressures placed on teachers there. Hopefully this survey will help better inform the Welsh Government on a range of issues impacting on the teaching profession and their ability to deliver the high quality education we all want to see.

“The fact there is a broad remit to the survey will help not only shine a light on existing issues but potentially make planning for the future more targeted. The Cabinet Secretary should be commended for launching this initiative; it is a clear sign of her intent to listen to the views of teachers and to base future policy decisions on the feedback she is receiving from the classroom. The information that comes out of this will be crucial to the way we work in the next few years and so I would urge every practitioner to make their views known by taking part.”

Cabinet Secretary Kirsty Williams said: “I want to work closely with the profession to help teachers be the best they can be, while raising the standing of the profession as a whole. Without enthused, valued and skilled teachers, we can’t offer our learners the educational opportunities they deserve.

“I’m pleased to be carrying out this manifesto commitment as I believe it is essential for us to listen to the profession and gauge their opinion in a number of key areas. This pilot survey will provide a useful source of information for our national mission of education reform. The survey demonstrates the value we place on our education workforce and our commitment to ensuring that they are at the heart of developments on matters which affect them.”

Education Workforce Council Chair Angela Jardine said: “This is the first time that the education workforce in Wales has had the opportunity to have their say on everything that affects them – from workload to performance management.

“It’s a golden opportunity for staff across the country to express their opinion with the intention of influencing future education policy. We will consider the results carefully and hope to publish them in January 2017.”

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Education

Poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live

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Dr Siu-Ting: Specialises in amphibians

​ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERISTY​ scientist Dr Karen Siu-Ting discuss​ed poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live ​last Thursday ​(Sept ​28​).

Dr Siu-Ting is an IRC ELEVATE-MSCA Co-fund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.

Her research into poison arrow frogs feature​d​ as part of ‘Ask a Biologist’​,​ hosted by The Royal Society of Biology.

An evolutionary biologist from Peru,​​ Dr Siu-Ting specialises in amphibians and combines field work in the Amazon rainforest with laboratory and computational analyses to address biological questions.

She is currently working on a project on poison arrow frogs between Aberystwyth University and Dublin City University.

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Education

Apply for six-month traineeship scheme

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Applications open: Join the National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme

​IF YOU’D like to earn as you learn hands-on skills to prepare you for a career in practical conservation or estate management, apply now for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme.

The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, will provide two six-month salaried apprenticeships with the National Park Authority’s Ranger and Warden Teams.

Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden said: “The successful candidates will be learning the skills and experience that are essential to be successful in obtaining employment within a highly competitive sector.

“The main duties of the placement will include practical hands-on work-based experience in conservation and estate management.”

The six month traineeship will see the successful applicants learn a wide variety of skills including traditional hedgelaying and modern conservation methods that are essential to the work of the National Park Authority.

This is an extension to the original three-year project which has helped many of the 15 previous trainees gain employment​.​

The closing date for applications is October 2​4 with interviews to be held on November​ 6​.

Application packs are available from the National Park Authority’s website ​at​www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/jobs or by contacting contact Joanne Morgan by calling 01646 624856 or by emailing joannem@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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Education

Committee concerned at £12.7m error

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ALN Bill: Savings turn into costs

​A £12.7M alteration to the cost of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill has been described as concerning by a National Assembly for Wales committee.

In the original figures submitted alongside the Bill the Welsh Government identified savings of £4.8m over a period of four years if the Bill was passed.

But the estimates were challenged by children’s charity SNAP Cymru which claimed the Welsh Government had misinterpreted figures it had provided concerning disputes and resolution services. The Welsh Government admitted the error and revised the figures from the original saving to a cost of £7.9m – a difference of £12.7m.

The Finance Committee asked the Welsh Government to delay the financial resolution on the Bill, the mechanism by which government gains support to spend the money enacting the law and the government agreed.

“A £12.7m swing from a saving to a cost is very concerning, as it shows a government which doesn’t fully understand the figures it quotes,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.

“It also throws into doubt any future costs connected to Bills which come before this committee as we are left wondering whether the government has done its sums right.

“We are grateful to SNAP Cymru for highlighting the inaccuracies and acknowledge the steps taken by the Minister subsequently, but we will need further reassurance that such errors will not happen again.”

The Bill’s aim is to improve the quality of support available to children with additional learning needs through a person-centred approach which would identify needs early on and make sure the right support, monitoring and evaluation was put in place to help them.

The Finance Committee welcomed the actions taken by the Welsh Government to address the situation. But Members were concerned and surprised that inaccuracies as significant as this were raised and that SNAP Cymru was not consulted on the final figures before they were published.

The Committee acknowledges that revisions have since been made and the Minister’s assurances that the revised figures are robust, however, it is concerned at the need to have made this level of changes to the original costings.

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