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Education

New teachers, terms and professional standards

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Ambitious for the teaching profession: Kirsty Williams

AS WALES continues its national mission to transform education and raise standards, newly qualified teachers commencing induction from ​September 1 will start using the new professional standards for teaching and leadership.

Developed in partnership with teachers across Wales, the new standards concentrate on the essential elements of every teacher’s work – pedagogy, collaboration, leadership, innovation and career-long professional learning.
The new standards will:

  • Replace 55 standards with five standards and descriptors that allow teachers to use the standards in a way that’s appropriate to their role.
  • Inspire, challenge and support every practitioner, from the trainee teacher to the experienced head teacher to focus on the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to meet the needs of their learners.
  • Better support new entrants to the teaching profession by bringing greater continuity between initial teacher education, induction and continued development throughout a teacher’s career.
  • Acknowledge the need for teachers to work together more effectively to make sure all learners benefit from excellent teaching and learning.
  • Develop the leadership capacity within the education system by supporting all teachers to develop their leadership skills.

The standards will apply to all serving teachers and leaders by September 2018 and initial teacher training programmes from September 2019. This will provide time to build familiarity with the new standards before they become mandatory.

Kirsty Williams said: “We value our professional teaching workforce in Wales, and want to support them to be the best they can be throughout their careers.

“Quite simply, no education system is better than the quality of its teachers. Alongside teachers and parents, I share the ambition for a profession committed to the highest standards, lifelong learning and high aspirations for all pupils.

“These new standards are about making sure teachers develop the right skills throughout their career. They empower all those teaching in our classrooms to work together to raise learner outcomes. This is a key part of a fundamental shift towards a system driven by career-long learning. My vision is to strengthen leadership and make sure that there is greater consistency across our schools.

“I am grateful to all those teachers, leaders, consortia and other partners who have been directly involved in developing these new standards – it is testament to what can be achieved through us working together.”

The Education Workforce Council has developed an enhanced Professional Learning Passport so that teachers can reflect on their practice and map their development against the 5 standards.

Hayden Llewellyn said: “The standards are a welcome addition to the Passport. We encourage teachers to use them in planning their professional learning and development as they progress through their careers.”

The four regional education consortia will ensure that every newly qualified teacher has a mentor to support them in using and evidencing the standards throughout their induction period.

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Education

Apprentices deserve better financial support

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More and better funding: Committee calls for better deal for apprentices

APPRENTICES in Wales should have similar access to financial support as University students.

That’s the main finding from the Assembly’s Economy Infrastructure and Skills Committee, which published its latest report on Apprenticeships in Wales on Thursday​ (Feb 14)​.

Committee Chair, Russell George AM, said: “Parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes needs to be underpinned by parity of support for learners.

“There is a strong moral case for the Welsh Government to apply similar levels of support to apprentices as would be available to their peers in full-time education.”

The Welsh Government has this week launched an advertising campaign to promote a new package of measures for university students which it describes as ​’​the most generous student support package in the UK​’​.

While apprentices receive a wage while they train, they are not eligible for the support available to students, which can make being an apprentice seem less attractive.

The Committee heard that some young people are deterred from entering apprenticeships by the initial costs involved. These can be relatively minor sums of money to travel to interviews, or the first few weeks of work before they get paid.

The Committee’s work found that while there is much that is positive about Apprenticeships in Wales there were a few surprises.

Mr George added: “We were surprised that the number of disabled apprentices in Wales was far below the rate achieved in England.

“We were also concerned that a lack of providers may be preventing young people undertaking apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh.

“There is still a stubborn gender segregation when we talk about apprenticeships. Both the Welsh Government and stakeholders are committed to address this, and are taking steps to do so, but progress has been slow. This issue is not unique to Wales.

“We are recommending annual publication of figures to maintain pressure and ensure that apprenticeships in Wales are available to all.”

The Committee also looked at the role of careers guidance for young people – particularly in schools – to ensure they are being made aware of vocational as well as academic options.

Mr George added: “During the course of our investigation we heard concerns about the way careers advice is delivered in schools. Our additional scrutiny in this area has given us assurance that Careers Wales has a credible plan, and is working closely with the Welsh Government and schools to address these issues. We will keep an eye on whether this proves successful.​”

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Education

Minister visits adult learning initiative

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Eluned Morgan: Inspired by visit to Monkton School

WELSH Language and Lifelong Learning Minister, Eluned Morgan visited Monkton Primary School in Pembrokeshire on Friday, February 9, to hear more about a successful community adult learning initiative run from the school.

Started in September 2012 with support from the Welsh Government, the Launch Project aims to raise adults’ skills standards and education attainment within the community by making learning accessible to everyone.

Both accredited and non-accredited courses and workshops are delivered at the school and other community venues and have been specifically designed to remove barriers so that people in the community can gain the confidence and skills needed to seek employment.

The provision has also been designed to cater for a wide range of learner needs, from basic skills and IT courses to various accredited courses including a foundation degree in Education and Social Inclusion.

During the visit the Minister met with some of the adult learners who have benefitted from the project and heard their personal accounts about how it has helped them to turn their lives around, gain new skills and seize new employment opportunities.

Speaking after the visit, Minister said: “This project is a great example of a community-driven learning initiative that has been designed by the community for the community and I applaud Monkton Primary School for its pivotal role in that.

“The school is clearly committed to lifelong learning and building an ethos of working and learning together, built on mutual respect between adults and children.

“It was also inspiring hearing from those who have benefitted from the project and seeing first hand the positive impact it has had on their lives and their confidence.”

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Education

Extra investment in 21st Century Schools

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Announced £100m extra: Kirsty Williams

£100​M ​is to be invested over the next three years to accelerate the delivery of the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education programme, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams and Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan ​has said.

An extra £75m, has been allocated to the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme to modernise education infrastructure.

In addition, £30m will be released from the programme in future years for immediate investment in capital projects that will contribute to the goal of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. This is a shared priority with Plaid Cymru.

The money will bring the total invested over the life of the programme to almost £3.8bn. The first phase of the programme will finish in 2019 having invested £1.4bn to support the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across Wales. The second phase will see a spend of £2.3bn.

Kirsty Williams said: “Our national mission is to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence. Our 21st Century Schools and Education Programme plays a key part in this and is the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.

“Having a comfortable, modern, fit-for-purpose environment in which to learn is vital to ensuring young people have the best possible education. This extra funding will mean that even more of our students will be able to benefit from having the best possible facilities in their schools and colleges.​”​

Eluned Morgan said: “Reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is a significant challenge and education is key to the success of this ambition. This means we need to invest in new Welsh medium schools and improve and increase the teaching of Welsh in English medium schools. Bringing forward this funding for immediate investment allows us to ensure there is no delay in the work to achieve this target.”

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