Angela Jardine, Chair of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW), opened the event with her keynote address: ‘Identifying the challenges for teacher education in Wales; working together to seek solutions’. In light of Wales’ performance in the PISA 2009 survey, GTCW was asked in late December 2010 to bring forward advice to the Welsh Assembly Government on Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) and Early Career Development by early February 2011. They produced a document setting out what the Council perceives as the issues and problems with the current arrangements for ITET and Early Career Development and made recommendations for improvements in these areas. Angela reminded us that the McKinsey report (2007:13) suggests that ‘the quality of a country’s education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers’ and suggested that robust recruitment to get the ‘right’ people into courses was essential. She went on to speak of the disjuncture between Initial Teacher Education and early career teaching and suggested that a genuine continuum was needed through a teacher’s career. Finally she drew delegates’ attention to the MEP (Masters in Educational Practice) presented as a ministerial decision on 22nd August, 2011 in the following way: ‘The proposed programme will not be delivered in the same way as a conventional Masters but will be highly practical and focus on practical applications in the classroom. The programme will allow NQTs to gain accreditation for day to day practice rather than introducing a highly academic and theoretical approach’. Outcomes of delegates’ debates on these issues can be accessed below in the Groups link.
Download Angela Jardine's PowerPoint
Dr Carl Peters
To lead us into the afternoon session, Dr Carl Peters, Executive Dean, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, University Wales, Newport addressed delegates with his paper ‘A Future for Initial Teaching Education and Training in Wales’. Recruiting the ‘right’ people, recruiting the ‘right’ number, preparing them well for the job and ensuring they remain well prepared for the job are significant but the overriding important things are consistency and working effectively together – all the time. Dr Peters drew on examples from around the world, and found the Donaldson report (2010) from Scotland particularly useful. He stressed that there is a role for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) beyond initial training; in teacher induction and continuing professional development. He also emphasised that the need for a joined-up approach between schools, the Welsh Government and HEIs was crucial. We in teacher education must defend our position and claim our right to be heard. In order to move forward Dr Peters suggested that it is essential that the three teacher education centres in Higher Education in Wales work together to make their voice heard and to grasp all possible opportunities for teacher education in Wales. Some of the ways this can be done are through working towards a Wales-wide set of criteria and standards including literacy and numeracy tests to ensure effective recruitment; ensure stakeholders are aware of the generic benefits of an ITET degree and the transferable skills therein; develop CPD programmes for teacher educators with key partners; work with the Welsh Government to revise the Standards for QTS, Induction etc; use UCET (Universities Council for the Education of Teachers) Cymru as the driver of change and to gain greater consistency of practice without losing Centre individuality. The full list of Carl’s recommendations is available in the PowerPoint download below.
Download Carl Peter's PowerPoint
Delegates were asked to consider the present situation in Wales through a series of questions posed by Angela Jardine and to engage with the future of teacher education in Wales following Carl Peters’ keynote. Download group discussions notes.