Teacher training reform called for in Wales

The need for reforming teacher training in Wales is “undeniable” if the country is to raise standards, a new report has stated

March 9, 2015

The Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers report was written by John Furlong, emeritus professor in the University of Oxford’s department for education, who last year was appointed by Huw Lewis, the Welsh education minister, as the initial teacher education and training adviser for Wales.

In his report, Professor Furlong sets out nine key recommendations which include raising standards for new teachers, strengthening research capacity and establishing a revised accreditation process for initial teacher training (ITT) providers.

Professor Furlong also recommended four-year ITT degrees where 50 per cent of trainees’ time is spent in a school department specialising in their main subject, close monitoring of the impact of the financial incentives designed to attract high quality graduates into the teaching profession, and the idea of Initial Teacher Training institutions being funded through a competitive tender process.

“It is my view that if the Welsh government, national agencies, schools and higher education work together on this, we can soon build a teacher education and training of which we can be proud – and one that can deliver on the high aspirations set out by the Welsh government for its children and young people,” he said.

Mr Lewis said the case for change in teacher training was “compelling”.

“It is clear that if we want to raise standards, we must produce newly qualified, reflective practitioners with the appropriate qualifications, skills and resilience to support the sort of curriculum change recommended by Professor [Graham] Donaldson in his recent report [into curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales],” he said.

“We must now move to consider the reform options and implementation methods in greater detail and this is something that will require full engagement with the teacher training sector.

“We will also work to ensure the sector remains viable while we make what needs to be a smooth transition to a new model of teacher training.”

Simon Thomas, shadow education minister for Plaid Cymru, also welcomed Professor Furlong’s report, saying it was time to “trust teachers and set them free from red tape”.

“Plaid Cymru has long called for investment in teacher training – both initial teacher training and continuous professional development are crucial as teachers are responsible for delivering education policies in the classroom,” he said.

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

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