Welsh government ‘calls time’ on initial teacher training system

‘Very disappointing’ provider inspection triggers education minister to overhaul system

October 16, 2015

The Welsh education minister has announced that he is “calling time” on the current system of initial teacher training (ITT) in his country, following a damning inspection of a dual-university teacher training centre.

Huw Lewis’ statement was triggered by the “unsatisfactory” inspection report of the North and Mid Wales Centre for Teacher Education, which he labelled “very disappointing”.

The centre, jointly managed by Aberystwyth and Bangor universities, is one of three ITT centres in Wales and trains both primary and secondary teachers.

The report by Welsh inspectorate Estyn concluded that both the centre’s performance and its prospects for improvement were unsatisfactory and identified areas where it was failing to observe statutory requirements.

Mr Lewis said that the system required drastic overhaul and that he would meet with university heads and other ITT leaders to tell them so.

“The North and Mid Wales Centre for Teacher Education has had some two years since shortcomings were identified to develop and improve its provision,” he said. “However this report shows the necessary improvement has not been made. Frankly, this is not good enough.

“This latest report leaves me in no doubt that more needs to be done to accelerate the process of improvement in ITET [initial teacher education and training] provision across the whole of Wales.

“We need an ITET sector that can act as a key driver in building workforce capacity, particularly as we prepare for the new Curriculum for Wales.

“I am meeting vice-chancellors in November, including those leading on current ITET, and will be clear that I am calling time on the current system of initial teacher education training in Wales and moving to a focused improvement plan, designed and delivered across the education system.”

He added that those involved “must deliver systematic improvements”.

“[This means] more effective collaboration between ITET centres in Wales, more partnership with consortia, local authorities and schools, more learning from the best from elsewhere and more challenge,” he said.

“The landscape of ITET in Wales will be different. For those ITET centres that genuinely want to work with us to improve and provide genuinely sector-leading practice, then the door is open – but if you are not prepared to raise your game, then you will not be part of our future vision for Wales.”

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

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