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Report title

'Initial teacher education in the post-compulsory education and training sectors'

Report details

This rapid response underpins the work of the Welsh Government Post-16 Workforce Development Steering Group and builds on the scoping study on post-16 professional learning carried out for Welsh Government in 2019. 

The review had five objectives:

  1. Establish the number, mode of study and occupational background of learners on PCET PgCE/PCE programmes at HEI and franchised FEIs in Wales
  2. Identify course leaders’ perceptions of the quality of course content, strength and areas for improvement in delivery, and current challenges for their own provision and the sector as a whole.
  3. Identify course leaders’ perceptions of curriculum content, fitness for purpose and links to the professional standards
  4. Evaluate the extent to which course leaders benefit from professional networks to support their work
  5. Explore current PgCE/PCE students’ experience of the programme

The advice was commissioned by the Post-16 Workforce Development Branch of the Further Education and Apprenticeships Division and informs the further development of the project.

Summary of main findings

PCET ITE programme course leaders are highly committed to their trainees and programmes and value the importance of both work placements and mentoring. However, much of this is extremely time consuming and based on goodwill.

Overall, there is a lack of consistency across the PCET ITE sector, with few opportunities for leaders and teams to meet, develop pedagogy and share good practice.

There is no national strategic oversight for the sector which leads to a lack of clarity about overall workplace development. 
Importantly, the fact that there is no national approach to professional learning as there is for the compulsory education sector means that trainees do not have the same level of portability as their schools-based peers, and adds to the impression that the PCET sector is somehow ‘lesser’ than the compulsory education sector.

A concern is the low proportion of trainees in training in 2019 who were carrying out any aspect of their teaching experience in Welsh is considerably less than the existing workforce. This is not an encouraging prospect for the aspiration in Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers to expand the provision of post-16 Welsh-medium or bilingual provision. 

The review includes 9 recommendations in total, four for the Welsh Government, which are detailed below; and five for providers:

The five recommendations for providers:

R5 Improve the provision of mentoring for ITE trainees 
R6 Increase the opportunities for trainees to carrying out their teaching experience and complete aspects of their training programme through the medium of Welsh 
R7 Ensure that all trainees have high quality teaching experience placements which allow them opportunities to observe strong teaching practice and develop comprehensive teaching skills 
R8 Ensure that PCET ITE programmes are flexible enough to meet the needs of the full range of trainees 
R9 Ensure that programmes are co-constructed, taking into account the needs of trainees at HEIs and FEIs, and with consultation with PCET employers 

These five recommendations for the sector all relate to the delivery and content of the PCET ITE programmes. Officials will work with HEIs, FEIs, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and others to consider the needs of the sector and to determine the future of the PCET ITE programmes.

Recommendation 1

The Welsh Government should:

  • Undertake a structural review of PCET ITE provision which considers the emerging themes identified in this report and the wider workforce development needs

Welsh Government response:

Subject to budget approval, the Post-16 Workforce Development team intend to take forward this recommendation within the next few months to feed into the development of the Post-16 Professional Development Framework. Further advice will be submitted to the Minister before the end of the calendar year.

Recommendation 2

The Welsh Government should:

  • Ensure that data relating to the number, outcomes and destinations of trainees in PCET ITE programmes is regularly collected and published

Welsh Government response:

Officials will consider how this data can be collected in a more strategic manner to inform future policy development for the sector. Due to the timescales involved it is likely that this work will be taken forward by the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.

Recommendation 3

The Welsh Government should:

  • Broker opportunities for course leaders and delivery staff in both FEIs and HEIs to develop professional learning networks focussed on PCET ITE pedagogy

Welsh Government response:

Officials will speak to colleagues within FEIs, HEIs, Universities Wales and Colleges Wales to consider the most effective method of taking this recommendation forward.

Recommendation 4

The Welsh Government should:

  • Develop incentives to encourage trainees to teach and study through the medium of Welsh

Welsh Government response:

Subject to budget approval, officials intend to review the current FE Incentives Scheme for the PCET ITE programmes to consider the most effective use of the funding; and will be working with Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to determine the most effective and efficient way to address the current issues identified through the review. It is intended that this work will form part of the project work plan for 2022-23 and feed into the Professional Development Framework at the end of the project in 2023. Further advice will be submitted to the Minister within the next few months.

Publication details

Estyn published this review on 18th October 2021.