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Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

First published:
15 March 2017
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

I want teaching to be a first choice profession so that we can attract the very best. For this to happen, we must get Wales’ initial teacher education (ITE) offer right
I am pleased to announce today significant progress in our programme of reform including the publication of Criteria for the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes in Wales: Teaching Tomorrows’ Teachers.

The new Accreditation Criteria alongside the new professional teaching and leadership standards reflects shared ambitions and pride for the profession. From initial teacher education, into the classroom and through career-long professional learning, our national approach focusses on ensuring and further developing a high-quality teaching profession.

Criteria for the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes in Wales: Teaching Tomorrows’ Teachers makes clear our expectations – our requirements – for fundamental change.  

1. An increased role for schools;

2. A clearer role for universities;

3. Joint ownership of the ITE programme;

4. Structured opportunities to link school and university learning; and

5. The centrality of research

I am determined that ITE in Wales is strengthened through a truly collaborative system, where universities and schools work in robust partnership, supported by the consortia, recognising the importance of research.

I have been clear that international evidence and best practice will help guide our reforms. The OECD have organised an international workshop, working with us on “Strengthening capacity for evidence-based, research informed pedagogical practice in Wales”. Workshops will be taking place in Cardiff from 15 to 17 March 2017.

It is essential that we build greater capacity for research in teacher education, both at the school level and the training provider level. The OECD have assembled a group of international researchers to assist us to develop a Framework that provides a practical delivery structure around strong evidence based pedagogical principles for ITE programmes.

OECD workshops and an evolving Framework will support ITE Partnerships  to build a vibrant learning community, working co-operatively to support student teachers to develop research knowledge and skills. This is critical in supporting student teachers to become competent, thoughtful, reflective and innovative practitioners who are committed to providing high-quality teaching and learning for all pupils/students.

I believe that empowering the Education Workforce Council (EWC) to accredit individual ITE programmes, through the establishment of the Initial School Teacher Training Committee (“the Board”)  will enable more specific consideration of how the programmes will raise the quality of provision – attracting the right people with the right skills, qualifications and an aptitude for teaching, to enter the profession.

I am delighted to announce the public appointment process for the Chair, and Deputy Chair, of the EWC  ‘Board’  is now open with a deadline for applications of 31 March 2017.

The appointment of a highly credible, high-calibre Chair and two Deputy Chairs to the Board is vital and will ensure that arrangements are in place to facilitate a Quality Assured accreditation process with the necessary rigour and support to ensure that all future ITE programmes are thoroughly and appropriately reviewed.

I am resolute that change can not and must not wait. Whilst new programmes of ITE will be delivered from September 2019, I expect to see substantial progress now. My ITE Expert Forum has provided detailed feedback to Partnerships following their expressions of interest.  Next steps are for: 

• Partnerships to ensure that ITE programmes have gained academic validation before they are submitted to the EWC Board for professional accreditation

• Partnerships to submit their programmes to the EWC Board for accreditation by 1st December 2017

• The EWC Board to establish whether programmes offer relevant professional preparation for teaching ensuring student teachers shall meet the Professional teaching and leadership Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) standards

• The EWC Board to inform Partnerships of their decision in June 2018 and new ITE programmes will be marketed to prospective students from summer 2018

All teachers need to develop the right teaching and assessment skills to enable them to use the new curriculum to support learning and teaching successfully.  Combined with collaboration, innovation and leadership skills we will develop reflective and highly effective teachers and leaders who have a commitment to their own professional growth and that of their colleagues.

Our ITE must offer future teachers the skills, knowledge and appetite to lead the change required; the new criteria published today, the EWC Board, the appointment of the Chair and Deputies and the Framework are the ingredients that will support this realisation.

1It is anticipated that in the future all ITE programmes will be lead by a ‘Partnership’, that is an HEI working in close collaboration with a number of ‘lead partnership schools’.  It is this Partnership that will bring forward ITE programmes for accreditation