Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
I am grateful to all the individuals and organisations who took the time to respond to our consultation on proposals to amend the Education Workforce Council (EWC) registration requirements. Today I am pleased to publish a summary of those responses.
Putting wellbeing and learners’ rights front and centre of education is a priority and as such this important work will make a difference to the lives of children, young people and vulnerable adults in Wales. Our aim is to strengthen the safeguarding measures in place to protect learners and to provide a route for individuals or organisations to raise concerns and have those concerns investigated independently.
We are also taking action to support the wellbeing of all staff working in our schools and colleges so that everyone in our education community feels valued. The proposals provide parity for those working in similar roles and ensures a level of professionalism across the education community. They also set expected behaviours and provide staff access to a range of training and development tools provided through the EWC.
The proposals support work underway to review and update the current independent schools regulations. They also strengthen the registration requirements for youth workers and youth support workers and those working in the post-16 sector by requiring additional categories from those groups to register with the EWC. The consultation closed on 24 May with over 300 responses received. There was broad support for the introduction of new legislation which will address inconsistencies in the current requirements. Our proposals therefore will proceed largely unchanged. An exception to this is where concerns were raised about the proposal to require paid unqualified youth workers and unqualified youth support workers to register.
A clear definition of youth work is key to providing clarity on who would be required to register in this category and further stakeholder engagement is needed to develop this definition. It is important that we get this right. We will not, therefore, be proceeding with the introduction of registration requirements for unqualified paid youth workers and unqualified youth support workers at this stage. This further work will be undertaken as we take action to deliver upon the Interim Youth Work Board’s recommendation to strengthen the legislative basis for youth work services in Wales.
In addition, publicly funded work-based learning providers who are not funded directly by the Welsh Government to deliver apprenticeship programmes will not be included as a new registrant group. Defining and requiring such a diverse range of practitioners to register would be an impractical administrative burden. Moreover, many people in this group may already be captured through registration in other groups.
We will be engaging further with our stakeholders to explore the issues raised by the consultation responses, and a further consultation on the draft legislation will be published in the autumn term.