Education Secretary Kirsty Williams was presented with a radical new approach to teacher education during a recent visit to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Vice-chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes and Professor Dylan Jones, director of Yr Athrofa (Institute of Education), put forward their ambitious vision to empower teachers and support schools to develop the education workforce.
Professor Jones introduced the three core strands of Yr Athrofa – the Professional Learning Partnership; Centres of Research and Innovation; and the Wales Education Commission – that build on the proud history of teacher education in South West Wales.
The Professional Learning Partnership, built upon a genuine parity of esteem and shared accountability, was founded with a group of 120 schools across Wales and has re-defined how initial teacher education (ITE) and professional learning can be delivered.
The net result will be the development of a new ITE curriculum, with the university and partner schools jointly responsible for the construction and delivery of all training programmes.
It marks a radical departure from more traditional modes of teacher education and follows a clear directive from Ms Williams that Wales’ ITE system needs to change.
Professor Jones said: “The Cabinet Secretary has called for an overhaul of ITE in Wales and we recognise the important role universities, in partnership with schools, have to play in raising standards.
“It is imperative future and existing teachers have the requisite skills and knowledge to deliver wales’ new national curriculum – and improving the quality of education and training available will be crucial.
“Huge potential exists within Wales’ education system and we are committed to playing our part in driving positive change and empowering schools for the benefit of all learners.
“The Professional Learning Partnership has responded positively to the Welsh Government’s blueprint for curriculum reform and ITE, with schools actively engaged in plotting a new and exciting course for both existing and future teachers.”
Chris Parry, headteacher of Lewis School Pengam, in Caerphilly, was invited to share with the Cabinet Secretary his involvement in Yr Athrofa’s work.
Mr Parry is one of the founding members of the Professional Learning Partnership, which involves primary, secondary and special schools in both English and Welsh-medium settings.
Professor Hughes said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and to provide her with an overview of our exciting plans for the future.
“The university is proud of its rich history in teacher education and, through our newly-established Yr Athrofa, looks forward to building a new and exciting legacy.
“We are wholly committed to transforming education and transforming lives – and consider it our national mission to harness the strength that exists within Wales’ education system and beyond for the benefit of all learners.
“The young people of Wales deserve the best education and the teachers of Wales deserve the best support possible. They will be at the forefront of our minds as we move forward onto our next chapter.”