NewsStudy Visit

UWTSD academics have visited Australia to learn from colleagues and share developments relating to Wales’ education reform journey.

Staff from Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education and Humanities had a paper accepted at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) annual conference – which brings together education experts from across the world.

One of the world’s leading educational research conferences, around 1,000 delegates attended the event in Brisbane.

As part of the conference, Yr Athrofa took part in a symposium entitled ‘Social Justice and National Educational Reform in Wales’, which looked at Wales’ education reform journey, developments in teacher education, and professional learning.

Staff presented alongside Professor John Furlong, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Oxford, and former chairman of the Education Workforce Council (EWC) ITE Accreditation Board.

Professor Furlong shared his 2015 report, ‘Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers’, which triggered major reform of teacher education in Wales, with colleagues at the conference.

Professor Kay Livingston, an expert in educational research based at the University of Glasgow, presented work she has been developing with colleagues at UWTSD to chart the impact of these changes on both school-based and university staff.

Gareth Evans, Director of Education Policy at Yr Athrofa, provided an overview of education policy development in Wales since devolution, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by Wales’ ambitious curriculum reform.

Teacher educators Rachel Wallis, Yr Athrofa’s Maths and Numeracy Lead, and Humanities lecturer Dr Sioned Hughes, discussed their involvement in the innovative CAMAU project, which supports learner progression through their compulsory education.

The delegation then took part in a short study visit to the University of Newcastle, where they were hosted by Laureate Professor Jenny Gore and her team at the university’s influential Teachers and Teaching Research Centre. Both parties took the opportunity to share their ongoing work in supporting teachers’ professional learning and research development.

Gareth Evans, Director of Education Policy at Yr Athrofa said: “We are very grateful to have been given the opportunity to share the ‘Welsh story’ of education reform with colleagues from all corners of the world.

“There was certainly a lot of interest in what we in Wales are doing to reform and develop our education system, and a great deal of optimism that we are heading in the right direction.

“The need for courage, commitment and trust in our educators to do what is right by their learners were recurring themes, albeit issues around funding, capacity and accountability were identified as potential pitfalls.

“It is clear that Wales is not alone in facing a number of challenges with regards to its reform of education, and it is important that we seek to learn from colleagues with shared experiences.

“Wales is only part-way through its journey of reform, and we must draw upon ‘critical friends’ from across the educational landscape to better inform and shape our education system moving forward.

“We would like to thank Professor Gore and her talented team for their warm welcome and generous giving of their time during the busy end of academic year. Our visit to Australia has provided a unique opportunity to forge new professional relationships and extend Wales’ reach to the other side of the world – and we very much look forward to continuing our discussions in the coming months and years.”