Higher Grade Requirements Planned for Student Teachers; THEY'LL NEED BETTER RESULTS IN ENGLISH AND MATHS EXAMS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Higher Grade Requirements Planned for Student Teachers; THEY'LL NEED BETTER RESULTS IN ENGLISH AND MATHS EXAMS


Byline: GARETH EVANS

PLANS to increase the entry requirements for student teachers in Wales have been unveiled in a bid to raise school standards.

The Welsh Government is consulting on proposals to make initial teacher training (ITT) more demanding to those entering the profession.

It wants to raise the existing entry standard - a GCSE-equivalent in English and maths - from grade C to grade B. It also plans to introduce a new skills benchmark, with prospective ITT students assessed in literacy and numeracy.

Tests will be carried out before and after admission onto the course, with a mandatory requirement on providers to ensure all students are proficient in the teaching of key skills.

The changes are designed to raise standards of teaching and complement the overarching National Literacy Programme (NLP), launched yesterday by Education Minister Leighton Andrews.

Against the backdrop of a series of damaging reports into standards, the Welsh Government is concerned literacy has not been given the priority it should. Officials believe some teachers lack necessary skills and are concerned that not all teachers are aware of their responsibility to literacy.

Mr Andrews said: "Improving the standard of literacy and numeracy in Wales is at the heart of my school improvement agenda. Ensuring all teachers have strong literacy and numeracy skills is central to this."

As well as ITT, newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) will be given the opportunity to undertake a specific literacy module as part of the new masters in educational practice.

Mr Andrews, who announced changes to ITT in his 20-point school improvement plan, believes there is an over-supply of teachers in Wales and induction is variable in terms of quality.

A study commissioned by the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) last year found six in 10 NQTs out of work. By contrast, in 2003, nearly seven out of 10 (66%) NQTs had secured jobs after graduating from ITT institutions.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of education union ATL Cymru, said Wales continues to produce more teachers than is needed.

"It's not fair on those that can't get posts at the end of their studies - and it's also a waste of valuable resources that we should be spending in other ways," he said. …

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