Transforming teaching and learning for the benefit of all in Wales


Imagine a world without the internet, mobile phones, and social media. That is the world in which our national curriculum was created. But education in Wales is changing. A new national curriculum is being developed to better meet the needs of our children and young people. And teachers are leading the way.

Young women sit facing each other around a table.

The opportunity to craft something innovative and world-leading does not come along often.

Now is your chance to join us on that journey.

There has never been a better time to be a teacher in Wales and Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), is ready to support you to achieve your goals.

As Wales’ biggest provider of teacher education, we provide primary and secondary training to hundreds of student-teachers – people of different ages, backgrounds and experience.

Only they all have one thing in common – they all want to be the difference to the pupils in their care; they all want to inspire future generations to reach for the stars.

But we recognise that with a new curriculum, comes new expectations – and a group of committed teachers and school leaders have joined with us in creating a model of teacher education that is forward-thinking, yet rooted in best practice.

The Athrofa: Professional Learning Partnership (APLP) provides the vehicle through which we do this, and brings together the very best of what partner schools and higher education has to offer.

Our suite of transformational programmes have been designed to ready the schools workforce in Wales for an exciting new era.

The APLP has been established to bridge theory and practice, and is built firmly around the four purposes of our new curriculum, that children and young people develop as:

  • Ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • Ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world , ready to be citizens of Wales and the world
  • Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society

Each of these qualities is, in its own right, of paramount importance – but together they shape a generation of inspirational future leaders.

By giving our children and young people the best possible start in life, we will ensure Wales as a nation thrives beyond its relatively small boundaries and makes an even bigger mark on the world stage.

Six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ (AoLEs) have been established to help schools achieve the four purposes, and span the entire age range from 3 to 16.

They promote and underpin continuity and progression, and encourage teachers to work creatively and collaboratively across traditional subject boundaries.

AoLEs, and their supporting draft materials, are available for comment and include:

  • Expressive arts
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Humanities
  • Languages, literacy and communication
  • Mathematics and numeracy
  • Science and technology

Pioneer schools have developed ‘what matters’ statements for each of the AoLEs that set out the most important knowledge and skills to be gained and aim to make what children and young people learn of greatest relevance to the world we live in today.

Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education has been front and centre during this process of evolution.

Our expert teaching and research staff have supported pioneer schools in developing the AoLEs and a framework designed to chart learners’ progression.

Allied to that, Yr Athrofa colleagues are currently working with teachers to identify the professional learning implications arising from the new arrangements, in preparation for first delivery of the curriculum in 2022.

No other Welsh university has had the same level of involvement in the reform process and we are extremely proud of our contributions to date.

Professor Dylan Jones, Dean of Yr Athrofa, said: “It is often said that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

“And it is little wonder, given the significant and lasting impact teachers have on the pupils in their care.

“Teachers are the agents of change and, without them, there is little chance of Wales reaching the heights to which we all aspire.

“The teachers I know are passionate, resilient and reflective and it is these qualities that will enable them to take forward purposefully the new and exciting education system we are in the process of co-constructing.

“But universities also have a significant role to play and it is imperative that future and existing teachers have the requisite skills and knowledge to deliver Wales’ new national curriculum.

“Improving the quality of training available, at all stages of career development, will be crucial and maintaining the status quo is no longer an option.

“That is why our new suite of teacher education programmes have been designed with Wales’ ambitious reform agenda firmly in mind.”

Together, the APLP offers three innovative programmes resulting in Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) – the qualification needed to teach in state schools in Wales and England.

These include:

Postgraduate – PGCE Primary (with QTS)

Postgraduate – PGCE Secondary (with QTS)

Undergraduate – BA Education (with QTS)

A table of young women in the foreground of the photo discuss an image.

In order to give our student-teachers the best possible experience, the APLP is proud to be working with more than 100 partner schools spanning the entire breadth of South Wales.

From Pembrokeshire in the west to Monmouthshire in the east, we provide access to a broad and diverse range of primary, secondary and special schools.

This ensures that student-teachers need not relocate to our new state-of-the-art facilities in Swansea’s waterfront, or our historic Carmarthen campus, with school placements available much closer to home.

The expertise, knowledge and understanding of the staff embedded within these schools is matched only by their passion to transform education, and transform lives.

Russell Dwyer, headteacher of St Thomas Community Primary School in Swansea, said:

“Now is such an exciting time to be involved in education in Wales. Yes, there are many changes taking place and yes, it will take time, effort and commitment to adapt to these changes. However, for the first time, it is the profession which is being asked to shape the future and I have no doubt that the education workforce as a whole are willing to take on the challenge for the benefit of every pupil in Wales; after all, it is why we do what we do every single day. As a teacher you are constantly encouraging, supporting and guiding individuals to be the best they can possibly be. This is why teaching is such a worthwhile profession because the positive impact you can have on the lives of children and indeed the wider school community, should not be underestimated.

“As a school we are proud of our contributions in driving forward change and most notably our role in developing Initial Teacher Education (ITE). In this new world, where partnership between schools and ITE providers must become stronger, we have been at the forefront of such an approach within Yr Athrofa: Professional Learning Partnership (APLP). The strong and effective co-construction of APLP courses, between schools and the university, have resulted in programmes that will provide student-teachers with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills around current pedagogical approaches, real-life contextual issues and professional learning. Such opportunities will not only prepare individuals effectively for their first year of teaching, but will ensure each one becomes a reflective practitioner, with the ability to grow throughout their teaching career.

“It is vital that the public in Wales has confidence in its education system; indeed our children deserve a system that creates such confidence. The current mindset, coupled with a clear commitment to get it right by everyone involved, is what will ensure success and enable public confidence to grow. It has been said that the world is watching Wales right now and its national mission to improve its education system. Let's make sure we keep the world watching and create a system to be proud of. Now is definitely a time to become a teacher.”

Michele Thomas, headteacher of Pembroke Dock Community School in Pembrokeshire, said:

“Teaching is a worthwhile career because you can make a lasting difference in someone's life. You will be developing the scientists, authors, thinkers, engineers, teachers, influencers and leaders of the future! Come and join the profession to inspire and make a difference to pupils' lives!  

 “This is an exciting time for education in Wales and a great time to join the APLP to take up the opportunities of the new curriculum. The programme has been designed in partnership and will equally be delivered by teachers. You will be working within a network of schools, who know you for the duration of the programme and want you to succeed just as well as the pupils!” 

Janet Hayward, head teacher of Cadoxton School said: Personally, I have loved my career as a teacher. Whilst providing me with the privilege of making a difference to the lives of the children, staff and parents I have worked with as a teacher and Head over the years, it has afforded me the opportunity to continue learning myself. 

Working with the APLP means that as a school we can continue to learn, nurture and support the future profession whilst we shape, define and realise our New Curriculum for Wales. We really are experiencing exciting times right now and would whole heartedly recommend teaching as a profession to those who feel it has the potential to excite them in the same way!”

The APLP recognises that an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers, and our new curriculum cannot be delivered without a well-supported, aspirational teaching profession.

That is why we consider it our mission to develop vibrant, enthusiastic and engaged educators who are committed to continuous learning.

Whether you’re thinking of changing career or just starting out, it’s never too late to begin your teacher education and inspire a generation.

Tia Pope, 2018 UWTSD Graduate PGCE Secondary Computing and ICT with QTS said: “I love Swansea! I don’t want to leave! Meeting mates, the placements and real-life school experiences were the best parts. The placements solidified everything learned at University.”

Katie Mae Scorey, 2018 UWTSD Graduate BA Primary Education with QTS said: “Carmarthen campus is so lovely, everyone knows everyone else. It's a real community and you feel safe. Everyone is really helpful. The experiences and placements at three different schools over three years was the best thing about the course. You can see your own confidence building throughout. The tutors support on placements was amazing. 

 Zoe Murphy, 2018 UWTSD Graduate PGCE/PCE in Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) said: “The course was flexible with lots of support and advice for after graduation. The best things were the content and the lecturers, thorough and supportive.”

Morganne Isobel Bendle, 2018 UWTSD Graduate BA Addysg Gynradd gyda SAC said: “I loved going on regular placements because it put learning into context. The best thing about the course was the tutors hands down. I really enjoyed the creative control within open-ended modules where you are able to choose your own projects and interpret findings in your own way.”

So visit our website – and be the difference… Teach!

Five young women and one man sit in a line at a table and look towards something off-screen as if interested. .

Note to Editor

Our student-teachers will benefit from:

  • A total of 24 weeks training in a two school settings
  • 12 weeks university tuition
  • A ‘team around the student-teacher’ that provides pastoral and academic support
  • Bridging theory and practice in both university and school
  • Spending time in an alternative setting
  • Research skill development
  • An immersive ‘elective’ experience in a particular area of practice
  • Access to the very latest curriculum and professional learning developments
  • Our annual Aiming for Excellence conference, involving more than 500 student-teachers, school staff and lecturers


Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07384 467071