UWTSD part of a pioneering New Approach to Initial Teacher Education in Wales


This month sees the launch of new initial teacher education programmes to be accredited by the Education Workforce Council’s (EWC) ITE Accreditation Board.  UWTSD’s Athrofa Professional Learning Partnership is among those who will be delivering this new innovative curriculum. 

Picture of Student teachers on placement at Parkland Primary School in Swansea with class teacher and pupils

Introduced in line with recommendations from Professor John Furlong’s review of ITE in 2015, the programmes take an entirely new approach to teacher education where universities and schools work closely together and share their knowledge. This pioneering approach is intended to raise the quality of provision, and attract candidates with the right skills, qualifications and aptitude to enter a career in teaching. The new programmes have been assessed and evaluated and will continue to be monitored by the Board to ensure they meet the accreditation criteria set by the Welsh Government.

Professor John Furlong, former chairperson for the ITE Accreditation Board and adviser to the Welsh Government and the EWC, said: “The new approach is needed because education in Wales is changing fundamentally. The curriculum, assessment, management and leadership and professional development will all look very different in a few years’ time.

Taken together, the changes indicate a very different idea of what it will mean to be a teacher in Wales in the future where teachers don’t just have to understand the ‘what’ of teaching and learning, they also have to understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.”

Elaine Sharpling, director of ITE at the APLP, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), said: “Our new curriculum is innovative and forward-thinking and the APLP’s new suite of teacher education programmes have been designed with Wales’ ambitious reform agenda firmly in mind.

Under the new approach to ITE in Wales, schools and universities are jointly responsible for supporting student-teachers to become reflective, enquiring and research-engaged practitioners who are ready to inspire future generations of learners.

“In short, our new national curriculum will require a new type of teacher and we are delighted to have been able to play our part in the transformation of ITE for the benefit of all in Welsh education.”

She added: “The accreditation process was both rigorous and challenging, and we welcomed the opportunity to discuss with members of the ITE Accreditation Board new ways of working to meet the needs of our evolving education system.

“A huge amount of time and energy was expended by colleagues in preparing our new ITE offer – and the spirit in which this hugely important work was undertaken reflects the power of partnerships in education. We are very proud of what we have created together with schools and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Yr Athrofa: Professional Learning Partnership (APLP) is a collaboration between the University and a network of more than 100 schools.  In creating Yr Athrofa the University’s intention was to lead transformational change and support a self-improving education system, in accordance with the Welsh Government’s policies relating to teacher education, curriculum reform and school improvement. 

Professor Dylan Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of UWTSD’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education and Humanities, worked in schools for almost 30 years including almost two decades as a headteacher prior to joining the university.

He 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 creating.

“Our new curriculum is innovative and forward-thinking and the APLP’s new suite of teacher education programmes have been designed with Wales’ ambitious reform agenda firmly in mind.

For more information on becoming a teacher, visit www.uwtsd.ac.uk/teacher-education/


Caption: PGCE students Stacey Williams, Laura Evans, Ayse Gunduz and Robert Booth pictured on placement at one of UWTSD’s lead partner schools, Parkland Primary, with teacher Catrin Parton and pupils.