Country information for UK (Wales) - Teacher education for inclusive education

Practitioner development

The Welsh Government is committed to improving the quality of professional practice by:

  • developing and promoting a model for career-long, workforce-wide professional learning;
  • supporting legislation and implementation of effective performance management systems for practitioners;
  • reviewing and embedding professional standards.

The Welsh Government is responsible for ensuring that the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) framework produces newly qualified teachers with the appropriate qualities, qualifications and skills. A comprehensive programme of reforms to Wales’ ITE system changed the statutory framework to ensure ITE:

  • is professionally appropriate, more reflective and responsive in order to meet the needs of schools and learners in Wales;
  • produces well-equipped, well-qualified practitioners to teach effectively in Welsh schools.

To teach in a maintained school in Wales, a trainee must gain Qualified Teacher Status by meeting the statutory professional standards for teaching and leadership. The standards concentrate on five essential elements of every teacher’s work:

  • Pedagogy
  • Leadership
  • Professional learning
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration.

Specific standards require trainee teachers to be aware of their responsibilities, the legislative requirements and guidance relating to additional learning needs (ALN) and disability, and the rationale for including those with ALN in mainstream education.

The professional standards are accompanied by overarching values and dispositions that include the rights of learners.

National Approach to Professional Learning

The National Approach to Professional Learning provides all practitioners in Wales with a coherent, flexible and robust model that sets out the most effective approaches to professional learning. These have been proven to positively impact upon classroom practice and are informed by the latest academic research.

The approach is based on several principles:

  • effective professional learning for all practitioners is supported by:
    • effective use of data and research evidence;
    • reflective practice;
    • coaching and mentoring;
    • effective collaboration;
  • professional learning is an integral part of school improvement;
  • all practitioners should benefit from high-quality professional learning experiences throughout their career, including in ITE provision;
  • all professional learning activity will reflect performance management objectives and the relevant professional standards, set in the context of the priorities and targets identified in the school development plan.

As part of the National Approach to Professional Learning and to support the development of the new school curriculum, the Welsh Government is working with regional consortia and higher education institution (HEI) partners to develop a national programme of teacher professional enquiry. This programme is supporting a growing network of schools to develop a range of enquiry skills by exploring professional learning requirements for the new curriculum in their own settings. A number of enquiries are focused on different aspects of inclusion, e.g. additional learning needs, vulnerable learners, learners who are eligible for free school meals, health and well-being. Further details are available on Hwb

Alongside the professional learning offer for all teachers, the Welsh Government is developing a specific ALN professional learning offer for ALN Co-ordinators and other interested teachers and lecturers. This offer will equip staff with the skills they need to ensure their organisations take a person-centred approach which supports the needs of every learner, as envisaged by the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018.

Education Workforce Council

The Education Workforce Council (EWC) is the independent regulator for the education workforce in Wales. It covers teachers and learning support staff in school and further education settings, qualified youth/youth support workers and work-based learning practitioners.

Under the Education (Wales) Act 2014, the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) was reconfigured and renamed to become the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The EWC came into being on 1 April 2015.

The EWC aims to:

  • contribute to improving teaching standards and the quality of learning in Wales;
  • maintain and improve standards of professional conduct among teachers and others in the education workforce who support teaching and learning;
  • maintain public trust and confidence, and safeguard the interests of learners, parents and the general public.

School development plans

The Welsh Government is currently developing a new framework for evaluation, improvement and accountability, and accompanying school improvement guidance.

A key principle of the new framework is that school self-evaluation and improvement priorities should be the starting point for work with local authorities and regional consortia. School performance will be considered in its widest sense, with schools evaluated in their own context. Evaluations will use a wide range of evidence and information, covering the breadth of school activity – including learner progress, professional learning and the well-being of learners and practitioners– supported by bespoke improvement planning and support.

The self-evaluation processes should identify strengths and priorities for improvement, which are drawn together in a single, strategic school development plan.

Schools should decide which aspects of their operations to evaluate in detail. Areas which should be considered include workforce capacity, professional learning and capability.

Building on their own self-evaluations and development plans, schools will work with local authorities and regional consortia to agree the additional support they need to improve.


Last updated 03/05/2021

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