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Proposals to amend the requirements for registration of the education workforce in Wales
Why are we proposing to amend the requirements for registration of the education workforce in Wales?
In February 2011, the Minister for Education and Skills set out his agenda to raise standards of education in Wales.
To deliver this agenda the Minister wants to ensure that the education workforce works together as a single group of professionals to improve educational standards for the people of Wales.
There are considerable differences between the requirements for professional standards, qualifications, initial training, performance management and continuing professional development across the different sectors of the education workforce. While some of these differences are entirely appropriate, reflecting real differences in sector requirements, others are more artificial, creating barriers to cooperation and mobility among the workforce. It also does not assure the public that all education professionals exhibit similar high standards of professional conduct and competence and so can undermine parity of esteem.
A body registering the education workforce has potential to be a key partner in delivering better coherence. It could support the improvement agenda and could monitor and potentially help to drive up standards, maintaining and enhancing public confidence in the profession. The scope and functions of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) as they are currently constituted are too narrowly focused however to fully achieve this.
What changes are we proposing?
We intend to reconstitute the GTCW or establish a new education registration body for Wales. As a minimum, this body will register school teachers to ensure that only those who are qualified and fit to practice can teach in Wales. We are seeking views on the wider scope and functions of the registration body and propose that:
- the work of the body should be overseen by the profession. This could be achieved through a professional council consisting of persons with expertise in the sectors and functions covered by the body, or a series of sector councils each considering a particular area of the workforce
- the scope of the body should be extended beyond teachers to include the wider education workforce. This would include, as a minimum, school learning support staff, further education lecturers and the work-based learning workforce, and we are considering and seeking views through this consultation whether additional categories of staff should be included. We intend to adopt a phased approach to registering the additional categories of the education workforce so that, over time, a complete picture of the whole workforce can be built up
- the potential functions of the body should be broadened to enable it to play a key role in establishing and monitoring standards within the education workforce. These new functions would be phased in over time as and when the Minister considers that the body is ready to take them on. These functions could include approval of initial teacher training courses, requirements for continuing professional development and setting professional standards
- those registered with the body should be required to pay a registration fee. We propose to avoid a complex fee structure that would be costly to administer but would consider a limited range of differential fee rates where these could be properly justified
- alongside these changes we should also consider the differences in requirements for qualifications, professional standards, performance management and professional development and consider whether greater coherence across these issue could support our drive to improve standards
- we should seek broad powers in the proposed Education Bill to enable these changes to take effect.
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