The Welsh Government has today launched a new programme to provide opportunities for Welsh-medium primary teachers who wish to teach at secondary school.
The pilot programme aims to increase the number of teachers who can teach in Welsh at secondary level, without having a detrimental effect on teaching capacity in primary schools. There has been an increase in demand for Welsh-medium secondary school teachers in recent years, while data shows there is currently a small surplus of Welsh-medium primary teachers.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many newly qualified Welsh-medium primary teachers are seeking permanent teaching positions, but face barriers to securing a permanent post. Data also indicates that a significant number of trainee primary teachers hold other degrees suitable for secondary teaching.
The programme will provide professional development and additional career options for those teachers.
The programme will be open to all Welsh-speaking primary teachers with Qualified Teacher Status who would consider teaching through the medium of Welsh at secondary school.
The programme will offer participants a salaried teaching placement to train at a secondary school, receiving additional training at secondary level in topics such as classroom management, lesson planning and specialist subject support.
Welsh-medium secondary and bilingual schools will be invited to participate in the programme as host schools.
Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:
“Every week I visit schools across Wales and I often meet newly-qualified primary teachers who are seeking permanent teaching posts. Conversely, I also meet secondary headteachers who’ve sometimes found it difficult to recruit to key positions, especially for Welsh-medium roles.
“This is an example of the innovative approach we are taking to support our teachers’ progression and development, especially in their early careers, while ensuring our schools are equipped to meet the needs of a changing education landscape.
“This is one of a range of measures we’re taking to increase teacher retention and ensure our schools are prepared for the roll out of the new Curriculum from 2022.”
Rhys Locke, a drama teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, who previously taught at primary level, said:
“The transfer from primary to secondary was quite painless with regards to the training. I did a few weeks observation and then slowly started teaching, with constant support from colleagues.
“There were certain challenges, as the leap from foundation phase to secondary teaching was significant. But those challenges have in the long term made me a better teacher. I can now focus on my dedicated subject, Drama, which is what I love.
“If you feel you have a passion for a particular subject and want to really concentrate on that subject and do so through the medium of Welsh, then my advice would be to go for it! You won’t regret it as it’s another valuable experience and one that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”