The Welsh Government has launched a campaign to attract more people into teaching through its latest Teach in Wales recruitment campaign.
The digital campaign is targeted at graduates identified as most likely to go into teaching, including existing teaching assistants, people considering a change of career and Welsh-speaking undergraduates studying priority subjects.
Part of a broader government initiative to attract and retain teachers, the Welsh Government is also investing in an online portal for advertising teaching posts in Wales that will save millions of pounds for local authorities and schools each year. The work taken forward by the Education Workforce Council will focus on developing the Discover Teaching website as a place that new and current teachers can find jobs and access support to career-long development.
The Welsh Government has committed to investing in developing an excellent teaching workforce, to support the delivery of the new school curriculum, due to be introduced in schools from 2022. This includes recruitment of new teachers and improving professional development, while working with unions and other partners to address teachers’ workload issues.
New Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses from this September will see greater working between universities and schools, with trainee teachers spending more time in schools. The Open University has been commissioned to develop a new part-time PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate of Education) and employment-based routes into teaching. Both schemes will aim to improve access to teacher training across Wales, including in more remote locations, as well as supporting people with work, caring or other commitments.
The Welsh Government offers financial incentives to attract the best graduates into teaching, with up to £20,000 available to graduates with a first class degree, Masters or PhD to train to teach maths, chemistry, physics, Welsh or computer sciences. Up to £15,000 is available to study to teach modern foreign languages.
£3,000 is available for trainee teachers with a first-class or postgraduate degree to teach other secondary subjects or primary level. A £3,000 supplement is also available for graduates with a first-class degree, Masters or PhD taking their PGCE to teach English, Welsh, mathematics or science at primary level.
The Welsh Government also aims to increase the number of Welsh-medium and Welsh language teachers. Up to £5,000 is available through Iaith Athrawon Yfory for students who go on to teach in Welsh, meaning an eligible ITE student could benefit from a total incentive of £25,000.
From this August, trainee teachers from Wales undertaking Initial Teacher Education can access up to £17,000 in grants and loans, the most generous student finance package in the UK.
The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has been travelling across Wales over the past few weeks, hearing from trainee teachers what attracted them to a career at the front of the classroom.
Kirsty Williams said:
“It’s an exciting time to be a teacher in Wales. We’ve just published the draft of our new curriculum, which has been designed by teachers, allowing them to be creative in the way they deliver their lessons.
“We need more teachers in particular areas, especially in secondary schools and in subjects like maths, science, Welsh, IT and modern foreign languages. In 2019, there are more career options than ever before open to graduates and professionals, so the labour market has become increasingly competitive.
“As Education Minister, I visit schools across Wales and meet teachers every week. We have a diverse workforce and children across Wales benefit day-in and day-out from the commitment of our dedicated teachers.
“There is no identikit model of a teacher and nor should there be. We are looking for people from all backgrounds with the talent and aspiration, ready to join our high-performing workforce, and raise standards for all our pupils.”
“I’d encourage anyone considering a career in teaching to have a look at the opportunities available, to see if you’ve got what it takes to succeed in this hugely rewarding career.”
For further information on becoming a teacher in Wales, visit: https://www.discoverteaching.wales/
From teaching assistant to teacher - Olivia
After completing her degree in English and Fine Art at the University of Wales, Trinity St David, Olivia Davies wasn’t sure what to do next. She knew she wanted to work with children, but wasn’t sure how or where to start. Before training to become a teacher, Olivia worked as a classroom assistant for two years.
“My head teacher spoke to me about my potential and encouraged me to train to become a teacher myself. I could earn a salary whilst I trained in the same school. Plus it would only take a year as I already had a degree.”
“I love the responsibility being a teacher brings! I’m able to take charge of my lessons and plan what I’m going to teach – I can even work with the children to find out what they’d like to learn about too. Having that independence and the ability to think so creatively is one of my favourite things about being a teacher.”
“Teaching is a profession that truly brings people together. Everyone is in the job because they love helping children and working creatively with other people. You get such a range of experience and so many opportunities – no day is the same and there is so much variety you could ever get bored.
“I can’t think of another job where there’s so much good feeling about what you do. It is absolutely do-able – don’t be afraid to make that move up, because you really can do it!”
From office to classroom - Ceri
Born and brought up in Aberystwyth, Ceri John embarked on a wide-ranging career that took in a variety of jobs. But he always had an urge to teach and thanks to the Welsh Government’s incentives and his love of French, he is now fulfilling his calling. Ceri’s subject is Modern Foreign Languages, specialising in French.
“I very much enjoyed the jobs I had, but always felt I really wanted to teach – the big question was how to go about it from a practical perspective. I found that I could do my training while being employed, which meant that I would get a salary, an important factor considering I had a young family at the time.”
“I think I have an advantage in that I teach through the medium of Welsh, so all my students can converse in more than one language. French is just another language to take on board – they take it in their stride.
“I have to say the trips abroad are also great - although a significant responsibility – it’s such a buzz to see your students holding a conversation with a local resident on a street in Paris, or ordering a meal in a restaurant.
“My advice for anyone considering becoming a teacher would be to do your research. There are various incentive out there, so see what works for you. But I can honestly say you will not regret it – it can be such a rewarding career. For me it’s been one the best decisions of my life.”
From student to teacher – Vicky
Vicky Williams is training to be a teacher at Bangor University and hopes she can transfer her passion for biology to students in Wales. Originally from Durham and a member of the traveller community, she is now a confident Welsh speaker and looks forward to standing in front of a classroom of students.
“I came to Bangor originally to study sport, health and physical education. It’s not that usual for members of traveller families to follow an academic career, so I’m probably quite unique in that I’ve come this far, but I just enjoy it so much.”
“After I graduated I wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to do next. I worked for a while as a part time slimming consultant, which definitely gave me greater confidence as I had to stand in front of people and present information and help them. I think that helped me decide to become a teacher, because I really enjoyed using those skills.”
“I went back to university, but this time to do a PGCE course. I’m fortunate to be able to do my training course at Bangor University because I had already fallen in love with the area as a student the first time round, so I knew it’s where I’d want to start my teaching career.”
“I feel strongly that children and young people should have the best experience possible in school, to help them in later life, and I want to transfer my passion for my subject to them - especially other female students. Research shows there is a link between children studying scientific subjects if the mother in the household is scientifically minded, and I have an aspiration to get families involved in science so it becomes more of a natural development for the young people and not such a ‘scary’ subject.”