Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education

First published:
5 March 2019
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In September I welcomed the report ‘Teaching: A Valued Profession’ from the Independent Panel led by Professor Mick Waters which reviewed the existing School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions and made proposals to support our education reforms when Wales assumed the responsibility for this area on 30th September 2018.

I have had the opportunity to consider the proposals in detail and am pleased to be able to update you today on a number of areas which will both support the teaching profession and enable us to achieve Our National Mission.

Firstly, and having reflected on feedback from Headteachers regarding further dedicated time to prepare for the new curriculum, I am consulting on proposals for new National Professional Learning INSET days. I am proposing to amend regulations to allow schools an additional INSET day each year for the next three years, specifically for the purpose of Professional Learning to support the introduction of the new curriculum.

These will be in addition to the existing INSET days and, together with the £24million I previously announced for the National Approach to Professional Learning (NAPL), represents a significant investment in the teaching profession. Working with the profession, we are delivering the support, opportunities and conditions that makes Wales the best country in the UK in which to pursue a teaching career.

Turning to Mick Waters’ report, and building on the discussion that I have had with Headteachers and trade unions, I intend to have further discussions with them on the detail of the recommendations.  This process of co-construction is important as we work together in a positive and practical way.

I am pleased that some of the recommendations featured in Mick Waters’ report are already being taken forward as part of the devolution timetable, or reflect public commitments I have made previously. These include committing to the principle of “no detriment” and maintaining comparable pay scales for teachers and leaders. The report also recommended establishing a Pay Review Body, which I recently announced.

Some of the recommendations which relate to teachers’ pay and conditions may be included in future Independent Welsh Pay Review Body remits and will need to be considered in detail, and over time by the Pay Review Forum and the Review Body. They relate to pay portability; a new longer pay scale and new progression arrangements; TLRs to be set into scales rather than ranges and professional learning; and an increase in Professional Learning days and the longer term approach to INSET days. This is separate to the additional INSET days outlined above which are for the next three years and specifically allocated to support the introduction of the new curriculum. I will be particularly interested in the review body’s ideas and thoughts on how INSET days are currently used and the number required to support effective Professional Learning. 

I will be asking the National Academy of Educational Leadership to consider the recommendations that relate to leadership matters and to establish a working group, to include serving school leaders and unions, to address these as they potentially impact on the management infrastructure in schools. We need to get this right to ensure effective leadership of teaching and learning in our schools, and this continues to be a priority for me, recognising the OECD’s previous comments about the lack of focus on leadership within our system

The recommendations for Welsh Government to consider include those which relate to; performance management, induction, initial teacher education, pedagogy and additional learning needs. Any changes to these areas could potentially require legislative changes, major policy changes or are already under review as part of Our National Mission.  As these are being developed we will continue to work with the trade unions and the profession.

Where these have been developed into more detailed proposals, as they relate to pay and conditions they will fall under the remit of the newly established Independent Welsh Pay Review Body for its consideration.

Finally, with regard to the proposal to ‘Re-Imagine Schooling’ and to establish an independent Commission to report on how that could be achieved, I will make a further announcement in due course.

In progressing the consultation on the additional INSET day and the recommendations in the report ‘Teaching: A Valued Profession’ I want to build on existing and ongoing dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, to ensure we take those forward in a manner which will help raise the status of the profession and contribute to a highly motivated profession.

The ‘Additional National Professional Learning INSET days 2019- 22’ consultation can found on the Welsh Government website: https://beta.gov.wales/additional-national-professional-learning-inset-days-2019-2022