Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
I am pleased to announce that I have published a review into “The Proposed Registration of Teachers and Others Who Support Learning in the Independent Sector with the Education Workforce Council” today. The main focus of this review was to set out the views of stakeholders on the question of registration, including any identified strengths and weaknesses.
The Education (Wales) Act 2014 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 12 May 2014. The Act introduces a wider registration system that makes provisions for teachers, FE teachers, and learning support workers in FE and schools to register with a reconfigured body to be known as the Education Workforce Council (the Council).
During the passage of the Act through the National Assembly for Wales there was both written and oral evidence presented to the Children and Young People (CYP) Committee calling for practitioners within independent schools to register with the Council.
However, the registration of staff in independent schools did not form part of the original policy intention. I made clear that a better understanding of the implications of such a decision would be needed, before it would be possible for me to make an informed decision on whether the independent sector should be included in the requirement to register.
I gave a commitment to undertake a review within two years of the Act receiving Royal Assent, on the impact of requiring teachers and those working in the classroom to support learning in the independent schools sector, to be registered.
The Education Act 2002 places a statutory requirement for certain independent schools to be registered with the Welsh Ministers and inspected by Estyn. The independent schools that have to register are those which provide full-time education for 5 or more pupils or which provide education for at least 1 pupil of that age for whom there is an SEN statement. However, there is no requirement for the teaching and learning support staff in those schools to register with the EWC. Independent Schools are considered private businesses or charitable enterprises and the teachers working in such establishments are not required to hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Following the Assembly Elections, it will be for the next Government to consider next steps and a way forward.