1. National guidelines and legislation on research and education

Allan, A. (2012), “Accreditation of providers of initial teacher training in Wales: Revised procedures”, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Cardiff.

This circular announces the revised procedures for the accreditation of initial teacher education providers in Wales, effective from the 2011/12 academic year. It provides the background and rationale for the revision, in light of the establishment of the three centres of teacher education, updating of Quality Teaching Standards, and the introduction of a new common inspection framework by Estyn, whose responsibilities include the inspection of initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales. The circular provides a timetable for implementation and refers to legislation on equity and diversity.


Estyn (2015), “A report on North and Mid Wales Centre for Teacher Education and Training”, Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

The North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Education is one of three centres of initial teacher education and training in Wales. It has been in operation since 2010. Managed jointly by Aberystwyth University and Bangor University, the centre works with partnership schools located in a wide area across Wales to train primary and secondary teachers. This report addresses three main areas: quality of outcomes; quality of provision; and quality of leadership and management. Estyn reported that teacher candidates in the centre have positive attitudes to learning; and the range of partnership schools with which the centre works provide good training opportunities for trainees to teach in a bilingual environment. However, current performance is judged to be unsatisfactory, largely due to the fact that some teacher candidates do not make sufficient progress and do not plan their teaching well enough; many trainees do not develop pupils’ skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT effectively; and many trainees do not develop their skills of critical analysis well enough.


Estyn (2015), “Guidance for the inspection of initial teacher training”, Estyn, Cardiff.

This guidance sets out the way Estyn inspects all providers of initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales for the six-year inspection cycle from 2010. The inspectorate considers each of the three centres of teacher education (CTE) in Wales as one ITT provider. The purposes of inspections are to provide accountability to the users of services and other stakeholders through public reporting on providers; promote improvement in education and training; and inform the development of national policy by the Welsh Government. Where the inspection identifies a concern in relation to standards, quality of education and training or leadership and management, then the inspectorate will conduct follow-up activity with the provider (Annex 6).


Estyn (2014), “A self-assessment manual for initial teacher training providers”, Estyn, Cardiff.

This guidance is designed to support initial teacher education providers’ self-evaluation activities as part of the Estyn six-year inspection process, including annual quality development planning. The guidance describes the process of self-evaluation, improvement planning and the common inspection framework (CIF). It then describes how each CIF standard is evaluated – well-being, learning experiences, teaching, learning environment, leadership, quality, care, support and guidance, partnerships and resource management – presenting the context, points for consideration and useful references.


Estyn (2013), “A report on South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education and Training”, Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

The South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education and Training (SEWCTET) is one of three centres of initial teacher education and training in Wales. It has been in operation since 2009. Managed jointly by the Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales, the centre works with partnership schools located to train primary and secondary teachers. This report addresses three main areas: quality of outcomes; quality of provision; and quality of leadership and management. Estyn reported that generally the centre had made good progress in the sense that most teacher canidates met the standards for Qualified Teacher Status; have sound subject knowledge and produced good quality assignments; and have positive attitudes to learning. Estyn also reported that the provision of programmes had increased participation in initial teacher education programmes and good quality teaching in the undergraduate primary programme. However, a majority of teacher candidates do not use the outcomes of assessment well enough to plan to meet the needs of all students; in many cases, mentors and tutors do not provide enough guidance to teacher candidates about how to help students improve their literacy and numeracy skills; a majority of teacher candidates do not plan well enough to develop students’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) skills across the curriculum; and a minority of mentors are over‑generous in the grades they award trainees’ practice in lessons and performance overall.


Estyn (2012), “A report on South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education”, Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.


The South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education is one of three centres of initial teacher education and training in Wales. It has been in operation since 2011. It comprises teacher education provision at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (TSD) and Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU). Trinity Saint David is the lead institution of the partnership. This report addresses three main areas: quality of outcomes; quality of provision; and quality of leadershp and management. Overall, the undergraduate programme and the post-graduate secondary programmes provide a good balance of planned learning experiences. The curriculum studies and professional studies components of these programmes are well integrated to cover effectively all aspects of the Qualified Teacher Standards. School-based and university-based elements of the programmes generally complement one another well. Senior university leaders have collaborated effectively to meet the national requirement to reduce the duplication of initial teacher training programmes and to deliver courses through the medium of Welsh to meet national and local need. Inspectors also provide an overall judgement on the school’s current performance and on its prospects for improvement.


Welsh Assembly Government (2009), Becoming a Qualified Teacher: Handbook of Guidance, Circular No: 017/2009, Welsh Assembly Government, Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Cardiff.


This handbook provides non-statutory guidance on the Welsh Assembly Government’s Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Standards 2009, which must be met by all trainees who wish to be qualified teachers, and the Requirements for the Provision of ITT Courses, which all courses run by accredited ITT providers offering QTS must meet. The first section of the handbook sets out the scope of each standard and provides examples of evidence relevant to meeting the standard. The standards are organised in three inter-related sections that describe the criteria for the award: S1: Professional values and practice: these standards outline the attitudes and commitment to be expected of anyone qualifying to be a teacher; S2: Knowledge and understanding: these standards require newly qualified teachers to be confident and authoritative in the subjects they teach and to have a clear understanding of how all learners should progress and what teachers should expect them to achieve; and S3: Teaching: these standards relate to skills of planning, monitoring and assessment, and teaching and class management. The second section of the handbook clarifies the requirements for initial teacher training (ITT) courses with regard to 1) trainee entry requirements; 2) training and assessment: 3) management of the ITT partnership: 4) quality assurance.


Welsh Government (2012), Review of Qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales: Final Report and Recommendations, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

In September 2011, the Ministry for Skills launched the Review of Qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales, which set out the vision of “qualifications that are understood and valued and meet the needs of young people and the Welsh economy”. The report includes 42 recommendations to the Welsh Government, all of which draw on the views of stakeholders. It concludes that Wales needs to develop a high-quality, robust and distinctive national qualifications system for 14 to 19-year-olds, and to continue to work closely with policy-makers and regulators elsewhere in the United Kingdom and Europe. However, decisions about qualifications in Wales must be taken in Wales in a strategic way and on the basis of what is best for Welsh learners and the economy.


Welsh Government (2014), Qualified for Life: An Education Improvement Plan for 3 to 19-Year-Olds in Wales, Department for Education and Skills, Cardiff.

The report provides the strategic context and identifies key priorities for improving education for 3 to 19-year-olds in Wales, by setting out four strategic objectives: 1) An excellent professional workforce with strong pedagogy based on an understanding of what works; 2) A curriculum that is engaging and attractive to children and young people and that develops within them an independent ability to apply knowledge and skills; 3) The qualifications young people achieve are nationally and internationally respected and act as a credible passport to their future learning and employment; and 4) leaders of education at every level working together in a self-improving system, providing mutual support and challenges to raise standards in all schools.


Welsh Government (2015), Qualified for Life: A Curriculum for Wales – A Curriculum for Life, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This document sets out the plan for taking forward the recommendations within Professor Donaldson’s Successful Futures report. It describes the eight essential building blocks for our new curriculum for 3 to 16-year-olds: 1) embedding the four purposes of the curriculum fully in the learning and experience of all children and young people in Wales; 2) creating a new curriculum encompassing the six Areas of Learning and Experience, achievement outcomes and progression reference points; 3) ensuring that curriculum is rich as well as being inclusive, broad and balanced; 4) developing cross-curriculum responsibilities by designing a digital competence framework; 5) enabling the Welsh language to thrive 6) developing a new assessment and evaluation framework that prioritises assessment for learning and aligns assessment arrangements with the four curriculum purposes and the achievement outcomes; 7) building the capacity of all practitioners and leaders, including the ability to reflect on and evaluate their own practice, to design and create a relevant, challenging and stimulating curriculum, and to apply appropriate pedagogical principles and practice; and 8) establishing a constructive and robust accountability system that supports the four purposes. The guidelines then describe the four “enablers” underpinning the new curriculum: working in partnership; strong school-to-school working; inspiring leadership; and inclusivity.


Welsh Government (2015), Employment-based Teacher Training Scheme 2015, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This document presents the 2015 scheme. It sets out the scope and eligibility requirements for people wishing to take the following employment-based route into teaching: 1) Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), where graduates without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) can undertake training through an employment-based ITE provider so that they can be employed in a school while following an approved ITE programme; 2) Additional Training Graduate Programme (ATGP), where graduates without QTS can receive additional pre-employment training in addition to employment-based training while following an approved ITE programme and 3) Registered Teacher Programme (RTP), which is an employment-based route to QTS for non-graduates having completed at least 2 years of higher education studies who can complete a degree while they train and work as a teacher.


Welsh Government (2017), Connecting Research and Teacher Education – Quality Enhancement for ITE Partnerships, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This report describes ongoing work by Sheffield Hallam University on behalf of the Welsh Government to develop a quality enhancement tool designed to support ITE partnerships to meet the new ITE accreditation criteria in Wales and engage in ongoing quality enhancement. The report presents the focus areas of this quality enhancement tool: 1) the need to build up research capacity in education faculties in Higher Education and specifically amongst teacher educators; and 2) the need to integrate theory and practice within programmes including through students engaging in systematic enquiry. The report also describes how the tool will support potential initial teacher education (ITE) providers to set aims and goals; articulate change mechanisms and identify resources needed and actions to take; use both external and institutional evidence to review the current situation; and plan the monitoring of progress. Appendix 1 provides an example of application of the tool for the development of teacher educator research capacity, Appendix 2 is a template to support use of the tool and Appendix 3 provides further detail on the sources for the approach taken in the evaluation/change literature.


Welsh Government (2016), “Initial teacher training in Wales”, Statistical Bulletin SB 46/2016, 27 October 2016, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This statistical bulletin presents data on teacher candidates enrolled in and completing initial teacher education programmes in teacher education institutions in Wales in 2014-15, by gender, ethnicity and subject studied. The bulletin addresses the issue of a 2006 government policy to reduce the number of new entrants to initial teacher education courses to better meet the needs of schools in Wales. The number of enrolments and graduates in ITE programmes has declined between 2005-06 and 2013‑14, and the number of Welsh students studying ITE in England has decreased by 30 percentage points during this period.


Welsh Government (2017), Education in Wales: Our National Mission Action Plan 2017–21, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

The Wales 2017-21 Action Plan sets out how the school system in Wales will move forward over the period 2017-21 to secure implementation of the new curriculum with a focus on leadership, professional learning, and excellence and equity within a “self‑improving system”. It makes three commitments to teachers and students until 2021 with regard to research and education: 1) the teaching profession will have opportunities for “learning in a research-driven culture, in the knowledge that excellent teachers are effective learners” – a national approach to career-long professional learning will build capacity from ITE and will be embedded in evidence-based research and effective collaboration; 2) regional consortia, local authorities, diocesan authorities, Estyn, Qualifications, Education Workforce Council and higher education institutions (HEIs) will “use their knowledge of schools and research to facilitate and support the sharing of best practice and collaboration to improve learner outcomes, within a self-improving school system”; and 3) reputable pedagogic research and effective collaboration will be used across the entire system to support the development of a world-class curriculum that will help raise standards for all in Wales.


Welsh Government (2017), Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

The revised professional standards for teaching and leadership define five core dimensions of practice – pedagogy, collaboration, leadership, innovation and professional learning – divided into 32 descriptors that exemplify how the standards could apply to a teacher’s work, depending on the teacher’s role and career. For example. “pedagogy” is defined as refining teaching, influencing learners and advancing learning; “refining teaching” is defined by managing the learning environment, assessment, differentiation; recording and reporting, and involving partners in learning. The lower descriptors for teaching describe expectations that should be met for the award of Qualified Teacher Status and the successful completion of statutory induction. The upper descriptors exemplify sustained, highly effective practice and provide a focus for career-long professional learning. The lower descriptors for formal leadership show the expectations of a formal leadership role and the upper descriptors exemplify highly effective practice in a formal leadership role. The standards serve to underpin the development of the teaching profession as it leads the transformation of our education system in Wales.


Welsh Government (2018), Iaith Athrawon Yfory Incentive Scheme 2018, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This document describes a 2018 scheme that provides financial incentives for teacher candidates commencing a secondary post-graduate initial teacher education (ITE) programme who wish to teach through the medium of Welsh.


Welsh Government (2018), Teacher Training Incentives in Wales – Academic Year 2018/2019, Welsh Government, Cardiff

This document provides information on initial teacher education incentives in the form of training grants for those enrolling in postgraduate ITE courses in Wales between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019. It outlines the funding available, grant eligibility and how payments will be made. The courses must lead to Qualified Teacher Status and be run by an initial teacher education (ITE) provider accredited by the Higher Education Funding Council Wales (HEFCW). The training grants are available for both full-time and part-time programmes.


Welsh Government (2018), Statistical Bulletin. Initial Teacher Education Wales, 2016/17, Statistics for Wales, Cardiff

This bulletin provides information about teacher candidates in Wales and those from Wales studying in the United Kingdom for the academic year 2016/2017. The bulletin highlights the following key points. First, the number of new secondary school teacher candidates missed the target by over one third in 2016/17, and the number of new primary school teacher candidates remained slightly below the target compared to the previous year. The target for primary education programmes was 750 teacher candidates, but only 700 enrolled – and 871 for secondary programmes, but only 545 enrolled. Second, there has been a small decline in the number of students able to teach in Welsh, which is at its lowest point since 2008/09. Third, science, maths and English are the most common subjects for entrants to initial teacher education programmes for secondary education. Fourth, nine out of every 10 new teacher candidates studying in Wales was living in Wales before they commenced studying, and finally, there were more than twice as many females as males enrolled in ITE programmes in Wales in 2016/17.


Welsh Government (2018), Criteria for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Wales: Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This document sets out the final version of the criteria – originally drafted by a task group in 2015 with intensive consultation – that all new and existing initial teacher education will be required to meet for accreditation in the future. The new accreditation criteria are divided into three main parts. First, in relation to the leadership and management of programmes, the criteria set out what is required of school-HEI partnerships. Programmes will be required to designate a number of “lead partnership schools” that will contribute fully to the leadership and management of the programme, including the design and content of the programme and the selection of students; they will also play a full part in each programme’s quality assurance and self‑evaluation. Second, the criteria set out the programme inputs or the information that ITE programmes in Wales must provide, for example, the course’s conceptual framework, course aims, course design and areas of study, and entry requirements and selection procedures. Third, the criteria set out the programme outcomes, which related to how ITE programmes fulfil the standards for qualified teacher status and for induction.


2. Policy and research on ITP

Donaldson, G. (2015), Successful Futures: Independent Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

Commissioned by the Welsh Government, this review of curriculum and assessment in Wales provides the foundations for a new curriculum in Wales, including the principle of evidence-based curriculum design. The report addresses definition, purposes and structure of the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, as well as the reform process. It defines six Areas of Learning and Experience – expressive arts, health and well-being, humanities, languages, literacy and communication, mathematics and numeracy and science and technology – and three cross‑curriculum responsibilities: literacy, numeracy and digital competence. The author concludes by evaluating the implications of reform and recommendations for each level of education, including children and young people with additional learning needs, the reform process, leadership and steering, system capacity, elaboration and development of Areas of Learning and Experience, accountability; and local and national leadership.


Furlong, J. (2002), “Educational research capacity in Wales: The challenge of devolution”, paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, Brisbane, 2002.

This paper reports findings from a review of education research in Wales, which explored the current “capacity” for educational research in Wales and how it might most effectively be supported and developed in the future. The paper presents the background to the review, commencing with the Welsh Assembly’s ambitious educational policy document “The Learning Country” from 2001, and describing how research capacity is defined, developments in England, and quality in education research. The author then describes the role and purposes of educational research in the policy cycle, in practice and in higher education. An examination of the current capacity for undertaking (i.e. in terms of staffing, funding and areas of expertise) and using educational research (i.e. by policy makers, practitioners and researchers) in Wales follows. The author concludes by proposing a national strategy for educational research in Wales, which seeks to build current and new capacity to undertake research, improve infrastructure and networks, fill gaps in expertise and increasing investment, establish research priorities and better links with England – and, importantly, increase the capacity of schools and individual teachers to understand, utilise and participate in research.


Furlong, J. et al. (2006), Review of Initial Teacher Training Provision in Wales, University of Oxford, Department of Educational Studies

This 2006 report to the Welsh Government addresses several pressing questions in initial teacher education in Wales. First, to what extent could or should Wales aim to provide just for its’ own needs and, as far as practicable, avoid producing newly qualified teachers in Wales unlikely to work there, for instance, through better workforce planning. Second, how can the need for initial teacher education (ITE) provision be calculated to achieve a better match between the supply of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) and the future needs of schools in Wales? Third, how might ITE provision be adjusted to ensure a supply of high quality new teachers appropriate to the needs of schools in Wales? Fourth, what sort of high quality ITE provision should Wales aspire to develop over the next five to ten years in order to continue improving standards of teaching and pupil achievement, for example with regard to quality assurance procedures and mechanisms, and assuring the quality of flexible routes to QTS and ITE programmes in general? Fifth, how might better links be developed between initial teacher education and induction/early professional development for NQTs, drawing on lessons from England and Northern Ireland? The authors makes 36 recommendations to address these questions.


Furlong, J. (2015), “Teaching tomorrow’s teachers: Options for the future of initial teacher education in Wales”, Oxford University, Oxford.

Commissioned by the Welsh Government, this report by the Initial Teacher Training Advisor to the Welsh Government, Professor John Furlong, sets out the main challenges facing the initial teacher education sector in Wales at the national, institutional and school levels – the reasons for change, especially in light of the recommendations of the Donaldson Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements to the Welsh Government – and a range of different options that the Welsh Government might take in order to raise the quality of provision. To raise standards in Welsh schools, this report proposes to invest in the teaching profession in three main fields: 1) attracting into the profession the best possible candidates. 2) offering them the best initial teacher education and training possible. 3) offering continuing support so that teachers can refresh and develop throughout their careers. Options are presented in the context of nine recommendations, including revising the standards for newly qualified teachers, revising the accreditation process and establishing a Teacher Education Accreditation Board.


Dumont, H., D. Istance and F. Benavides (eds.) (2010), The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This volume aims to help build the bridges, “using research to inspire practice”. Leading researchers from Europe and North America were invited to take different perspectives on learning, summarising large bodies of research and identifying their significance for the design of learning environments, in such a way as to be relevant to educational leaders and policy makers. The early chapters address the nature of learning, including through the cognitive, emotional and biological perspectives. The contributions that follow review approaches and evidence for different types of application: formative assessment, co-operative and inquiry-based forms of learning, technology-based applications – as well as learning beyond classroom environments in communities and families. The penultimate chapter considers strategies to refocus educational organisations with their in-built resistance to innovation and change. The volume concludes with key principles defining a “demanding education” as that which is learner-centred, structured and well-designed, profoundly personalised, inclusive and social.


Tabberer, R. (2013), “A review of initial teacher training in Wales”, Welsh Government, Cardiff.

This report presents the findings of the review on the quality and effectiveness of initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales, which took place during the academic year 2011/13. The report follows the the Furlong Review in January 2006, which recommended structural and organisational changes in ITT provision, leading to the establishment of three ITT centres for the different regions in Wales. The review focused on those areas most important for raising the quality of teaching: 1) the quality and consistency of teaching, training and assessment in ITT and 2) ITT course structure and the coverage of specific issues in ITT. The review addressed a range of issues including the balance between practical teaching experience in school and university-led training; the overall length of ITT courses if specific subjects and topics are given sufficient coverage on ITT courses; and how the sector engages with schools and local authorities to ensure ITT courses deliver newly qualified teachers (NQTs) who meet their needs. The author concludes by making 14 recommendations, including a clear regulatory framework, “sector leadership” that is organised, well-connected and consultative and strong providers (or a single strong provider) who are well-led locally, and a high status profession that attracts top graduates.


3. Other reports on Wales

Jerrim, J. and N. Shure (2016), “Achievement of 15-Year-Olds in Wales: PISA 2015 national report”, UCL Institute of Education, London.

This report was published to accompany the OECD’s international report on PISA 2015. It complements the OECD’s report by providing (i) a more focused comparison of Wales with other countries and (ii) analysis of differences within Wales across school and pupil characteristics. Analysis of differences within Wales is enhanced by linking PISA to administrative records about pupils and schools. This allows an analysis for the first time of how PISA scores differ between different school types (e.g . Welsh versus English medium schools), by the Welsh National School Categorisation System, and by various pupil characteristics, such as Welsh language and eligibility for free school meals (FSM).


OECD (2017), “The Welsh education reform journey”, OECD, Paris.

This OECD report analyses the reforms adopted in Wales since 2014 and offers recommendations to inform next steps. The report concludes that the Welsh approach to school improvement has moved from a piecemeal and short-term policy orientation towards one that is guided by a longer-term vision and is characterised by a process of co-construction with key stakeholders. To support the realisation of its education objectives and ultimately its vision of the Welsh learner, Wales should continue its curriculum reform efforts underpinned by sustained investments in key policy areas and strengthen the implementation process to ensure that its reform journey is comprehensive and effective.


Pont, B. et al. (2014), “Improving schools in Wales: An OECD perspective, OECD, Paris.

The OECD report analyses the strengths and challenges facing the Welsh school system, and provides a number of recommendations and policy options for further strengthening it. It highlights the need for ensuring that schools are meeting the learning needs of all their students, building professional capital, developing a coherent assessment and evaluation framework, and defining and implementing policy with a long-term perspective.