Wales needs to ask: “Who is teaching our children?”

21 March 2016

NUT Cymru is encouraging parents to question just who exactly will be teaching their children under the next Welsh Government. Making education a central theme of the forthcoming Welsh election, the Union, who represents thousands of teachers across Wales, says that previous Welsh Government have committed to ensuring that only qualified teachers lead lessons, but that this is not always the case in practice. The use of teaching assistants to cover lessons; the limited access to CPD and rising class sizes are all contributing to a reduction in time pupils spend with qualified teachers.

As part of their Manifesto NUT Cymru has made a series of recommendations to ensure that children in Wales have the best quality of teaching available.

  • We value the contribution made by teaching assistants, but all teaching must be led by a qualified teacher. The roles of teachers and TAs are complementary but not interchangeable. No teaching assistant should be exploited to fill a vacant teaching position.
  • All teachers should have the opportunity to access high quality professional learning at every stage of their career development.
  • Class sizes must be reduced and Foundation Phase ratios reviewed.
  • The Welsh Government should reaffirm its commitment to all teachers in Wales having qualified.

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said:

“Welsh Governments have in the past rightly committed to ensuring that only those with qualified teacher status may teach children in Wales. However, in practice, children’s access to qualified teachers is undermined by issues such as teaching assistants being asked to cover lessons instead of employing qualified supply teachers, increasing class sizes leading to a reduction in quality teacher-pupil interaction and limited access to continued professional development. Wales has many of the most dedicated and qualified teachers in the world, but we must establish a system that allows them to thrive and develop their professional skills at each career stage. It is only by ensuring that those with the right qualifications teach children in Wales can we build a system that unlocks their potential.

“Creating an environment whereby pupils are always taught by qualified and motivated teachers will have a significant impact on attainment levels. Failure to deliver that fundamental right not only does a disservice to the teaching profession but it is simply not supporting children in their educational needs.”

OCR