Push for New Teachers to undertake Masters in Education Practice
Newly qualified teachers in Wales are being encouraged to follow a new master’s programme, which the Education Minister claims will drive up standards in schools.
The three-year course, titled Masters in Education Practice (MEP) can be taken around NQTs induction and early professional development, it will involve drawing on their practical classroom experience, and they will also receive additional support from their mentors.
The programme, which will focus on literacy, numeracy and behaviour, is the latest in a series of actions by the Welsh Government to improve on, what they see as a deficiency, in the basic standards in schools.
The Master’s programme is being launched alongside a new website, which will support new teachers through their further education training. The website
, provides news, resources and case studies, to help teachers in their development.
The MEP programme is being accredited, delivered and will be awarded by, an alliance of Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities along with the Institute of Education at the University of London.
Course leaders offer details on content
The Masters programme is being launched in the wake of some disappointing assessments of Welsh Education, as reported by the BBC; 18 months ago Wales slipped down a world-wide league table of assessments for 15 year olds, and was ranked the Lowest of the four UK countries in the Programme for International Student Development (PISA).
Professor David Reynolds, who is a government advisor and helped to design the MEP, said that the new programme will help to raise standards in Wales and that in time, all NQTs will undertake the Masters in Education Practice. He said, “It will ensure that Wales has in place some of the characteristics of other successful countries, like Finland, where every teacher has a master’s degree.” Thinking that a fresh outlook on education policy was necessary, in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for students and teachers, he added. “It was felt that it would be a good thing to try and emulate what our competitors were doing. We haven’t developed the capacity in the teaching profession in Wales that many other countries have. There is a new attitude and they think we should now help the profession and build something on the back of what we know already, rather than leaving it alone to help itself. The MEP is very teacher-friendly and you couldn’t get better than what’s being loaded.”
The MEP at Cardiff University is being led by, Deputy Director of the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Professor Amanda Coffey, speaking about the course and its purpose, she said; "The MEP programme will provide a unique opportunity for NQTs in Wales to gain access to high quality resources and mentoring to enhance their classroom practice. NQTs and their schools will benefit from a rich and supportive programme, informed by the very latest research evidence.
Teacher organisations remain cautiously optimistic
The general response from teaching organisations has been positive for the additional support that a master’s programme can give to teachers, but concern for the effect on wellbeing that a potentially greater workload could bring. Speaking for the General Teaching Council for Wales, Deputy Chief Executive, Hayden Llewellyn said "There is an ambitious agenda for improvement in our schools, and we must invest fully in the skills of individual teachers to achieve that aspiration." Wales Organiser for the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), Rex Phillips added, "We support it in principle but there remain many unanswered questions, such as the support available to those newly qualified teachers."
Newly qualified teachers have from the 8 October to the 30 November to apply for the Master’s in Education Practice, which can be done electronically via the Cardiff University website. Mentors are currently being sort for the programme; more information can be found here.