Council backs Scots model

Ministers should seriously consider giving every newly-qualified teacher a guaranteed job, the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) has urged.

Chief executive Gary Brace cautiously backed calls for a guaranteed induction year for NQTs, along the lines of the Scottish model (see left), in the wake of the revelation that only a third of last year's primary teacher-training graduates had completed induction a year after finishing their courses.

And he warned that the Assembly government must get to grips with fundamental questions over the nature of teacher-training in Wales. Mr Brace urged ministers to give their forthcoming initial review the widest possible brief.

NQTs in Scotland are guaranteed a job for their first year to allow them to complete induction.

Mr Brace said: "Subject to full evaluation of the Scottish system - which seems to be working - it would work in Wales and it would resolve some of those situations we're getting of NQTs not being able to find an induction place."

The Scottish system would have to be adapted as its local authorities have the power to appoint NQTs to schools with vacancies.

"In Wales, school governing bodies are the final arbiters of who they employ. So you would need co-operation because it would mean a headteacher being given a teacher whom in normal circumstances they might not take," Mr Brace said.

The other key difference is the "permeable" border between Wales and England. Unlike Scotland, a significant proportion of trainee teachers in Welsh institutions are either English or plan to teach in England. Some IT courses - in particular at Aberystwyth university - also have large numbers of Irish students.

That helps explain why, of some 2,400 graduates from ITT courses in 2003, only roughly 1,600 registered with the GTCW. "Forty per cent of those who train in Wales don't intend to teach here," Mr Brace said.

"Does the government in Wales see Welsh institutions as only producing teachers to meet its own needs and targets? Or does it take the view - which prevails at present - that it's an open market?" said Mr Brace.

Observers are disappointed at the slow progress in the Assembly's inquiry into teacher training. A contract to conduct the inquiry has yet to be advertised, and no terms of reference have been published. Meanwhile, the GTCW is hopeful that more of last year's NQTs will be shown to have started induction when the latest figures are published in January.

Write to TES Cymru, Sophia House, 28 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LJ.

Email 029 2066 0207

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