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New teachers 'missing skills cash'

Newly-qualified teachers have missed out on financial support worth thousands of pounds to develop their professional skills, according to the General Teaching Council for Wales.

While the statutory induction programme for NQTs introduced two years ago had been implemented successfully, anecdotal evidence suggests "the same cannot be said for early professional development." The Assembly government's EPD programme, now in its second year, provides pound;1,000 for new teachers to spend on training during each of their second and third years at work, after induction.

Gary Brace, GTCW's chief executive, said there was a lack of publicity for EPD. In a report to the council, which met in Llangollen last week, he said some new teachers reported that they had not received funded support or mentoring. Some were unaware of their entitlement.

"There is also anecdotal evidence of lack of awareness about EPD on the part of some headteachers," he said.

The Assembly government has asked the GTCW to consider taking over the responsibility for managing the funding for induction and EPD from next April. At the moment, cash for NQTs is distributed to local education authorities based on estimates of numbers, with some receiving lower levels of funding than they have NQTs and vice versa.

Education and lifelong learning minister Jane Davidson backs a system that "provides for the funding to follow the individual teacher, enables easy tracking of the funding and ensures all teachers receive their full funding entitlement".

The GTCW has agreed in principle to the plan, and would be responsible for administering a programme of pound;5.5 million to pound;6m.

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