Staff in confidence crisis

25th April 2008 at 01:00
Teachers believe they lack training, but many say their applications for development are blocked

Teachers believe they lack training, but many say their applications for development are blocked

Fewer than half of Welsh teachers believe they are well-trained enough to do a good job.

Four in 10 out of 200 respondents to a survey also say they have had training requests blocked because of a lack of school funds.

The findings - from a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) - will come as a blow to officials, who see good teaching practice as key to raising Wales's flagging attainment rates.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of ATL Cymru, said the results were disturbing, especially as 22 per cent of teachers rate their continuing professional development (CPD) as poor.

He said: "We have heard a lot from the Assembly government about the need for the profession to up its game. I have no doubt teachers are prepared for that challenge. What they need now are the tools to do the job - and the stark fact is the government is not delivering."

Most respondents also claim they do not have any control over their professional development. "Teachers are best placed to decide the best CPD for them," said Dr Dixon. "The lack of autonomy they experience undermines their professionalism."

He added: "The Assembly government can devise all sorts of proposals, schemes and frameworks, but the workforce is not being adequately developed to deliver them."

Scathing comments on the standard of training on offer were made by respondents: "CPD is often poorly presented and thought out, particularly if LEA-led," said one.

Funding was identified as the major obstacle. Another said: "I have received no support for training, increased workload, increased curriculum expectations, and no training after being asked to take on new age-groups, new subjects and new courses. I feel fed up."

Seventeen per cent of respondents said they had been refused training identified in their performance management reviews.

But heads are also missing out on vital development. David Healey, president of ATL Cymru and deputy head of Ysgol Friars in Bangor, said: "It's absolutely appalling that CPD is so lowly regarded.

"The unions fought hard for the right of teachers to be in charge of their professional development, and yet 57 per cent of the profession feels it still does not exercise that right."

An Assembly government spokesperson said: "Teachers can access a wide range of professional development opportunities to support their careers, from induction to middle management, leadership and headship training."

Leader, page 36

THE ATL SURVEY

How teaching staff rated professional development

Excellent 11%

Good 33

Fair 34

Poor 22

Reasons for having CPD refused

Lack of local authority funds 2

Lack of school funds 62

Lack of time out 9

Other 27.

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