'Train up before school visits'

All trainee teachers must receive child protection training before their initial visits to schools, says inspections agency Estyn.

It found that the timing of the training was "too variable" in a recent report on Swansea School of Education. Child protection, covering child abuse and neglect, as well as guidance about how to act if a child discloses that they have been abused, is on the syllabus for all trainees there.

But inspectors raised concerns that the training did not always take place before initial visits to schools. The School has now agreed to rectify the situation and will also ask partner schools to provide trainees with their policies and procedures at the start of their school experience.

Swansea School of Education was formed in September 2004 after the education departments at Swansea university and Swansea Institute of Higher Education were merged. During its inspection, Estyn observed 87 lessons taught by a representative sample of a quarter of trainees on their final school placements.

Inspectors found that the overall quality of teaching, training and assessment, both on college and school-based training, was "good, with no important shortcomings".

Partnership schools were found to be committed to their role in teacher-training and provided a high level of support for trainees. Tutors had a good knowledge of their specialist subjects.

There was praise for tutors on the postgraduate certificate in education primary and secondary courses, who planned their sessions as a model for trainees to use in their own planing. But there was criticism of those who spent too much time "developing subject knowledge at the expense of helping trainees to analyse examples of effective teaching, learning and assessing".

Estyn found that good features outweighed shortcomings among 46 per cent of the trainees who were observed teaching, with the teaching of a further 53 per cent judged to be good or very good. Two per cent of trainees did not meet the standards for qualified teacher status.

Most trainees on the PGCE courses at Swansea demonstrated good subject knowledge but there were weaknesses in design and technology and in Welsh history. ICT was deemed to be good among trainees on both primary and secondary courses, but Welsh as a second language was a weakness for some primary trainees.

Professor John Parkinson, head of the Swansea School of Education said: "We are generally pleased with the report and welcome the positive comments made on the quality of teaching. Our students work extremely hard and achieve high standards of classroom teaching."


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