Attracting under represented groups to train to teach in Wales

Stewart, Sarah and Bleasdale, Catharine (2023). Attracting under represented groups to train to teach in Wales. In: 7th Biennial International Conference on Access, Participation and Success: ‘Through the looking glass: How Higher Education is using the lens of access, participation, and success to create equity for all students’, 26-27 Apr 2023, The Open University [Online].



Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is of significant importance to all and is fast-becoming an urgent policy issue in many countries, including the United Kingdom. Wales has seen a recent shift from university-based teacher education to school/university partnership programmes. Wide educational reform in Wales emphasises the recruitment of ethnic minority teachers, bilingual teachers and attracting candidates to fill rural school vacancies. However, options for part-time and employment-based routes into the teaching profession have until recently been limited in Wales. These routes can offer a more flexible teacher education for those who wish to change careers and/or have existing commitments they wish to continue with while they study.

This seminar will present the progress of two unique teacher education routes that have been delivered by the Open University since 2020 in Wales. It is informed by programme data and student teacher survey responses along with data from student teacher interviews. The part-time and employment based routes, studied over two years, has to date graduated more than 100 new teachers. The profile of these new graduates and those currently enrolled on the programme will be examined. Comparisons will be made to the gender, ethnicity, age and previous work experience profile of others training to teach in Wales. The proportion of student teachers enrolled on the new routes who declare their ethnicity has been higher each year for those enrolled with the Open University than those following other routes into teaching in Wales. There is strong evidence that for many, without the new routes into teaching they would have been unable to train to teach. Many of those on the programme are more mature than the traditional student teacher and consequently bring with them many beneficial skills from their previous careers/roles; all of which prove impactful during their training and for the schools they work in.

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