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Education

Kirsty Williams announces online PGCE

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Transforming teacher training: Cabinet Secretary launches ground-breaking plan

A NEW part-time PGCE that combines online study with tutorials and seminars could soon make Wales a world-leader in Initial Teacher Education (ITE).

The addition of this new alternative route into teaching, announced today by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams, is the latest in a series of reforms designed to revolutionise the way ITE is provided in Wales. These also include new full-time ITE programmes.

The new part-time PGCE would provide a high quality alternative to full-time study and remove the need for students to travel just to attend their chosen course.

Students could instead interact with their lecturers and fellow students online, just as they would in the soon-to-be accredited full-time ITE programmes. This would remove any barriers that might be caused by their location or distance from a university.

In addition to the new PGCE, the Education Secretary also announced a new Employment Based Route (EBR), which would see a student teacher employed by a school from the outset. This would be targeted to help regional consortia address teaching shortages in schools region by region.

Both the part-time PGCE and EBR would enable student teachers to maintain their current commitments, including employment and income, whilst studying to be a teacher.

The students would also be able to take advantage of opportunities afforded by Wales’ new student finance arrangements. From the 2018-19 academic year, all Welsh students – whether studying undergraduate full or part time – will receive support for their living costs equivalent to the UK national living wage.

Announcing the changes today, Kirsty Williams said: “An education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers and our new curriculum cannot be delivered without a well-supported, aspirational teaching profession.

“The new part-time PGCE has the potential to completely transform the way Initial Teacher Education in Wales is delivered, complementing our equally high quality full-time ITE programmes.

“New students who may previously never have considered a career in teaching or been put off by costs or their location will have access to an academic qualification and programme that is of the very highest standard while also being flexible and easily accessible.

“It’s by harnessing technology in this way that we’ll attract highly-talented, experienced people with the higher level skills needed by both the teaching profession and our wider economy.

“I am confident that along with the step change in our soon to be accredited full-time ITE programmes the new part-time PGCE and EBR, together with new Professional Standards for teaching and accreditation criteria for initial teacher education, will allow us to raise standards across the board and make Wales a world-leader.”

The Education Secretary also confirmed today that an HE provider, or partnership of providers, will be procured to deliver the proposals by working with schools and education consortia across Wales.

Education

Prestigious Open University award presented to Monkton Primary School

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MONKTON Priory Primary School’s successful mission to engage parents and the wider community in adult learning has been recognised with an Open University 50th Anniversary award.

The school won the OU50’s Special Award Category as part of the Inspire! Adult Learning Awards.

Head teacher Shelley Morris set out to provide adult education in the community by creating Launch Adult Learning in 2012.

She said: “The project has a clear purpose – achieving the best outcomes, raising attainment and aspirations for children within the setting and this goes hand in hand with providing opportunities for learning, skills and qualifications for parents.”

A wide range of accredited courses are available as well as foundation degrees in partnership with UWTSD (University of Wales Trinity St David). Site Safety training is also available which has proved invaluable for those seeking work in local industry.

“The courses are designed to give parents and the wider community the skills and confidence to find employment,” said Shelley.

To date, 1,546 adults have enrolled on classes, 79 students have achieved a foundation degree, and 53 students have gained a full BA degree – 18 of which are from the Gypsy and Traveller community. Four year-groups also run in the evenings.

“Learning together is our school motto,” said Shelley Morris. “The children see that education doesn’t finish when you become an adult. Seeing their parents and other adults studying sends a powerful message about the importance of learning, and has a hugely positive impact on the lives of both the child and the adult.”

A free crèche is also available to remove one of the main barriers to learning – which in itself is a source of training, with accredited crèche worker courses and a learning centre available thanks to Launch co-ordinator Kellie Bellmaine.

“We now have a pool of qualified crèche workers and they’ve accessed employment not only with us but with partner organisations,” said Kellie.

The celebratory OU50 awards aim to recognise organisation and individuals delivering learning in a unique and engaging way or opening up access to education in their community.

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Education

Tenby student’s unique coffee business helping to improve sustainability

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A SWANSEA UNIVERSITY student is providing customers with a sustainable coffee experience thanks to his growing business venture.

Luke Green, 20, a second year student with the School of Management, founded GoGo Coffee in February where he serves coffee from the back of his low carbon emitting Smart Car.

The coffee machines are battery operated from the boot of his car, while he uses locally sourced coffee and bio-disposable cups.

Having already purchased the car himself, his vision and ethos came to fruition as part of an entrepreneurship module on his course.

He also secured £2,200 worth of funding from GoCompare, which offers out a share of a pot of funding to various businesses. This investment enabled Luke to pay for vehicle insurance, stock and a secure storage unit.

“I love that I’m able to work on my passion of running my own business alongside my studies,” said Luke, who hails from Tenby.

“Independent learning is a big part of my course which it’s a mature way of studying as it’s down to you to put the work in and make sure your time is well spent.”

“I use locally sourced organic coffee which means I’m helping to support other local businesses, as well as the fact that the drinks are served in bio-disposable cups. I also offer a discount to customers who come to me with a reusable cup.”

“Setting up my own business as part of my degree was a big commitment, but it is great to know that I already have that in place when I graduate.”

However, Luke admits that it wasn’t always coffee that he had in mind when he first thought about setting up his business.

“While I was at Pembrokeshire College, I had an idea to run candyfloss and ice cream carts from a bike,” he said.

“But when I passed my driving test I explored other options which would enable me to travel further and serve a larger audience. This is when GoGo Coffee was established.

“Being able to drive to various places and serve coffee has really helped get my business off the ground.

“In the future I hope to have franchises running GoGo Coffee businesses across the UK.”

If you want to sample Luke’s coffee then you can catch him at Swansea University’s Bay Campus, as well as at Uplands market and in the Quadrant Centre from 24-30 June.

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Education

Pupil Language Ambassadors’ key role

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EACH year Pupil Language Ambassadors (PLAs) from schools across the ERW region work hard to increase awareness of the skills and opportunities, which come from studying a language amongst their peers. They speak in assemblies and to groups of their peers at school events. Their ambassadorial role is wide and varied and each year they work with their teachers to increase the number of pupils studying language at GCSE.

This year, the focus has been to utilise the skills of language ambassadors to work with primary school children where these committed linguists go into their nearby primaries and speak to key stage 2 pupils about the benefits of learning an additional language. This has helped to fulfil a crucial element of the national and regional priorities as set out in the work of Global Futures, a Welsh Government funded scheme to promote language learning for all.

In addition to their fantastic and creative work and projects, in March these motivated ambassadors attended the annual ERW Pupil Language Ambassador training at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. They met with other ambassadors from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea to discuss their role and heaR from some inspirational speakers.

The purpose of the day was to help the pupils understand their role, to develop ideas for events they could run in their schools, to take part in language tasters and create a plan of action for supporting language learning in their school and their cluster.

The day began with a fantastic presentation from the Pupil Language Ambassadors from Ysgol Dyffryn Taf in Whitland. They spoke to the new PLAs about their achievements last year. They addressed the audience in many languages and set the tone for the day perfectly. The keynote speaker was Rhodri Bendle, Chief Consultant at Snowstyle Travel Company in Austria that specialises in Ski and Snowboarding holidays and tuition. He shared his own story about learning a German and how it has helped him to develop his own business.

Pupils then went into a series of workshops delivered by Routes Cymru, a team of professionals and student language ambassadors from Cardiff University who facilitated idea sharing and discussion about how to set up a language club and other ways of getting the message across about language learning.

Diane Evans, ERW, helped pupils to draw out their knowledge of the role of the ambassador across Wales and internationally. Pupils learned how to get their voices heard and how to make an impact in their time as language ambassadors in their community.

Alex Pickering represented the Goethe Institute at the event speaking with ambassadors about the importance of language in business. Ariane Laumonier, a consultant with the Institut Français ran a brilliant workshop on language and the world of work. Both Ariane and Alex used their own languages to convey the importance of learning a language and the benefits of developing multilingual learners.

Another aim of the day was to build confidence in ambassadors in learning and speaking an additional language. The language taster sessions from staff and postgraduate students at Swansea University all ran tasters that strengthen the priorities across Wales to learn and speak a new language. These were extremely well-received as always, pupils tried out languages that many of them had not learnt before including Polish, Italian, German and Mandarin.

Mererid Hopwood, Professor of Language at University of Wales Trinity Saint David inspired staff and students alike with her talk on the importance of striving for a Multi-lingual society in Wales with children and adults using their newly acquired language at every opportunity.

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