The Minister said:
“We need to raise standards of performance across the board in Wales so our learners can reach their potential.
“A crucial part of this is ensuring we have highly skilled teachers who are able to deliver effective teaching and learning in the classroom. The new Masters qualification I’m announcing today will help us achieve that.”
The Welsh Government has worked with Professor Alma Harris from the Institute of Education to design a highly practical three year programme which will gain accreditation based on activities and action research rather that a traditional taught, academic approach. International experts on education have also been consulted on the programme design.
The key elements of the Masters programme will be focussed on the three national priorities set by the Education Minister. These are literacy; numeracy and reducing the impact of poverty on attainment. There are also three additional core areas that have been identified as priorities for NQTs - additional learning needs, behaviour management and reflective practice.
The Masters will be supported by a range of high quality online resources which are currently being developed for school based practitioners. These resources will be of the highest quality and based on the latest international research.
Professor Alma Harris said:
“The new Masters’ programme is an important and timely development which emphasises high quality professional learning as the cornerstone of system and school improvement.
“It is a major opportunity for those entering the teaching profession to acquire high level skills and practical expertise that are both recognised and rewarded. It signals a major commitment to professional learning and represents a significant investment in the future of the profession.
“Most importantly, it will ensure that newly qualified teachers are better prepared than ever for the classroom and are more able to achieve improved learning outcomes for all the young people they teach.”
Professor David Reynolds of the University of Southampton and adviser to the Welsh Government welcomed the announcement, saying:
“Our teachers in Wales need the knowledge, the skills and the training to be able to compete with the best countries, and the exciting new Masters will give them that.
“It is orientated around an action based approach where teachers learn about an area, try things out, evaluate and then re design based upon evidence about what is working. Teachers will get knowledge about what works which they then try out and tailor to their own personal classrooms and schools. The new Masters in Educational Practice should really help in our desire to become the PISA "top 20" country we all aspire to be. “
The Masters qualification will not be made mandatory at this stage. Detailed evaluation of the programme will be undertaken before any decisions are made on making the qualification compulsory.