All Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in Wales will have the chance to study for a Masters during their first teaching jobs, the Welsh government announced this week (November 23rd).
As part of their induction and early professional development, all NQTs will have the opportunity of taking part in the specially designed three-year Masters programme.
Rather than the traditional taught approach, NQTs will be accredited based on activities and action research.
The programme was developed between the Welsh government and the Institute of Education's Professor Alma Harris.
Unveiling the Masters, education minister Leighton Andrews said that it is essential to raise the performance standards across the board in Wales so that students can reach their full 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," he said.
"The new Masters qualification I’m announcing today will help us achieve that."
Focusing on three national priorities outlined by the education minister, the masters programme will deal with literacy, numeracy and reducing the effects of poverty on academic achievement.
The Masters will also have three core areas of development seen as priorities for NQTs; additional learning needs, behaviour management and reflective practice.
Teachers will have a broad range of online resources to support their study, which are currently in development and will be targeted towards school-based practitioners.
Professor Alma Harris commented that the programme is a key development for Welsh education and will emphasise high quality professional learning as a cornerstone of the system.
Demonstrating a major commitment to professional learning, the government has signalled its commitment to invest in the future of teaching, she said.
"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."
The Masters will not be made compulsory, though the government did not rule it out as a possibility following extensive evaluation of the programme.
Posted by Theo Foulds