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American trained teacher leading the way in Wales
American trained teacher leading the way in Wales

Katie DaviesAmerican trained teacher leading the way in Wales

Katie Davies is a bit different to other school teachers in Wales. Katie teaches Geography and Health & Social Care at Eastern High in Cardiff, but she was actually born and bred in the USA and qualified as a teacher at Eastern Illinois University in the Mid-West.

Having completed her teacher training in 2008, Katie taught in schools in her home country for four years. However, being married to a Welshman, Katie and her husband decided to relocate and moved from the USA to Wales in 2012.

On touching down on this side of the pond, Katie found that her teaching qualification was recognised in England, but not in Wales. Katie therefore needed to cross the bridge to England every day to get teaching work in the Bristol area.

Katie said: “I worked hard to qualify as a teacher in the United States and was proud of what I had achieved. I wanted to continue to my career, so I began commuting every day to secure teaching work”.

About eighteen months ago, Katie secured a job at Eastern High in Cardiff but because her qualification was not recognised, this was as an unqualified teacher.

But there was light at the end of the tunnel. On 1 January of this year, the Welsh Government introduced new legislation meaning that any qualified teacher from across the world can apply to have their teaching qualification recognised in Wales and in turn be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The assessment is carried out by the Education Workforce Council (EWC), the regulatory body for education practitioners working in schools, further education, work-based learning and youth work in Wales.

Katie said: “I was aware that this change was afoot, so I submitted my application as soon as the new legislation came in. Within a couple of weeks, my application had been approved and I am now a fully-fledged teacher in Wales. I’m delighted as I love teaching and have made Wales my home”.

Since Katie’s successful application, the EWC has already received a further 10 applications from qualified teachers in countries ranging from Ireland to Hong Kong to Australia.

EWC Chief Executive, Hayden Llewellyn said: “We welcome this change by the Welsh Government, it was eagerly anticipated and brings parity with the recognition arrangements in other countries. All applications we receive are assessed against rigorous criteria, meaning that we are able to welcome experienced teachers from outside of the UK who bring not only the necessary qualifications but also wide and varied cultural backgrounds.”

If you qualified as a teacher outside Wales and would like to have your qualification recognised here, please visit our page for practitioners trained outside Wales.