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Isobel DaviesCan you explain the difference you feel you have made as a Council Member?

As a retired Headteacher of a large Primary School in Wales I was able to support the discussions in this sector, but the meetings are chaired so that thoughtful curiosity is encouraged and this would sometimes add to a freshness of debate in all areas. Planning and documents for the meetings are timely presented to Board members so that I always feel well prepared and focussed on issues that I required more knowledge about. As a result I always feel a sense of real ownership about our plans and policies.

What have you personally gained from your time as a Council member?

As a consequence of being a Council member I have gained a much greater knowledge about the Further Education sector and all the innovative work that is carried out in Wales. I have also been very privileged to listen to two Fitness to Practice hearings. I am extremely positive about this very important aspect of the EWC’s remit as it really does safeguard the interests of learners and upholds the standards of professional conduct amongst our amazing workforce.

How do you feel that your contributions have impacted on the EWC?

Council members have the interest of learners and the education workforce as the focus of their work. I’m fortunate to have worked in Primary Education and I have a particular interest in Safeguarding so my personal contributions lay in these areas, but all members are encouraged to listen, debate and share experiences. I think my best contribution is that I ask questions where I feel there are gaps and I like to engage with other members to develop their debate so that our outcomes are robust.

How do you see that the EWC has progressed during your term?

The work of the EWC over this four year period have been immensely busy and I am proud of how the transition from the GTCW to the EWC has appeared so seamless. This is a real testament to the committed staff of the EWC. It is a forward looking Body and very proactive in its work to help build and support an excellent educational system. The workforce register has grown to over 80,000 and it now includes school teachers, school learning support workers, FE teachers, FE learning support workers, qualified youth workers, qualified youth support workers and work based learners. The EWC has also developed a Professional Learning Passport and a Learning Exchange for registrants, a Research Bursary Pilot Scheme to support professional development and we oversee the standards of school teachers with our statutory responsibility for Accreditation of Initial Teacher Training programmes. The EWC is also leading the way nationally and internationally as it continues to work on raising its public profile by using data to influence policy and stimulate debate in the area of education. Our work is highly regarded, as are our opinions, in the Welsh Government and beyond. We are regularly consulted to support the status and the future planning of the educational workforce.

What advice would you give to anyone considering applying to be a Council member?

I would encourage anyone to apply as it is a well organised and committed Board. The work has given me immense satisfaction. My advice to any individual considering applying is really quite simple:

  • commit to the cause and make the meetings your priority - continuity helps
  • be prepared to read the well prepared documents and come with some understanding
  • a little research and knowledge helps but ask if you wish clarification. The admin department is very helpful and other Board members engaging and welcoming
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