Information for students
What is accreditation?
Accreditation of ITE programmes is a type of quality assurance process.
The way ITE is accredited is an essential factor in ensuring an improvement in educational performance in schools. Placing accountability on the professional body the Education Workforce Council (EWC) to accredit individual ITE programmes will enable more specific consideration of how the programmes will raise the quality of provision, and attract candidates with the right skills, qualifications and aptitude to enter a career in teaching.
Initial teacher education programmes offered by education partnerships in Wales from September 2019 will be assessed, evaluated, and monitored against the Welsh Government’s Criteria for the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes in Wales. EWC’s ITE accreditation board will carry out this function.
How are accreditation arrangements from September 2019 different from previous arrangements?
Until September 2018, there were three regional centres of ITE in Wales, and these were accredited (at centre level) by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). From September 2019, accreditation of ITE in Wales will be the responsibility of EWC’s ITE accreditation board, and will take place at programme level.
HEFCW accreditation arrangements apply up to, and including, students commencing courses in 2018/19. The quality of those courses will continue to be monitored by Estyn inspectors, and students will be able to complete their course in the normal way, gaining qualified teacher status (QTS), subject to successful completion of the course. These arrangements will apply for the duration of that programme.
For students commencing courses in 2019/20, the arrangements for accreditation have changed. Should prospective students wish to apply for a course starting in 2019, they will need to ensure that the programme applied for has been accredited under the Education Workforce Council processes.
Who is involved in each Partnership running accredited ITE programmes from September 2019?
There are a number of Partnerships across Wales that will run accredited ITE programmes from September 2019. These are:
Aberystwyth Partnership (AberTeach+) includes:
Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion County Council, and partner schools across cluster hubs.
Cardiff Partnership includes:
Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of Oxford, Cardiff University, Central South Consortium (CSC), Education Achievement Service (EAS), Cardiff City Council, and Lead Partnership Schools and Alliances.
Bangor University, University of Chester, GwE consortium (School Effectiveness and Improvement Service for North Wales), CIEREI (Collaborative Institute for Education Research, Evidence and Impact), and partner schools
Yr Athrofa Professional Learning Partnership (APLP) includes:
Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, and partner schools
There are further Partnerships across Wales that will run accredited ITE programmes from September 2020. These are:
Swansea University Schools’ Partnership includes:
Swansea University with Partner Lead and Network schools
University of South Wales ITE Partnership includes:
University of South Wales with Partner schools
Who is responsible for Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education?
Under the Education Workforce Council (Accreditation of Initial Teacher Training) Additional Functions) Order 2017, EWC has a statutory responsibility to:
- accredit programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE)
- monitor compliance of accredited programmes against Welsh Government criteria
- withdraw accreditation of programmes
HEFCW’s previous responsibilities for institutional ITE accreditation under the Education Act 2005 will continue for existing provision (up to and including provision commencing in 2018) but will cease from academic year 2019/20.
What happens if I am due to start an ITE course in 2019/20?
The arrangements for accreditation have changed and you will need to ensure that the programme you are applying for has been accredited under Education Workforce Council processes.
How can I find out information about the quality of my ITE course?
Estyn has recently inspected all ITE provision in Wales under previous accreditation arrangements. Reports on those inspections can be found on the Estyn website here. ITE programmes that start in September 2019 will be monitored and inspected by Estyn.
Information for ITE Partnerships
What evidence of validation do partnerships need to provide in programme submissions?
Evidence of validation, such as a confirmation notice or official validation letter must form part of the programme application.
What programmes can be submitted?
The accreditation criteria sets the minimum standard for programmes to be accredited by the ITE accreditation committee; it is for the partnership to determine its programmes for validation, accreditation and then provide the evidence to meet the criteria for accreditation via the accreditation process. In addition, partnerships may wish to discuss informally with EWC their proposals for a new programme(s) of ITE prior to making an application. EWC officers, who are not part of the decision making process, will be able to provide impartial advice to partnerships at any stage of the accreditation process.
How should the partnership submit a new programme for accreditation?
Partnerships must submit new programmes of ITE to EWC electronically using the Proforma for the submission of ITE programmes for professional accreditation by the EWC. This is available on our website here. EWC will not accept submissions in any other format. An application for accreditation should be submitted to EWC 18 months prior to commencement of the programme. For example, if the programme is due to commence in in September 2020, applications should be submitted by March 2019.
What font and spacing should be used to ensure consistency?
All programme applications should be written in Calibri font in size 11, with 1.15 spacing, to ensure fairness and consistency in all programme applications.
Should programme applications be made in Welsh or English? What are the page number limits if Welsh and English versions are submitted?
Programme applications can be made in English or Welsh, whichever is the partnership’s preference. This initial application must adhere to the page limit.
If a partnership wishes to submit a translated version of the initial application, or has an internal policy in place which requires them to do so, this is acceptable. Partnerships can submit new programmes to be considered for accreditation from December 2018. Partnerships must ensure any new programmes of ITE are submitted to EWC by 31 March 2019.
A translated version of the application may vary in length from the initial application (for example a Welsh version of an English application with a limit of 100 pages, would likely be over 100 pages). This is acceptable, as long as the version submitted initially, whether Welsh or English, does not exceed the page limit stipulated in the guidance. Translated applications must be accurate, and a direct translation of the initial application.
There may be differences between page numbers when an English and a Welsh version is submitted. Please refer to the page number relevant to each version. For example, if you are referring to a paragraph on page 72 in your English version, please refer the reader to page 72. If you are referring to the same paragraph in the Welsh version, but it is on page 75, please refer to page 75 in the Welsh version. We would expect that the page numbers would differ between versions, this is acceptable.
Programme applications will not be published, and will only be read internally by the appointed ITEA committees and the EWC ITEA officers. It is for partnerships to determine in which language (English, Welsh, or both) they write their programme applications and all applications will be treated equally
What documentation, or references to documentation, need to be included in the programme application?
The accreditation guidance and procedures states that no appendices or hyperlinks should be included. However, references to documents, even if this involves some repetition, is acceptable.
Will programme applications be marked against a scoring system to ensure consistency and quality assurance across all partnerships?
To ensure consistency all programme applications will be assessed against the Criteria and through the accreditation process (written application, partnership presentation, partnership meetings, professional dialogues, and partnership site visits) with quality assurance a key element. No other nation uses a scoring system but do use common descriptors such as commendation, recommendation and condition.
Accreditation assessments and site visits
What will the accreditation assessment involve?
Accreditation assessments will generally consist of a programme accreditation meeting and site visit(s).
The purpose of the programme accreditation meeting is for the Accreditation Committee to identify additional evidence to support the claims made in the partnership’s application. The Committee will have read the application thoroughly in advance of the event, but may ask further questions to gather additional information about the programme.
The meeting will usually consist of two elements: presentations by the partnership team followed by opportunities for professional dialogue between the team and the Committee.
The programme accreditation meeting will be followed by partnership site visits. The site visits provide an opportunity for the Committee to:
- speak to staff associated with the programme;
- tour the partnership facilities (HEI and partner schools);
- review documentation associated with the programme.
It will be for the partnership to indicate which sites (for example partner schools, and HEI facilities) it wishes the Committee to visit. However, the Committee may make further requests if they consider it would be beneficial to the assessment.
When will accreditation assessments begin?
New Partnerships can submit new programmes to be considered for accreditation from December 2018. Partnerships must ensure any new programmes of ITE are submitted to EWC by 31 March 2019. Each partnership will be given at least 20 working days’ notice ahead of assessment.
How long will partnerships have to prepare for the accreditation assessment?
Each partnership will be given at least 20 working days’ notice ahead of assessment.
When will ITE Partnerships be notified of the accreditation committee’s decision?
EWC will notify ITE Partnerships of the Committee’s decision in respect of accreditation within 15 working days of the Committee’s determination.
How often do EWC require an update on staffing levels in partnerships? Is the 15:1 staffing ratio, as detailed in 4.4.1 of the Welsh Government criteria, advisory or a rigid rule?
The 15:1 ratio is very general in scope based on an understanding of how other university based professional programmes (e.g. in Health) are staffed and aims to provide wide-ranging influence and effect. There are changing staffing structures implied by the new model and we would advise partnerships to ensure that overall, 15:1 is the amount of dedicated resource devoted to their ITE programme as a whole, wherever they are taught.
Where some of the resource is passed over to schools then there will need to be explicit counting of it, school based staff should be devoting their time explicitly to ITE work in this respect.
How will impartiality be maintained when reviewing a programme application?
Previous experiences, politics, geography or other external factors will have no bearing on the review of programme applications. When reviewing applications, EWC’s ITE accreditation Board will consider only:
- the Criteria
- the accreditation guidance and procedures
- partnership/programme presentation(s)
- partnership/programme meeting(s)
- partnership/programme site visit(s)
EWC officers will also consider the variation of Board members, and the avoidance of conflicts of interests when convening accreditation panels.
Which element of each standard should be the focus when constructing a programme; the descriptor or action?
The ITE programme should be aligned with the standards at the level pertaining to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Further advice on the design of programmes was provided to partnerships by Welsh Government as appendix 3 of the Accreditation Criteria document in September 2017.
Allocation of funded student numbers
What is the timetable for the allocation of student numbers?
Welsh Government will provide EWC with the number of teachers needed in September each year. Throughout October and November, EWC will undertake a demand analysis, and Partnerships will be notified of their allocated intake targets in or around December each year.
Piloting and marketing programmes
Can partnerships run or pilot programmes before they have been accredited?
In short, the accreditation arrangements do not allow for programmes to be marketed and delivered before they are due to formally commence.
Under the Education Workforce Council (Accreditation of Initial Teacher Training) Additional Functions) Order 2017, EWC has a statutory responsibility to:
- accredit programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) delivered by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) and its partners (“the Partnership”);
- monitor compliance of accredited programmes against Welsh Government accreditation criteria;
- withdraw accreditation of programmes if it considers it appropriate to do so.
In doing so, EWC seeks to ensure that programmes of ITE are professionally appropriate, demanding and lead to student teachers meeting the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) standards in Wales.
Any Partnership seeking to run an ITE programme that leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in Wales from September 2019 must first ensure that it has been accredited by EWC, through its Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Accreditation Committee (“the Board”).
The EWC document ‘Submitting a programme of ITE to EWC for accreditation’ sets out:
- the procedures and timescales for a Partnership to submit a programme for professional accreditation; and
- the process EWC will follow in deciding whether to accredit a programme or not and how / when Partnerships will be informed of the decision.
It applies to all ITE programmes which will run in Wales from September 2019 and programme applications must be made to EWC in line with the timetable in section 4. Information is also provided (section 4) about transitional arrangements for existing programmes that commenced before September 2019 but are due to conclude after this date.
Under regulation 7 of the School Teachers’ Qualifications (Wales) Regulations 2012, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) hold the function of accrediting an institution for the provision of courses or programmes of study of initial teacher training. Provision is accredited at institutional / centre level rather than at programme level.
The provision under the 2012 Regulations shall continue to have effect for any programme which commenced in or prior to September 2018.
Is the proposal that student teachers have access to the PLP from the beginning of their undergraduate/PGCE courses?
Yes. The new, enhanced PLP is an online portfolio available exclusively to Education Workforce Council registrants. The Passport is a free tool, funded by Welsh Government, developed to support your personal and professional learning, with the aim of improving your practice and the outcomes for learners. The PLP is not mandatory (except for newly qualified school teachers maintaining their induction profile) and so it can be used in a way that works best for practitioners.
Will student teachers have to pay for registration to EWC in order to access the PLP?
No. Student teachers will only start paying the EWC registration fee when they obtain qualified teacher status (QTS) and want to work as an education practitioner in Wales. For more information about who needs to register with EWC, please click here.
Will all university staff have to be registered with EWC in order to have access to their student teachers’ PLP, so they can monitor their progress against PTS?
No, this will not be required.