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  1. ITV Report

Only one third of Teach First trainees remain in Wales

A programme to train graduates as teachers in low income areas has led to only a third staying in Wales to teach.

Only a third of Teach First trainees stay in Wales to teach. Credit: PA images

A new report by the education watchdog showed there were some 'shortcomings' in the Teach First programme but trainees remain 'highly motivated'.

In 2013, Teach First, a charity set up to train graduates as teachers in schools in low-income communities, was given a three-year contract by the Welsh Government to pilot a graduate training programme in Wales.

Estyn's report 'The Impact of the Additional Training Graduate Programme in Wales' has evaluated the success of the pilot, and found that the Teach First programme has generally benefitted both trainees and host schools.

Simon Dalton is a Teach First teacher and is working at Bishop Hedley Catholic High School in Merthyr Tydfil. He says he 'loves being a teacher in Wales' and has had great support:

Estyn found that most trainees are highly motivated, demonstrate good subject knowledge and plan lessons thoroughly.

In addition, most schools found that trainees brought new ideas to their workplace, and in a few instances have challenged established practice.

However, around half of the school staff who mentor trainees do not provide sufficient feedback and challenge.

Credit: PA

According to Estyn's report there's too much variability in the experiences of the participants, especially in the important first few weeks of training.

Ensuring Wales' future teachers have the skills to educate, enthuse and inspire our young people to succeed is fundamental to improving our education system so it is important that we build on the strengths of the Teach First programme identified in this report and address the weaknesses.

– Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector of Estyn

Teach First Cymru say they are pleased that the report highlights the 'positive impact' Teach First is already making in Wales.

Just as teachers advise their pupils everyday, we are always looking to learn, improve and develop.

For example, we are seeking to increase the number of participants recruited from, or connected to, Wales; increasing this from 39% of the 2014 intake, to 70% for our 2015 intake.

– Jennifer Owen Adams, Teach First Cymru Director