Teaching in Wales: An Overview

Overview

You might be interested to find out the main differences in the education systems between Wales and England. Did you know there are no academy schools in Wales? 

Factors which are different include teachers’ pay, inspection, the curriculum, teacher regulation and much more. 

In this article, we outline the main differences compared to England and link to relevant organisations where you can find more information.

Teachers’ Pay and conditions in Wales

The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) which outlines teachers’ pay and conditions in maintained schools in England no longer applies in Wales. 

Responsibility for teacher pay and conditions was transferred to the Welsh government on 30 September 2018.

It follows the publication of the first report of the new Independent Welsh Pay Review Body which recommended:

  • The statutory minimum of the main pay range be increased by 5% and that the statutory maximum of the main pay range be increased by 2.4%
  • The statutory minimum and the statutory maximum of all other pay ranges (upper pay range, leadership group pay range and unqualified teachers), and all allowances be increased be increased by 2.4

We have published more information about teachers’ pay in Wales here. 

The Welsh STPCD 2019 can be found here. It outlines information on working time, safeguarding, TLR payments and more. 

Inspection in Wales

Estyn is the office of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales. It is independent of, but funded by, the National Assembly for Wales. The purpose of Estyn is to inspect quality and standards in education and training in Wales.

Its name comes from the Welsh language verb estyn meaning to “to reach (out), stretch or extend”.

Its Common Inspection Framework has five inspection areas:

  • Standards
  • Wellbeing and attitudes to learning
  • Teaching and learning experiences
  • Care, support and guidance
  • Leadership and management

It gives three weeks’ notice of inspection, except for local government education services (10 weeks’ notice) and initial teacher education (8 weeks’ notice).

The date of the next inspection is not linked to the date of the previous inspection.

The inspection judgements are:

  • Excellent: very strong, sustained performance and practice
  • Good: strong features, although minor aspects may require improvement
  • Adequate and needs improvement: strengths outweigh weaknesses, but important aspects require improvement
  • Unsatisfactory and needs urgent improvement – important weaknesses outweigh strength

The Welsh Independent Schools Council is the representative body for independent schools in Wales.

Curriculum content

The Welsh Government has its own distinct curriculum which is separate to the National Curriculum for maintained schools in England.

Welsh is a compulsory subject in all maintained schools up to the age of 16.

Education Workforce Council

In England, the Teaching and Regulation Agency takes action on receipt of allegations of serious teacher misconduct and support employers, schools and headteachers with safeguarding responsibilities. Whereas, in Wales it is the Education Workforce Council (EWC).

The EWC was established by the Education (Wales) Act 2014. Under the Act, the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) was reconfigured and renamed to become the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The EWC came into being on 1st April 2015.

The EWC’s main functions are to:

  • establish and maintain a Register of Education Practitioners;
  • maintain a Code of Professional Conduct and Practice for the education workforce;
  • investigate and hear allegations of unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence or relevant criminal offences that might call into question a registered practitioner’s fitness to practise;
  • accrediting programmes of initial teacher education;
  • provide advice to the Welsh Government and others on matters related to the education workforce and teaching and learning;
  • monitor Induction and hear Induction appeals (where applicable) for teachers
  • promote careers in the education workforce; and
  • undertake specific work in relation to teaching and learning at the request of the Welsh Government.

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