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Bangor University accredited for new teaching qualification supporting children with additional learning needs

15 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Picture by Pxhere. CC0 Public Domain.

Bangor University is introducing a new teaching qualification to address the current shortage in teachers across Wales who specialise in supporting children with additional learning needs and neurodiversity.

The postgraduate course, a first in Wales, has secured accreditation from the Education Workforce Council (EWC) and will be open to applicants from September 2024.

It is designed to support those new to the education workforce and teaching assistants experienced in supporting pupils with additional learning needs (ALN) who would like a career as a teacher.

Learners’ needs

Hazel Jane Wordsworth, the Director of Initial Teacher Education at Bangor University’s School of Education said: “We are delighted with this accreditation, and this is an important step in ensuring a better-qualified teaching workforce to support the needs of all learners.

“In this region alone, we have nine special schools and 13,750 pupils with designated Special Educational Needs (SEN). Both within special schools and the main school sector, there’s a recognition that more could be done to support pupils with additional learning needs and neurodiversity in the best way possible.

“Consequently, there’s a real demand for more teachers with specialism in this area in both special and mainstream settings.”

Currently, many students are following mainstream postgraduate or undergraduate programmes and then find themselves being recruited to special education schools or working with pupils with additional learning needs due to the demand for teachers.

This means newly-qualified teachers often retrain on the job without a thorough understanding of the special education sector, underpinned by theory.

Collaboration

“What we’ve done with this new course is co-design a teacher education programme with an additional learning needs element to it, collaborating with lead schools with specialism in this area,” Ms Wordsworth added.

“As part of this particular postgraduate training programme with an ALN specialism, students will undertake placements at special schools to understand the relationship between theory and practice. This means that whether that individual goes on to teach at a special school or a mainstream school with ALN provision, they will be more knowledgeable about additional learning needs and ultimately, support students better.”

Professor Carl Hughes, Head of the School of Education at Bangor University said: “Bangor University is internationally-renowned for its centre of excellence for dyslexia and ALN research and we have strong regional provision within ALN, including excellent schools with nationally-recognised expertise.

“I am delighted that we are introducing this programme to address some of the most pressing needs in supporting our children with ALN, providing pathways for those who would like to specialise in ALN and encouraging more recruitment in this area. If you are looking for an exciting career with real value supporting children with ALN, this would be an excellent choice.”

The programme will work closely with Ysgol St. Christopher’s, in Wrexham, and Ysgol Gogarth, in Llandudno as the two lead schools to support students’ learning.

Teaching placements will also be available in Special schools and ALN units across north Wales and will be available either through Welsh or English.

Full details of the course available here.


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