Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Secretary Llŷr Gruffydd will today unveil plans to train experienced, highly-skilled teaching assistants to become teachers.
Addressing Plaid Cymru’s Spring Conference in Llangollen, Llŷr Gruffydd AM will announce this policy designed to contribute towards tackling the looming crisis in teacher recruitment and retention in Wales.
Last summer, Welsh Government figures showed that its target for intake of secondary school trainee teachers was missed by a third in 2015/16. Intake for primary school trainees was also below the target.
In 2016/17, there were 26,172 qualified teachers in post across Wales, 697 fewer than five years previously and 2,022 fewer than ten years previously.
Teaching Assistant numbers have increased, with 15,864 Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants in post in 2016/17, 1,327 more than five years previously.
According to the Education Workforce Council, around 3,144 Teaching Assistants have degrees.
"There is a looming crisis in teacher recruitment and retention in Welsh schools.
“We have seen the effects of a doctor shortage on the Welsh NHS and, unless we take action now, our schools will be next.
“We already have a pool of highly-skilled, well-qualified individuals working in the classroom as Teaching Assistants.
“Our policy will allow them to gain Qualified Teacher Status on-the-job.
“Teaching Assistants who are already educated to degree level will be able to apply for places on a bespoke training scheme, delivered by Initial Teacher Education providers.
“The length and intensity of training will be dependent on the relevance of their existing qualifications, skills and experience.
"This will form part of Plaid Cymru’s plan to secure a sufficient, highly-skilled and motivated education workforce.”