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Teacher knows best

7 March 2016

Teacher standing in class with whiteboard

Teachers’ views put first in designing school engagement programme

Welsh teachers are getting a chance to have a direct say on how to get more students into university thanks to a unique project led by Cardiff University.   

Cardiff University has, for the first time, brought teachers into the heart of its school engagement programme through its School-University Partnership Initiative.

Funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) the three-year initiative is designed to create structured and strategic mechanisms for HEIs to work in partnership with secondary schools and FE colleges.

While many UK universities already consult with teachers Cardiff University is unique in setting up dedicated teacher advisory panels that advise on all matters related to school engagement from curriculum-linked activities to research-led engagement.

“The people who know what works best are often those who do the job day-in-day-out,” said Sue Diment, who developed and runs Cardiff University’s Schools Partnership Project programme.

“That’s why we took the decision to put teachers at the heart of our school engagement programme. Having people from the frontline will help ensure that our engagement work and activities reflect the needs of teachers and their students,” she added. 

One of the fundamental principles of the innovative approach is that teachers and university staff work as equal partners.

Dr Mike Beer a teacher at St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College, Cardiffwho is a member of one of the University’s new teacher advisory panels, said: “Getting teachers involved in the development of activities through teacher advisory panels is a real strength, as co-produced activities are better received by schools and college.

“In addition to activity development the teacher advisory panels provide an opportunity for teachers to ask questions and find out more about what the University offers.”

He believes having such a direct input can only help support teachers in raising student’s aspirations and encourage even more into university.

Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students, Professor Patricia Price, added: “I am extremely pleased Cardiff University is leading the way in encouraging partnership working to support even more children to go to university. 

“This unique project ensures the views of some of the most important people, namely teachers, are heard and they are able to have a real influence on the way we work with local schools.”

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