Wales Journal of Education, 18(1) pp 64-86
The purpose of this article is twofold: firstly, to discuss what teachers in Wales think about the Welsh Government’s recent education (mainly school) policies, and secondly, to suggest how the educational system in Wales might be improved. It is based on the findings from a general survey conducted by the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) Education. The views of 220 primary and secondary teachers and head teachers were gathered in 2014. The article’s central theme is that teachers in Wales generally welcome policies with a strong element of social justice but believe that there have been too many educational initiatives over recent years. They think the educational system in Wales can be improved through various means, including: reducing bureaucracy, increasing their professional autonomy, supporting quality professional development and clear leadership. The findings are limited by the nature of a small-scale survey but reinforce conclusions reached in other research studies in the United Kingdom, regarding teachers’ criticisms of the pace of curriculum change and initiative overload (Berliner, 2011; NUT, 2014) as well as general pointers towards more effective educational systems (OECD, 2014). For its part, the challenge for the Welsh Government is building consensus at a time when the performance of youngsters in Wales, relative to other countries, is poor.