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Less than a quarter of Welsh teachers pay full attention to online training

Calls are being made for reform to professional learning for teachers in Wales after a survey revealed less than a quarter are paying full attention to online training sessions.

In a poll of 203 teachers by education company Impact Wales, only 23% said they were fully focused when accessing online professional learning.

Of the remaining 77%, some 39% said they were planning or marking at the same time, while 14% said they were tidying the room.

Most shocking of all, 24% admitted they were elsewhere while the online learning session was taking place.

Finola Wilson, a director of Impact Wales, said: “Since the pandemic, publicly funded professional learning for teachers has moved almost entirely online and it is increasingly taking place after school hours.

“It’s not surprising, given the pressures teachers are facing, that they are being forced to multitask, but the number who admit to not fully focusing on professional learning should come as a shock to providers of that professional learning.”

The Welsh Government launched its ‘national approach to professional learning’ in 2018 to meet the needs of Curriculum for Wales.

It said it aimed to create “a professional learning vision fit for the evolving education system in Wales”.

Finola Wilson said the survey results showed the approach needs to change now that most sessions are being delivered and accessed remotely.

“Research shows good professional learning is one of the most effective ways of improving school standards,” she said.

“But if teachers are not fully engaging with the online sessions, then they won’t be having the intended impact in the classroom.

“You can’t just carry on with the same thing – if it’s not good enough, it needs to change.”

Finola said the quality of online professional learning sessions should be reviewed to ensure they are using research-informed approaches.

“It’s very difficult to measure engagement when you are not in the room with someone. If training is going to be online then design it so you are checking engagement during the session, using surveys and polls for example. Then you can use that data to plan for future professional learning.”