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Open University appoints new teacher training lead for Wales

Sarah Stewart

The Open University in Wales has today welcomed Sarah Stewart as Director of its new Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) programme for Wales.

Sarah will lead a brand new bilingual PGCE programme, creating an alternative route into teaching and a more flexible way to study.

From 2020, students will be able to study part-time for the qualification alongside work or other commitments. They will also learn with their tutor and fellow students online, removing the need to travel to a university. 

After qualifying as an English teacher 13 years ago, Sarah taught in several locations, from a Welsh-medium school in rural Pembrokeshire to an inner-city academy. After completing her master’s degree in Education, she joined Trinity St David in 2013 as a professional tutor on the PGCE programme. She went on to become the course’s Deputy Director, then Programme Director for the MA in Education. 

Sarah is also starting the third year of her doctorate in Education. She said: “I’m thrilled to join The Open University in Wales, which has a trusted reputation for making high-quality distance learning programmes available to a range of students.” 

“I’m eager to start leading trainee teachers into one of the best professions available. It’s an exciting time to be a part of education in Wales, with a new reform agenda aimed at giving children every opportunity to succeed.”

The OU in Wales has a clear focus on social justice and inclusion. Its mission in education is to open up teaching to students from all parts of Wales, and from all walks of life.

Sarah Stewart, Director of PGCE Programme in Wales

The OU will partner with schools and all four regional education consortia for education in Wales to provide the necessary work-based learning for the PGCE. Staff currently working in schools will also be able to take an employment-based route, and train onsite. This option is expected to be particularly popular with graduate teaching assistants looking to progress their careers, as they will be able to learn while they earn and contribute to their local school and community.

Louise Casella, Director of The Open University in Wales added:

''A huge welcome to Sarah to the OU in Wales. She brings with her a wealth of experience as someone who knows what it’s like to teach in a classroom, as well as training teachers to do the same. Sarah joins us in the middle of our 50th anniversary celebrations, and the PGCE course is just the latest example of the innovative learning we’ve introduced since being founded in 1969. 

''Schools in Wales and their pupils deserve the best teachers around. Our flexible training will attract students with varied career and life experiences which they can bring to the job. It will also allow them to carry on working, and, crucially, stay in their local areas.”

A pilot scheme will start in April 2020 for a small cohort of students to undertake work-based teacher training in science. In the following October, further subjects will be added as well as a primary teacher training route. More information on how to apply for the course will be available in the coming months on

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