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pounds 5m to help boost teachers' skills.

Byline: Margaret O'Reilly

UP to 5,000 Welsh teachers could soon be travelling the world to discover the secrets of classroom success.

The National Assembly is giving the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) pounds 5m this year to fund bursaries to boost teachers' skills.

All teachers will be able to apply for grants, covering everything from study trips abroad to whole school conferences.

Jane Davidson, Welsh Education Minister, announced funding for the second year of the Continuing Professional Development Fund shortly after returning from a fact-finding trip of her own to Cuba.

She was able to swap ideas for education with Fidel Castro and learn about Cuba's approach to the early years, the move to secondary school and post-16 education.

Around 1,400 teachers have already benefited from the pounds 1.5m allocated in the first year of the pilot scheme.

Projects included improving pupils' handwriting and IT skills and helping them cope with emotional upheaval.

This year the range of grants has been expanded.

Individual teachers will be able to apply for up to pounds 1,500 to study best practice abroad while schools will be eligible for up to pounds 30,000 for projects to help all members of staff.

Ms Davidson said: "It confirms the assembly's commitment to ensuring that every teacher has access to professional development."

She said teachers could choose to look at ways of tackling disaffection and truancy, improving literacy and numeracy or building classroom relationships.

The Echo recently revealed how one group of teachers is planning a trip to NASA to discover how space is used to bring science lessons to life in American schools.

Gary Brace, chief executive of the GTCW, said he hoped that the scheme would motivate existing teachers, attract new recruits to the profession and raise classroom standards.

Geraint Davies, speaking on behalf of all the teaching unions, said: "Teachers need to be motivated and given the best tools for the job and this scheme will go a long way towards securing them."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 12, 2002
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