Spain calling……. British College La Cañada, Valencia! Scott Darnell, PGCE Secondary Senior Mentor in our partner school in Spain highlights a ‘special’ partnership

Greetings from Spain……British College La Cañada,

SUPER Teacher Training: Internationalising the Welsh Curriculum


When I took on the role of Secondary Coordinator at British College La Cañada, departing the gloomy urban climes of Cardiff for the sumptuous Mediterranean lures of Valencia, Spain, I always knew that my long-term strategic vision to enhance pupil outcomes was to maintain the close-knit ties with Wales and her re-shaping of the curriculum. Being an ex UWIC / Cardiff Met PGCE student, there was no doubt that injecting talented, enthusiastic fresh blood into my school dynamics would impact hugely on raising standards in terms of my curriculum needs and in forging a strong partnership with Cardiff Met.

In 2015/16, we hosted our first tribe of ready and willing, keen-as-mustard PGCE students, taking them under my wing as Senior Mentor with a team of experienced subject mentors. Albeit small in numbers, the PGCE students that we took on left a legacy and benchmark for future student teachers; still our pupils ask after them!

Having invested a lot of time myself in developing the Literacy and Numeracy Framework across schools back in Wales, I knew that this was to be a pillar of the forward-thinking Baccalaureate curriculum that I wanted to create for our brand new secondary department. Knowing that QTS attainment in Wales now requires a huge emphasis on delivering the LNF to high standards as part of the PGCE programme, there is immense benefit of having student teachers participating as one of the team in my department; the wealth and knowledge they bring, as well as the fresh ideas for enhancing these essential lifelong skills cannot be underestimated. The other main pillar to our innovative Baccalaureate curriculum is creativity across the curriculum. I am very excited about welcoming a new batch of talented trainee practitioners later this academic year to see how they can help shape and develop our long-term goal of enhancing expressive and creative talents in all curriculum areas.

To that end, I leave you reflecting on what makes our partnership with Cardiff Met so ‘SUPER’: the self-control, the unity, the passion and perseverance, the effort and enthusiasm, and the respect. These are all values that my pupils live and breath in their classes. They are values that I embodied and took on 8 years ago as the new kid on the block, training in Mary Immaculate High School in Cardiff; values that the PGCE programme and other training schools working with Cardiff Met students instil and champion in the practitioners of tomorrow. For me, the magic lies in embracing the skills that trainees bring, whilst developing, enhancing and perfecting their practices to give them the best opportunities to hit that ground running faster than Usain Bolt as outstanding Newly Qualified Teachers. And what better way to internationalise the Curriculum Cymreig than to hear a Spanish native say in an English accent: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch … try that with a sangría in your hand!

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