UWTSD PhD

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Lead: Andy Penaluna, Research Director, International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)
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In short

EntreComp informed and integrated into development of a Professional Education Doctorate

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has been leading teacher-level support for entrepreneurial learning since 2010, and has recently developed an innovative Professional Education Doctorate (EdD), designed specifically for those involved in education and working across a range of occupations: teachers, leaders and managers in schools, lecturers in higher and further education institutions, voluntary and third sector officers, local authority and regional consortia staff, training organisations and so on. It is a programme that will provide the skills and knowledge to interrogate research, critique theory, and conduct robust research which will impact on policy and practice in their area of professional activity. EntreComp has informed the development of the EdD and is being applied in two ways:

  • To inform the research process
  • As an aid to assess students’ performance

EntreComp informs the research process

Although all university developments in the UK are based on the institution’s Quality Code and guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, most are focused on undergraduate degrees, master’s courses and research PhDs. Very little is aimed at schools’ level. Universities offering teacher training have to bridge this gap; EntreComp has helped with this.

The EntreComp framework was chosen to design this EdD programme because research-informed approaches are central to any doctoral-level programme. EntreComp, having been produced and developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, has the necessary kudos for this level of academic enquiry. EntreComp was used at the outset of developing this programme, as it provided the clearest teacher-facing guidance that could be found. It underpins the content and learner evaluation aspects of this programme; provided a framework for the taught elements of the programme, as well as assisting in individuals’ evaluation and assessment.

EntreComp as an aid to assess students’ performance as Welsh education system changes

A UK university has detailed guidelines to adhere to when writing new course provisions, partly to ensure that external perspectives have been considered and that learning progression can be carefully mapped in a clear and transparent way. Simply put, learners wish to understand how their work will be graded, and educators need to ensure everything is fair and robust.

The Successful Futures report was adopted by the Welsh Government in 2015, and marks a step change in the way that enterprise is considered. As of 2021, it will become one of four ‘pillars’ of the Welsh curriculum. UWTSD’s first step was to compare this to its existing teacher-training modules. One module developed in 2010 had been recognised as EU best practice within the EU and this provided the springboard for the new programme to be developed, reviewed and approved.

Answering the needs of educators to have access to professional learning opportunities amid education system changes

The Welsh Government is committed to a radical overhaul of education provision and to provide opportunities for those within the education profession to access meaningful and effective professional learning opportunities. This requires programmes of initial teacher education that are highly effective in developing knowledgeable, capable, reflective professionals who are well versed in research and practical evidence about pedagogic decisions and their impact on learners. The review requires existing education professionals to radically re-think the approach taken to curriculum planning, implementation and evidence-based evaluation. There is a significant need for leaders across the education landscape to be capable, critically informed and effective to attain the vision for Wales as an international leader in its education system. It is widely acknowledged that there is a link between the quality of leadership and the quality of outcomes for learners.

The aim of the UWTSD EdD programme is to respond to policy recommendations that senior teachers and teacher managers should undertake research related to the new curriculum that is being introduced in all schools in Wales, especially as the development of entrepreneurial skills are central to these recommendations. The benefits seen are that teachers and teacher managers, especially head teachers, are keen to engage in doctoral-level work that supports entrepreneurial learning right across the country. To many, this is new territory and EntreComp supports the idea that teachers can promote and position their schools through the way that they engage with entrepreneurial endeavours.

UWTSD is set to continue providing teacher-level support for entrepreneurial learning with new modules already in development for formal university validation at initial teacher training, continuous professional development and master’s levels, with EntreComp at their core.