Celebrating our accreditation as a Living Wage employer!

May 15, 2019

We are delighted to announce that Portal is now an accredited Living Wage Employer! This means that every member of staff working for Portal will earn a real Living Wage, as a minimum.

The real Living Wage is higher than the government’s minimum, or National Living Wage, and is an independently calculated hourly rate of pay that is based on the actual cost of living. It is calculated each year and is announced by the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week. It is currently £9.00 in the UK, with a higher rate of £10.55 for London, reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital.

Over 4,700 organisations, including Portal, voluntarily choose to pay the real Living Wage because we believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. 

This commitment applies to not only directly employed staff but also to our third party contracted staff. We are really proud of this commitment and are pleased to share the good news with our learners, customers and other stakeholders.

How does this tie into the values of the organisation?

We are proud to be a company who puts our staff at the heart of all we do.

Our mission is to be a leading training and development provider with brilliant people achieving excellence in all we do. 

Gaining this accreditation demonstrates two of our four core valuesWe show respect to colleagues by ensuring that we provide staff with a fair day's pay for a hard day's work. We strive to be brilliant - this is only possible with the support and hard work of our colleagues! 

Further Information
You can find out more about the Living Wage by visiting

Portal Promise: Relationships, Diversity and Inclusion

February 27, 2019

Our next Portal Promise event will focus on the importance of good relationships in schools and organisations. The free session will be delivered by Andy Williams, former deputy head who has worked in a variety of school settings including assistant and headship roles, and was awarded National Teacher of the Year.

Areas we'll be exploring during the session

  • The value of improving mental health in the school setting through connection, purpose and affirmation

  • A school’s capacity for nurturing healthy relationships

  • How staff and students listen and speak to each other

  • Consider whether the school’s values are bringing people together or keeping them apart

  • What practical approaches are there to successfully implementing improved relationships?


What you need to know

Date                               26 March 2019
Time                              3.30pm Registration for a 4.00pm Start
Location                        Ocean Park House, East Tyndall Street, Cardiff, CF24 5ET
Who should attend      ILM learners, senior school leaders, school middle managers
Cost                                Free to attend

Swansea students to clean up with exciting soapbox initiative!

January 14, 2019

On Wednesday 16th January, students at Penyrheol Comprehensive School in Gorseinon will enjoy a fantastic day of enterprise, business and STEM activities as they work together on an Enterprise Soapbox initiative.


The activity has been made possible due to two former pupils’ award-winning achievements in following the innovative Sweet* Personal and Social Development (PSD) Programme of resources.


Sandy Saunders and Lee Rayner were awarded Most Outstanding Sweet* Student and an Achievement of Excellence, respectively.


“We are delighted to see the impact the Sweet* Programme is having on learners of all abilities from across Wales, as evidenced in the winning entries from both Sandy and Lee. We are pleased to be able to provide such an exciting educational opportunity to the students at Penyrheol Comprehensive School, to be able to put into practice the skills they’ve learnt.”

Gwawr Booth, Managing Director, Portal Training


Enterprise Soapbox is a cross-curricular educational workshop for enterprise, business or STEM where students work together to imagine, plan, design, manufacture, package, promote and even pitch their own real soap product.

Students will have the opportunity to work with realistic business roles and aims, with the team becoming a business for the session and will need to work closely to produce their best results. As a business simulation, Enterprise Soapbox works so well because creativity, practicality, design, finance and leadership skills are all needed under time pressures. The session will put into practice the fantastic practical skills the students have learnt as part of the Sweet* BTEC Level 1 / 2 programme they’ve been following.


Further information:

Lucy Hopkins​

Marketing Manager

Portal ‑ Hyfforddwyr Addysg / Educational Trainers  | 02920 474060

Find out more about our Sweet* Programme. Visit

Inconsistency in leadership identified by Estyn

December 04, 2018

Estyn have today published their annual report which summarises their latest findings and analysis on education and training in Wales.

Their key findings include:

  • Leadership is inconsistent in half of secondary schools in Wales

  • Leadership is good or excellent in a half of secondary schools. It is adequate and needs improvement in four-in-ten and unsatisfactory in around one-in-ten schools.

  • Standards are good or better in just over eight-in-ten primary schools.

  • Leadership and management are good or better in eight-in-ten primary schools. In the most effective schools, leaders have a clear vision and share this successfully with staff and stakeholder


Portal training are currently working with 482 school middle leaders across Wales to deliver the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) Level 4 and Level 5 in Leadership and Management, which is fully funded.

We are delighted to be working with many of the schools identified by Estyn as excellent. If you’re working in schools in Wales and are a

  • practising middle manager;

  • aspiring middle manager;

  • have significant experience in working at a middle management level; or

  • are aspiring to senior leadership, i.e. Head of Department, Assistant Head;

and are interested in our fully funded Leadership and Management qualifications, please contact Gwawr Booth for more details.

Success at our Portal Promise free CPD event

November 05, 2018

Our recent free CPD event on Managing Challenging Employees which took place on 25th October in North Wales was a great success.


The Welsh language event was led by Darwin Gray Employment Law Partner Fflur Jones and was specifically tailored for head teachers and other senior school leaders. 


This interactive session was case-study based and looked at mental health issues in the workplace, implementing procedures, managing difficult conversations and utilising disciplinary measures.


The event also looked at how different situations with employees can cause problems from a capability point of view, and how to deal with them in a way that is legally effective, so as to avoid costly repercussions such as tribunals.


"Great. Much of my time is currently going to deal with human resource problems"

Deputy Headteacher, Comprehensive School, Anglesey


We’re in the process of arranging our next Portal Promise Event, which will take place in the new year. Sign up to our mailing list to receive details of this and future events.

Further Information


If you have a question about our Portal Promise or other CPD opportunities, or if you’d like to find out more about the range of ILM and DCF qualifications available, please contact a member of the team:


Sarah Evans | Senior Relations Manager | 07713 28795

Teachers head to Finland for two-week CPD opportunity

October 21, 2018

Five Welsh teachers will be Finland bound for a fantastic CPD opportunity this October.

Educational training provider Portal Training has successfully led a consortium bid to fund the senior teachers from across Wales to visit and learn from their Helskinki-based counterparts.

The Erasmus+ funded project will enable the five teachers to spend time with educational professionals in the Finnish education system, widely regarded as having one of the best education systems in the world, to focus on leadership and management practises.

James Allen from St. Clears, Carmarthenshire will join Aled Jones of Pontypridd, Catrin Jones of Crymych, Pembrokeshire, James Smith of Llanharan, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Julie Williams of Wrexham, to observe and take part in a range of different teaching practices including digital learning, shared leadership, co-teaching and inclusive classroom activities.

The exciting opportunity was opened up to school leaders currently following or who have completed Portal’s higher apprenticeship in Leadership and Management qualification.  

The comprehensive 2 week programme will cover primary through to secondary education and is set to provide a wealth of ideas and teaching practices which the teachers will then be able to implement into their own teaching here in Wales.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Nerys Evans, Director of Strategy | 07968 299846 | 029 2047 4060

Portal welcomes acknowledgement in Estyn report on Higher Apprenticeships

September 19, 2018

Estyn have today published their report on Higher Apprenticeships, and acknowledges the good work being undertaken at PortalTraining in delivering Higher Apprenticeships to middle and senior leaders in schools across Wales.


In addition to showcasing our approach in ensuring all of our assessors have to complete the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualification at level 5 to make sure that they understand the requirements of the qualification, our Elevating Excellence sessions have also been noted.


These are professional development sessions for senior leaders and middle leaders and teachers, and over the last year they have been on a variety of topics including on Managing Difficult Conversations and Professional Teaching and Leadership Standards amongst other things. They are branded ‘Portal Promise’ events as they are provided at no cost to schools or attendees.


On the evaluation of our Portal promise event Estyn commented that

“These sessions are well attended and valued by learners on the higher apprenticeship programme.”


Our next Portal Promise event will be held on the 25th of October in the Galeri, Caernarfon with Employment Lawyer Fflur Jones from Darwin Gray on managing difficult employees and HR practices.


The Estyn report provides and useful summary of the provision across Wales, and a useful benchmark. We are proud that we are one of the highest achieving Higher Apprenticeship provision in Wales. During 2016 – 2017, 81% of our learners achieved their qualification, compared to a sector average 71% in our learning area, and 77% across all sector subject areas.


Bilingualism is at the heart of everything we do at Portal, and we share the Estyn’s concerns that few learners take up the opportunity to study through the medium of welsh, or bilingually.


We offer all of our learners this opportunity and are pleased to be bucking the national trend. In 2016 – 2017, 18% of our learners followed the course through the medium of Welsh or bilingually – 11% through the medium of Welsh and 7% bilingually. this is a significantly higher percentage than the sector average in which only 4% of apprenticeships were completed in Welsh or bilingually in 2014 - 2015, with only 0.3% in Welsh only. The figure for higher apprenticeships is even lower at less than 2% being followed bilingually or Welsh only for the same year.


However, we are not complacent in this area and wish to increase this figure further this year and have plans in place to do so.


We value this report and its content as an important development in how to improve Higher apprenticeship provision across Wales, and we look forward to seeing how Welsh Government responds to the challenges presented.

We are currently delivering 458 higher apprenticeships in Leadership and Management mostly to middle and senior school leaders across Wales within the current Apprenticeship framework and look forward to working with Welsh Government and others as we all work to improve the provision across the board to better suit the needs of our learners and their employers in the future.


Details of the next Portal promise events can be found (

Do contact for more information or to book your place.

Sweet* success for young learners

September 19, 2018

Pupils win recognition for their achievements in national awards


Pupils from Penyrheol Comprehensive School, Swansea, Bryngwyn Comprehensive School, Llanelli and Abertillery Learning Community have been awarded with prizes for their achievements in following an innovative BTEC course in Personal and Social Development (PSD). 


Osprey’s star Lloyd Ashley visited Penyrheol Comprehensive school to award former pupils Sandy Saunders and Lee Rayner awards for the Most Outstanding Sweet* student, and an Achievement of Excellence.

Sweet* (Succeeding with employment, education and training) has been developed by Portal Training and was originally designed to be a resource that could combat some of the barriers learners faced when trying to engage in any form of learning.  It is being delivered in 148 schools and centres in Wales and England, to over 7000 learners.

Portal’s Managing Director, Gwawr Booth commented 

“We started to develop sweet* 7 years ago, and it was originally designed to be a resource that could combat some of the barriers learners faced when trying to engage in any form of learning.

It has evolved over the years to the course that Penyrheol, and nearly another 150 centres are delivering across Wales and beyond, which is much more comprehensive and aimed at all young learners. It tackles important life skills such as money matters, personal identity and managing relationships.

We are delighted to see the impact it is having on learners, as evidenced in the winning entries from Sandy and Lee.”

The competition was open to all 7000 learners following sweet* and learners had to evidence how it has helped them gain self confidence, create positive relationships, understand and respects people from different backgrounds and helped with gaining employment. 


The competition winners are 1st Prize: Most Outstanding Sweet Student, Sandy Saunders, Penyrheol Comprehensive School.

2nd Prize: Most Exceptional Sweet Student, Kylie Staveley - Bryngwyn Comprehensive School, Llanelli

3rd Prize: Most Creative Sweet Student. Courtney Collier - Abertillery Learning Community

And an Achievement of Excellence to Lee Rayner - Penyrheol Comprehensive School

In her entry, Sandy Saunders outlined how she is now able to budget and manage her money which has led to more confidence whilst out shopping.  She added

“I feel that sweet has had a magnificent positive impact on my self-esteem and especially working with others…. Sweet has also helped me with my future career by teaching to have positive body language and positive self-esteem…. it taught me to recognise my strengths and my weaknesses."

Kylie Staveley from Bryngwyn highlighted how Sweet* helped her as she moved schools in year 11. She said,

“I was so nervous about what was going to happen, but the Sweet programme turned out to be the answer to my problems.”

She added that Sweet* had given her a better understanding of what is required of her in the world outside of school, and also helped her to gain a part time job.

“I learnt about the skills I would need for my dream future career and I completed a skills audits to show what I needed to improve. I completed a challenge to teach children about the skills employers are looking for and about jobs in the future.  I completed research, I spoke to employers face to face and I had the chance to act as team leader and organise my group. I also did a role play interview in front of the children, this is something I would never have had the confidence to do before.  I completed a CV which I used to apply for a part time job, I used my new skills to talk confidently at the interview and I have landed a job in Home Bargains for the summer!  They were impressed that I could talk about the money management module, as saving money for customers is part of the company’s ethos.”


Commenting on the success of their students, Penyrheol’s Headteacher Mr Alan Tootill added

“We are delighted that two of our pupils have been recognised by sweet* for the quality of their work and their commitment to learning. Sweet* is a set of qualifications which enables pupils to develop not just intellectually, but also socially. The young people studying for these qualifications are able to learn about real-life, relevant issues that will support them beyond education and to develop practical skills that can be transferred into employment.”

Rob Jones, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Bryngwyn, Llanelli added

The Sweet* course has been very successful at Bryngwyn school. It is easy to follow and the resources provide plenty of support for staff who deliver the course. Through Sweet* pupils have been able to engage in discussion and activities about relevant issues that will help them as they move onto the next step after compulsory education. Pupils studying the Sweet* course at Bryngwyn have developed their understanding relating to healthy living, relationships, finance and goal setting and have become more confident individuals as a result.”


Rhodri Thomas, Head of Secondary Campus at Abertillery Learning Community added,

“Sweet* has offered a fantastic opportunity for our learners to develop their knowledge and skills using the PSE Framework on topics such as money matters, healthy living and the world of work to name a few. Our after school club was a real success with many of our sweet* learners continuing their development beyond the school day. The success rate at ALC has been very pleasing and we look forward to offering sweet* to our future learners to enable them to access the same opportunities to secure their futures.”


More information

Please contact Nerys Evans, Director of Strategy

Photo 1 (l – r)

Gwawr Booth (Portal Managing Director), Miss C Metcalfe (Specialist Teaching Facility Manager), Lee Rayner, Sandy Saunders, Lloyd Ashley (Osprey’s), Mrs T J Ashford (Teaching Assistant), Mrs J M Tanner (Deputy Head teacher)


Photo 2 (l-r)

Rob Jones, Assistant Headteacher, Kylie Staveley

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Ffôn: 029 2047 4060

Cyfeiriad: Portal Training, Ocean Park House,
East Tyndall Street, Cardiff CF24 5ET

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