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Written Statement - A curriculum for  Wales, a curriculum for life

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

I am delighted to share with members A Curriculum for Wales, a curriculum for life, my plan for taking forward Professor Graham Donaldson’s recommendations set out in Successful Futures, which I accepted in full in my oral statement to you all on 30th June. The plan is being launched at today’s National Head Teacher’s Conference.

My ambition is for our new curriculum to be taught in schools and settings by 2021.  A Curriculum for Wales, a curriculum for life, sets out the high level timeline for achieving this aim. It sets out the steps we will take, working with the profession, to build a new national curriculum for Wales. It builds on the support signalled through the Great Debate and explicitly addresses one of the objectives within Qualified for Life which set out our long-term vision for education in Wales that:

Learners in Wales will enjoy teaching and learning that inspires them to succeed, in an education community that works co-operatively and inspires to be great, where the potential of every child and young person is actively developed.  

Achieving the full benefits of Successful Futures for our children and young people, together with Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers and the New Deal for the Education Workforce will require us all to engage fully and work together. This will be a collaborative process that will involve the teaching profession, Estyn, local authorities, academics, parents/carers, businesses and a wide range of other stakeholders, experts and groups. To ensure we get it right, we will need to strike the right balance between proceeding at pace so that the new curriculum is available as soon as possible, with our desire to develop the new curriculum in partnership with schools and other partners.  

Our new curriculum will be a curriculum for all of the children and young people in Wales; with the four purposes at its heart. As we move forward together the development of the new curriculum will be:

  • Evidence led
  • Based on subsidiarity
  • Ambitious and inclusive
  • Manageable, with pace, passion and professionalism
  • Unified
The Pioneer Schools Network will be at the forefront of designing the new curriculum and assessment arrangements with expert advice and support. They will work as part of an all-Wales Partnership that will include curriculum and assessment experts, and other key stakeholders, including Estyn.

Pioneer Schools will work with their wider school clusters and networks and beyond, including PRUs, non-maintained settings and further education colleges to ensure that as many learning providers as possible are part of the design and development process. They will share thinking, test ideas and keep them up-to-date with latest developments as the curriculum and assessment framework develops. Robust quality assurance processes will be put in place to ensure we fulfil our ambition to develop a world-leading curriculum.

A curriculum for Wales, a curriculum for life sets out what needs to happen, when it needs to happen and the roles of all involved. The plan is not ‘set in stone’: we will make changes or amendments as needed through the development process and we will update you on the progress of the plan.

The new arrangements will only be successful if they are implemented well at classroom level in every school and setting across Wales. We will build on what already works and support practitioners to develop their pedagogical skills by transforming Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) as set out in Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers and supporting the professional development of practitioners and leaders through the New Deal.

This is an exciting and challenging time with Wales at the fore-front of curriculum reform.  Our task is ambitious. I am looking forward to working in partnership with all those involved to ensure the successful implementation of the recommendations set out in Successful Futures to help achieve our goals of better learning and higher standards for the young people in Wales.