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Education is changing

The school curriculum is changing so we can prepare our children better for a changing world.

What is changing?

The biggest change is a new curriculum in Wales from September 2022. The curriculum has been made in Wales but shaped by the best ideas from around the world.

There will also be changes to improve the way learners are assessed, plus new ways of training staff, and helping schools improve. These changes will all complement the new curriculum.

Why must we make these changes? 

The national curriculum was first introduced in 1988 before on-line shopping, Google and the Cloud. Now, work is different, technology is different, society is changing. The curriculum must prepare young people to thrive in a future where digital skills, adaptability and creativity - alongside knowledge - are crucial, especially as:

“Given the scale and pace of change, it is likely that many children in primary school today will work in jobs that either do not exist today, or at least have constituent tasks that are very different from those of today

The Future of Work in Wales, Mair Bell, Dan Bristow and Steve Martin, Public Policy Institute for Wales
(1 November 2017)

We want children to enjoy learning, and develop skills, knowledge and emotional resilience.  By the age of 16, they should be confident, ethical individuals who play an active part in their community and society. They should be prepared to thrive in the new world of work.

When will it happen?

The new curriculum will be taught to those up to Year 6 from September 2022. Yr 7 and 8 will all be taught with it from 2023 and it will then roll out year by year until it includes Year 11 by 2026.

School year


2023 2024 2025 2026

Up to Year 7

New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum
Year 8 Existing curriculum New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum
Year 9 Existing curriculum Existing curriculum New curriculum New curriculum New curriculum
Year 10 Existing curriculum Existing curriculum Existing curriculum New curriculum New curriculum
Year 11 Existing curriculum Existing curriculum Existing curriculum Existing curriculum New curriculum

Existing curriculum Existing curriculum

New curriculum New curriculum

This children, young people and families’ version of the new curriculum explains the new curriculum in a straightforward way.

For a much more detailed picture you can see the whole suite of Curriculum Guidance as provided for schools.

New pupil assessment arrangements will also be introduced to help learners (and parents) understand how they are performing and what they need to do next.

Improvements will also be made to the support for children with additional learning needs. Support for physical and mental well-being will be increased – especially in light of the pandemic - so all children are ready to learn at school and cope with the demands of life.

What could this look like in schools?

Pupils at Olchfa School give their thoughts on how their curriculum is delivered.

Will there be changes to the school year?

The Government will take forward its manifesto commitment to review the rhythm of the school year, through a national conversation, with opportunities for parents, students, education staff, private and public sector workers and employers to give their views.

Will the way children learn change?

The way children learn in primary and secondary schools will be different. Learning will include skills and experiences, as well as knowledge.

Teachers will have more freedom to teach in ways they feel will have the best outcomes for their learners.

What about the current ‘Key Stages’?

Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 will disappear. The principles of the Foundation Phase will remain, but will become a part of one seamless curriculum for children aged 3 to 16, providing more joined-up learning.

Progression steps will now be in place at age 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16 years of age, relating to broad expectations of a child’s progress.

Will traditional subjects still be taught?

The Curriculum for Wales groups subjects into six Areas of Learning and Experience. Specific subjects will still be taught, but schools can decide to combine them so learners understand the links between them. In humanities for example a topic like climate change can be looked at holistically through geography, history and impact on society. Literacy, numeracy and digital competence will be taught to all throughout their schooling.

The six Areas of Learning and Experience are:

  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Well-being
  • Humanities
  • Languages, Literacy and Communication
  • Mathematics and Numeracy 
  • Science and Technology

See our videos and presentations for more information about each of the Areas of Learning and Experience.

What will happen with assessment?

Assessment will take place on a day to day basis to assess each individual’s progress, agree next steps and monitor progress over time. It will not be used to make a one-off judgement at a set age or point in time.  

Will children still study for GCSEs?

GCSEs will still exist but will change to reflect the changing curriculum, so may look quite different from today's GCSEs. Advice and support will be given to learners choosing their options as they prepare for their future careers.

What’s changing with Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)?

In 2022 a new code will make clear what should be taught within RSE. It will include learning about healthy relationships, keeping safe including online, and being confident to raise issues with responsible adults. Teaching will be age-appropriate, gradually building learners’ knowledge, skills and ethical values.

Faith groups and others representing children’s interests have helped teaching professionals to develop the code.