Education Minister Kirsty Williams has today (Tuesday 13 October) published an updated action plan setting out the next steps in Wales’ reform journey, ahead of the introduction of the new Curriculum for Wales in 2022.
The action plan, known as Our National Mission, shows the steps the Welsh Government has taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its response to the independent report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last week.
The document highlights the progress made since 2017 when the first iteration of the action plan was first published. Key achievements highlighted include:
- Wales was the only nation in the UK to improve PISA score across all three domains;
- the number of pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds achieving at least one Grade C in a Science GCSE has increased by 30%;
- initial teacher education (ITE) has successfully been reformed, with 50% increase in applications;
- record investment in teacher professional learning and starting salary increases; and
- 100% of schools now access super-fast broadband, compared to 37% in 2016.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
We could not have anticipated that we would be turning this page of history in Welsh education under these circumstances.
The national effort against coronavirus has involved a team of 3.2 million and the education family has met the challenge together, ensuring that our young people are supported with their wellbeing, and with their ability to learn.
The update to Our National Mission that we are publishing today recognises the collective efforts and achievements made so far, takes into consideration the OECD recommendations, and maps the next stage of the journey.
Our continuing education reforms, with Curriculum for Wales at the centre, is truly a shared, national endeavour.
We have strong foundations in place and working together we will continue to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap, and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.
Alongside the updated Our National Mission action plan, the Welsh Government also published a document setting out shared expectations of what curriculum realisation means for practitioners and schools from 2022.
‘Curriculum for Wales: the journey to 2022’ has been created to help schools prepare for designing and implementing their curriculum.
The document has been co-constructed with strategic partners including practitioners, regional consortia and Estyn, and is in direct response to the OECD review.
The Minister continued:
I fully recognise the challenging circumstance schools are facing. While the shared expectations document does not require action at this time, it provides clear direction towards curriculum reform.
This document sets out the roles and responsibilities of the different parts of the education system in supporting schools.
Publishing these expectations is an important milestone towards curriculum change but schools should only use these to support their planning process when their staff and learners are ready.