Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
Members will be aware that on 22 October, I published “A curriculum for Wales, a curriculum for life”, my plan for taking forward the recommendations set out in Successful Futures. The plan sets out how we will build our new broad, balanced, inclusive and challenging curriculum together.
Achieving the full benefits of Successful Futures for our children and young people, will require us all to engage fully and work together in a collaborative process involving the teaching profession, Estyn, local authorities, academics, parents and carers and a wide range of other stakeholders, experts and groups.
The Pioneer Schools Network will be at the forefront of designing the new curriculum and assessment arrangements, and I announced on 5 November the first tranche of schools who will be part of that network. However, there are other key partners involved in the development of the curriculum, Estyn being one of them.
It is fundamental for the Inspectorate to be involved in these developments and to provide its support and rigour to the design and development of the new curriculum framework. Not only will Welsh Government benefit from Estyn’s expertise, it will also allow the Inspectorate to be fully involved in developing the new curriculum. As Estyn will be involved from the outset, it can use the knowledge to inform its inspection framework and methodology going forward.
As Estyn is such a central partner in this process, I am proposing a move to a more flexible approach to inspection by amending regulations to allow Estyn to inspect schools and other providers once within a 7 year period instead of a 6 year period for one inspection cycle. I, in conjunction with Estyn, will review the length of the inspection period thereafter.
I envisage that these changes will come into force in September 2016. This move will enable Estyn to respond more flexibility to their recent consultation on inspections and to consider how best to deploy inspection resources where they are most needed.
My officials are also in discussion with Estyn regarding a refocus of the annual remit, to make it more strategic and to focus on the work of Successful Futures.
I will keep you informed of developments.