Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills
On 1 October 2012, I announced a review of assessment and the National Curriculum in Wales. To help inform this review I have asked Dr Elin Jones to chair a task and finish group to look specifically at the teaching of Welsh history, the story of Wales and Curriculum Cymreig.
It is an underlying principle of the National Curriculum that learners aged 7-14 should be given opportunities to develop and apply knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. The Curriculum Cymreig helps learners to understand and celebrate the distinctive quality of living and learning in Wales in the twenty-first century, to identify their own sense of ‘Welshness’ and to feel a heightened sense of belonging to their local community and country. It helps to foster in learners an understanding of an outward-looking and international Wales, promoting global citizenship and concern for sustainable development.
However, there have been significant changes in the curriculum in Wales since the publication of ACCAC’s guidance on ‘Developing the Curriculum Cymreig’ in 2003. At the same time, there has been a significant growth in interest in the history of Wales over the last decade.
Meanwhile, online resources to support the study of Welsh history have also continued to grow. The Welsh Government has made significant investment in digitisation through the National Library of Wales, Cymal, and the National Museums & Galleries of Wales’ (NMGW) ‘People’s Collection’. We are also investing heavily in our online educational resources for schools through Hwb and Learning Wales. Along with County Archives services, and private sector family history enterprises, we now have unparalleled access to historical resources in schools.
Taken together, these factors mean that the time is right to look again at the place of Welsh history within the history curriculum, at how the story of Wales can be developed in schools, and at the future of Curriculum Cymreig within this changing landscape. Dr Jones has therefore established a review group, made up of key stakeholders with experience and expertise in Welsh history and its teaching in primary and secondary schools, to look at:
- Whether the Curriculum Cymreig should be best delivered through the discipline of history and, if not, the best means of ensuring that the elements of Curriculum Cymreig are delivered across the curriculum;
- Whether there is sufficient emphasis on Welsh history and the stories of Wales in the teaching of history and the current programme of study; and,
- Whether the teaching of history, from the Foundation Phase through to the Welsh Baac, GCSE and A level sufficiently take account of the latest research and the new resources available about the historical development of Wales to the present day.
Members of the group have been carefully selected for their experience and expertise across heritage, local and national history, BME history, and the range of academic, school and work-based expertise.
I have asked Dr Elin Jones to chair the group. Dr Jones brings a wealth of experience to this agenda and I am very pleased that she has agreed to take this important work forward. In addition, I am grateful to the following individuals who have also agreed to become members of the review:
- Prof Angela John, Aberystwyth University;
- Dr Sian Rhiannon Williams, Cardiff Metropolitan University;
- Sion Jones, Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen;
- Dr Hugh Griffiths, Ysgol Bro Myrddin;
- Paul Nolan, History advisor;
- Nia Williams, Education Coordinator, National Museum and Galleries of Wales;
- Frank Olding, Blaenau Gwent Heritage Officer;
- Dr Stephanie Ward, Cardiff University;
- David Stacey, Olchfa Comprehensive School;
- Dr Martin Johnes, UC Swansea;
- William Rogers, Queen Street School, Blaenau Gwent;
- Nicola Thomas, Cornist Park School
The group will report to me by July 2013 and provide recommendations on the way forward.