Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education
Today I have published our analysis of the 1,680 responses we received during the feedback phase on the draft Curriculum for Wales guidance. This included views of practitioners, teachers, senior leaders, and governors from nursery, primary and secondary schools as well as funded non-maintained nursery settings and parents. We also sought the views specifically of children and young people through 24 focus groups throughout Wales.
The volume and depth of feedback is testament to the quality of input we have received and we have considered the responses carefully and in detail. The reports provide:
- A summary of the feedback received, identifying key trends and findings; and
- The analysis of feedback from children and young people.
From the feedback it is clear that there is broad support for the ethos and approach of the new curriculum, the greater agency offered to teachers within the curriculum and the emphasis on assessment to inform teaching and learning. The feedback also highlighted a number of ways in which the guidance can be improved. There were two broad themes:
- The guidance should be simplified, including the language and concepts used to communicate aspects of the curriculum, and the structure and presentation.
- The guidance would benefit from greater depth and detail in certain places to help practitioners and teachers understand how to implement the curriculum in practice.
The detailed nature of many of the responses, particularly those from practitioners, special interest groups and public sector organisations provides useful feedback and challenge for the refinement process. The guidance will benefit significantly from the feedback and the opportunity to look at the curriculum as a whole, not just each individual component separately.
Since the start of September, the Quality Improvement practitioners have been participating in workshops supported by representatives from the regional consortia, Estyn, Qualifications Wales and Welsh Government, to refine the guidance in the light of the feedback. The focus has been on:
- Simplifying the guidance and ensuring the structure and terminology are clear and signal the intended behaviours;
- Drawing out guidance for schools to design a curriculum;
- Aligning curriculum and assessment more overtly;
- Ensuring the essential learning and progression is clearly and accurately articulated; and
- Addressing specific issues for each Area of Learning and Experience.
Practitioners are being supported by a range of experts including:
- Two meetings of the Curriculum and Assessment Group (CAG), representing expertise in curriculum design to support and guide the principles of refinement;
- Bilingual editors to ensure clarity and coherence of the guidance as a whole; and
- Area specific experts and stakeholder organisations to support the refinement of more detailed elements of the guidance.
In January, we will publish the Curriculum for Wales framework for initial design purposes and we are working with partners across the middle tier to develop shared expectations for schools in responding to the curriculum framework and preparing for 2022.
Work will continue beyond January to develop additional material, for example a curriculum framework for funded non-maintained settings to implement and specific guidance for Pupil Referral Units and providers of Education otherwise than at school (EOTAS).
As part of our ongoing engagement with OECD to support education reform, I commissioned an updated assessment of curriculum realisation and related reforms. The OECD will publish the report of their findings in the spring and it will help inform the next stages of our reforms.