From 1st September 2022, Wales introduced a new curriculum that will replace phases and key stages with one continuum of learning for all children and young people aged between 3 and 16 years.
In this blog, we break down the introduction of the new Curriculum for Wales as well as the proposed time frames from the Welsh Government.
The purpose of the Curriculum for Wales guidance is to help schools develop their own curriculum and enable their learners to develop toward the four purposes of the curriculum:
- Ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives
- Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
- Ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
- Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society
As well as schools this guidance is relevant to:
- Funded non-maintained nursery settings
- Pupil referral units (PRUs)
- Those responsible for the provision of education other than at school (EOTAS) in other settings, enabling them to develop an understanding of the Curriculum for Wales Framework
The guidance sets out the following:
- The requirements for all learners aged 3 to 16, to ensure that all schools in Wales cover the same core learning with a consistent approach for all learners
- Guidelines for schools on how to develop their curriculum
- Expectations in regard to assessment arrangements to support students’ progression
A vision for every school’s curriculum
Hwb, states that “improving education is our national mission”, and “nothing is so essential as universal access to, and acquisition of, the experiences, knowledge, and skills that our young people need for employment, lifelong learning, and active citizenship.”
The guidance is a clear statement of what is important when delivering a broad and balanced education. The four purposes mentioned above, are the shared vision for every child and young person. These set high expectations for all members of the community and Hwb hopes that the four purposes will help:
- Promote individual and national well-being
- Tackle ignorance and misinformation
- Encourage critical and civic engagement
The development of the curriculum should be at the heart of all efforts which seek to raise the standards for all and contribute to the nation’s goals as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The Curriculum for Wales Framework
The Curriculum for Wales guidance forms part of the Curriculum for Wales Framework (Framework) which includes the curriculum requirements set out in legislation and a range of supporting guidance.
The purpose of the guidance is to help schools design their own curriculum, it informs schools on the following:
- Legal requirements
- Information on how to develop a school curriculum
- An explanation of the purposes and principles of assessment
An integrated approach to learning and teaching
The Framework is intended for practitioners to develop a more integrated approach to learning. There are six Areas of Learning and Experience:
- Expressive arts
- Health and wellbeing
- Languages, literacy and communication
- Mathematics and numeracy
- Science and technology
The purpose of these six areas is to bring together familiar disciplines and encourage meaningful links across them, helping to promote collaboration and cross-disciplinary planning, learning and teaching.
Ideally, this cross-disciplinary learning will enable students to develop a deeper knowledge and more sophisticated understanding as they learn, leading them to value how their learning contributes to their lives. Teachers should support the student’s progression through a variety of assessments to better understand where the student is at and what they need to do next.
Designing a School Curriculum
A main feature of the Framework is the requirement for schools to design their own curriculum and assessment arrangements. This approach understands that:
- High-quality learning and teaching are enabled through leadership
- Schools and practitioners are best placed to make decisions regarding the needs of their learners including topics and activities best to support their learning
- The meaning of learning is extremely important and a range of different topics, learning activities and different ways of acquiring knowledge is valuable to students learning
- There is a strong need for innovation and creativity during the learning process
- Practitioners need licence to combine meaningful learning from the six areas, different disciplines and concepts
Therefore, the Framework does not prescribe a complete list of specific topics or activities but sets up the essence of learning which should underpin them. Drawing on the guidance and resources provided, schools must decide what particular experiences, knowledge, and skills will support their learning.
It is also important to note that part of the Curriculum for Wales Framework includes What Matters Statements for each of the six areas of learning and experience. You can read more in The Curriculum for Wales – Statements of What Matters Code, which sets out 27 statements of what matters across the six areas of learning and experience on which all schools must base their curriculum.
It is important to note that the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdowns changed the intended timeframe for the roll-out of the new curriculum. We are now operating to this timeline.
2021-2022: readiness and scoping
- Engaging with a range of schools to understand the different levels of readiness
- Update cost estimates, develop and target vital guidance, and promote wide engagement with schools
- Build on learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic and school closures
2022-2026: Short to medium term
- 1st September the new curriculum comes into play with all schools in Wales required to implement their curriculum for learners up to and including year 7
- Secondary schools expected to roll out their curricula on a year-by-year basis with year 8 in 2023 and year 11 in 2026
- ‘State of the Nation’ publications showcase the achievements to date and report on overall progress as well as challenges and opportunities for improvement
- 2025/2026 first lot of learners will be completing year 9
- Take stock and reflect on the first years of the new curriculum
- Consider the extend in which the learners embody the four purposes
2026 onwards: medium to long term
- 2026 share lessons learnt from the first phase of implementation
- Emerging impacts at national level
- Secondary schools roll out new curricula
- 2027/2028 first learner will be finishing year 11, review their experiences
Free eLearning Course
Are you confused about the New Curriculum for Wales? Concerned by the amount of new information you need to digest? We are here to help! On our Equal Academy we have a free online course “New Curriculum for Wales” which breaks down the curriculum into bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces for all educators