The Curriculum in Wales in changing and a new curriculum will be in place from September 2022. Here at Abercarn Primary School we are already beginning to implement trial and explore the new curriculum. We are beginning to:
Embed and raise the profile of the Four Core Purposes of the new curriculum.
Create Area of Learning and Experience Teams led by senior staff.
Undertake professional development and allocate new roles to staff.
Design, create and explore a local curriculum suitable for our children.
Embed Growth Mindset principles.
Collaborate with Pioneer Schools.
What is changing?
The biggest change is a new curriculum for schools in Wales from September 2022. It will affect all schools other than independent schools. The curriculum has been made in Wales but shaped by the best ideas from around the world.
There will also be changes to improve how we assess children and young people in education, support children with additional learning needs and teacher and practitioner training and accountability. These improvements will complement the new curriculum.
Why must we make these changes?
Evidence from international surveys, and evaluations from Estyn (the education and training inspectorate for Wales), suggest levels of achievement are not as high as they could be.
The national curriculum was first introduced in 1988 before on-line shopping, Google and the Cloud. Now, work is different, technology is different, society is changing. The curriculum must prepare young people to thrive in a future where digital skills, adaptability and creativity - alongside knowledge - are crucial, especially as:
Since it was created, the curriculum has become narrow, inflexible and crowded, limiting creative approaches in schools.
We want children to enjoy learning, and develop skills, knowledge and emotional resilience. By the age of 16, they should be confident, ethical individuals who play an active part in their community and society. They should be prepared to thrive in the new world of work.
When will it happen?
The new curriculum will be taught in all schools and funded non-maintained settings up to Year 7 from September 2022. It will then roll out year by year until it includes Year 11 by 2026.
Schools will first see the final version of the curriculum in 2020, giving them time to prepare. School leaders and teachers will receive support and training to prepare them between now and 2022.
New pupil assessment arrangements will be introduced alongside the new curriculum. These will help learners and parents understand how they are performing and what they need to do next.
The way children learn in primary and secondary schools will be different. Learning will include skills and experiences, as well as knowledge.
What about the current ‘Key Stages’?
Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 will disappear. The principles of the Foundation Phase will remain, but will become a part of one seamless curriculum for children aged 3 to 16, providing more joined-up learning.
Progression steps will now be in place at age 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16 years of age, relating to broad expectations of a child’s progress.
Will traditional subjects still be taught?
Subjects will be grouped into six Areas of Learning and Experience but this doesn’t mean an end to traditional subjects. For example, in the Humanities Area of Learning and Experience, History will still be taught but perhaps with broader context by comparing its religious and societal impact to events happening today.
The six Areas of Learning and Experience are:
Health and Well-being
Languages, Literacy and Communication
Mathematics and Numeracy
Science and Technology
What will happen with assessment?
Children will continue to be assessed and this will focus on ensuring that all pupils understand where they are and what they need to do next in order to progress. The change includes a move to online Personalised Assessments from National Tests.