The school curriculum:
- focuses on the learner
- ensures that appropriate skills development is woven throughout the curriculum
- offers reduced subject content with an increased focus on skills
- focuses on continuity and progression 3-19, by building on the Foundation Phase and linking effectively with the 14-19 Learning Pathways programme
- is flexible
- supports Government policy, including: bilingualism, Curriculum Cymreig/Wales, Europe and the World, equal opportunities, food and fitness, sustainable development and global citizenship, and the world of work and entrepreneurship
- continues to deliver a distinctive curriculum that is appropriate for Wales
The school curriculum comprises the following areas:
- Foundation Phase
- Skills development
- national curriculum
- personal and social education
- sex education
- careers and the world of work
- religious education
With the introduction of the Foundation Phase, Key Stage 1 is being phased out.
Starting in 2008, the Foundation Phase will be implemented over four years as follows:
- 1 August 2008 for all 3 to 4-year-olds in the Foundation Phase
- 1 August 2009 for all 4 to 5-year-olds in the Foundation Phase
- 1 August 2010 for all 5 to 6-year-olds in the Foundation Phase
- 1 August 2011 for all 6 to 7-year-olds in the Foundation Phase
From these dates, the existing national curriculum for Key Stage 1 is superseded.
Where it is still applicable, Key Stage 1 covers two years from ages 5-7, and, by law, schools must teach the basic and the national curriculum to these pupils. Key Stage 2 covers 7-11 and Key Stage 3 covers 11-14 and are subject to the same requirements.
At Key Stage 4 the only statutory subjects are English, Welsh 1st or 2nd Language, mathematics, science and physical education.
The national curriculum consists of:
- Welsh second language
- Design and Technology
- Information Technology
- Physical Education
* There is no statutory requirement to teach English at Key Stage 1 in Welsh-medium schools.
The basic curriculum consists of religious education (RE) and personal and social education (PSE), and primary schools are required to have a policy on sex education.
All schools are inspected by Estyn on a six yearly cycle although schools that do not perform as well as they should may be subject to follow-up inspections and/or additional monitoring by the local authority.
The purpose of inspection is to identify good features and shortcomings so that education and training providers can improve the quality of education they offer and raise the standards achieved by their learners.
Estyn’s inspection reports are designed to give parents and learners information about the performance of their school, college, or training provider.
All inspection reports are available to download from the Estyn website.
School – Assessment and Performance
Subjects for which assessments are required
Statutory end of Key Stage 2 and 3 teacher assessment for Year 6 and Year 9 learners must be against the revised school curriculum (Curriculum 2008). Statutory end of Key Stage 1 teacher assessment for Year 2 learners in summer 2011 must be against Curriculum 2000; assessment in 2012 will be against the new Foundation Phase outcomes.
Teachers are required to make their statutory teacher assessments, at the end of the key stage, for each eligible learner in the following subjects.
Key Stage 1
- English or Welsh (first language)
Key Stage 2
- Welsh first language (if the learner has followed the Welsh programme of study)6 or Welsh second language
Key Stage 3
- Welsh first language (if the learner has followed the Welsh programme of study) or Welsh second language
- Modern foreign languages
- Design and technology
- Information and communication technology
- Art and design
- Physical education
In order to fulfil statutory requirements, end of key stage teacher assessment must include the following.
- a level for each attainment target (for subjects with more than one attainment target).
- an overall subject level for each subject
Key Stage 4
Assessment is usually by General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations in individual general curriculum subjects. There is also an increasing range of specialist or vocational (applied) qualifications available at this level, alongside Entry Level qualifications for pupils performing below the level of GCSEs or similar qualifications.