The Curriculum in Wales is changing from September 2022 for all primary schools and for Year 7 in Secondary Schools that have opted to start the implementation process. The introduction of the new curriculum is a process of change, with schools starting to develop their approaches from September 2022. The expectation is that all schools and settings should be undertaking work to prepare for curriculum roll-out. If schools do not proceed with Year 7 roll-out in 2022, they should nevertheless be undertaking preparations, trials and innovations in advance of roll-out.
By 2023, all schools and settings will be required to have rolled out their curriculum for Years 7 and 8
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 established the Curriculum for Wales in law and replaces the basic curriculum set out in Part 7 of the Education Act 2002.
The Act makes provision about progression and assessment in connection with the curriculum for 3 to 16 year olds.
The curriculum must be designed for learning and teaching for all learners 3 to 16.
The curriculum must:
- Enable learners to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
- Be suitable for learners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
- Be broad and balanced
- Make provision for learning and teaching that encompasses each of the Areas, including mandatory elements, incorporating all the statements of what matters
- Make provision to develop the mandatory cross curricular skills
- Is in accords with the RSE code and is developmentally appropriate for their learners
- Provide learners in year 1 and above with the learning and teaching of RVE in line with the Agreed Syllabus for Merthyr Tydfil and the curriculum design requirements
- Provide those learners moving from year 9 into year 10 with a choice of learning within each Area
- Provide for appropriate progression which must be in accordance with principles of progression set out in the Progression Code. The assessment arrangements must be informed by the principles of progression
- Make ongoing assessment arrangements to support learner progression throughout the school year
- Make arrangements for assessing the ability and aptitude of learners in respect of the relevant curriculum, on entry to a school or setting, to identify the next steps in their progression and the learning and teaching needed to support that progress.
The Four Purposes
The Curriculum sets out the four purposes and these are the starting point for the school’s curriculum design process. The aim of the school’s curriculum is to support its learners to become:
- 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
All our children and young people will be supported to develop as:
ambitious, capable learners who:
- set themselves high standards and seek and enjoy challenge
- are building up a body of knowledge and have the skills to connect and apply that knowledge in different contexts
- are questioning and enjoy solving problems
- can communicate effectively in different forms and settings, using both Welsh and English
- can explain the ideas and concepts they are learning about
- can use number effectively in different contexts
- understand how to interpret data and apply mathematical concepts
- use digital technologies creatively to communicate, find and analyse information
- undertake research and evaluate critically what they find
and are ready to learn throughout their lives
enterprising, creative contributors who:
- connect and apply their knowledge and skills to create ideas and products
- think creatively to reframe and solve problems
- identify and grasp opportunities
- take measured risks
- lead and play different roles in teams effectively and responsibly
- express ideas and emotions through different media
- give of their energy and skills so that other people will benefit
and are ready to play a full part in life and work
ethical, informed citizens who:
- find, evaluate and use evidence in forming views
- engage with contemporary issues based upon their knowledge and values
- understand and exercise their human and democratic responsibilities and rights
- understand and consider the impact of their actions when making choices and acting
- are knowledgeable about their culture, community, society and the world, now and in the past
- respect the needs and rights of others, as a member of a diverse society
- show their commitment to the sustainability of the planet
and are ready to be citizens of Wales and the world
healthy, confident individuals who:
- have secure values and are establishing their spiritual and ethical beliefs
- are building their mental and emotional well-being by developing confidence, resilience and empathy
- apply knowledge about the impact of diet and exercise on physical and mental health in their daily lives
- know how to find the information and support to keep safe and well
- take part in physical activity
- take measured decisions about lifestyle and manage risk
- have the confidence to participate in performance
- form positive relationships based upon trust and mutual respect
- face and overcome challenge
- have the skills and knowledge to manage everyday life as independently as they can
and are ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.
The school curriculum sets out the following mandatory elements that span the 3 to 16 learning continuum:
- the cross-curricular skills of literacy, numeracy and digital competence
- the six areas of learning and experience
- relationships and sexuality education (RSE)
- religion, values and ethics (RVE).
- English- from age 7. Headteachers and providers of funded non-maintained nursery education have discretion over whether and to what extent they introduce English to learners between the ages of 3 and 7. This is to facilitate Welsh language immersion in the early years. Therefore, the expectation is that English medium and bilingual schools will continue to include English in their curricula
The four purposes are underpinned by integral skills. These are:
- creativity and innovation
- critical thinking and problem solving
- personal effectiveness
- planning and organising
Cross curricular skills
The mandatory cross curricular skills of literacy, numeracy and digital competence are essential for learners to be able access knowledge. Learners must be given opportunities across the curriculum to?
- Develop listening, reading, speaking and writing skills
- Be able to use numbers and solve problems in real-life situations
- Be confident users of a range of technologies to help them function and communicate effectively and make sense of the world
The Areas of Learning and Experience
The six areas of learning and experience bring together familiar disciplines and encourage strong and meaningful links across them.
The six areas of learning and experience are
- Expressive Arts
- Health and Well-being
- Language, literacy and communication
- Mathematics and numeracy
- Science and technology
The Curriculum for Wales promotes collaboration and cross disciplinary planning, learning and teaching, both within and across Areas.
What Matters Statements
The schools curriculum must cover all of the statements of what matters from age 3 to 16. These statements are used by schools to design their curriculum. They are used by schools to
- Select knowledge, experiences and skills
- Understand how learning should support learners progression
- Allow learners to explore topics and activities through different lenses.
- Help learners make sense of a range of experiences, knowledge and skills
Curriculum content must link back to the statements of what matters.
Descriptions of learning
These provide guidance on how learners should progress within each statement of what matters as they journey through the continuum of learning. These are arranged in five progression steps which provide reference points for the pace of that progression. The progression steps only broadly related to age. They broadly respond to expectations at 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16.
A curriculum for Wales in Wales
The curriculum for Wales reflects Wales, its cultural heritage and diversity, its languages and the values, histories and traditions of its communities and all of its people. Learners should understand the identities, landscapes and histories that come together to form their cynefin. This cynefin is not simply local but provides a foundation for a national and international citizenship.
The Curriculum should also reflect our bilingual nation, providing learners with appropriate pathways for learning Welsh and English to enable them to develop the confidence to use both languages in everyday life.
The previous end of Key Stage 2 statutory assessment is no longer applicable, however the end of Key Stage 3 statutory assessment should still be reported.
Assessment is an integral part of the learning process, with practitioners working with learners to help identify their strengths, areas for development and next steps in learning. When designing assessment arrangements as part of a school curriculum, the following should be guiding principles.
- The purpose of assessment is to support the progression of each individual learner in relation to the 3 to 16 continuum.
- Learners are at the heart of assessment and should be supported to become active participants in the learning process.
- Assessment is an ongoing process which is indistinguishable from learning and teaching.
- A shared understanding of progression, developed through professional dialogue, is integral to curriculum design and improving learning and teaching.
- Learning across the breadth of the curriculum should draw on a wide range of assessment approaches, building a holistic picture of the learner’s development.
- Engagement between the learners, their parents/carers and practitioners is essential for progression and well-being.
The overarching purpose of assessment is to support every learner to make progress. When planning and delivering learning experiences, schools and practitioners should be clear about the specific role of each assessment being undertaken and what the understanding gained from assessment will be used for and why. In this respect, there are three main roles played by assessment in supporting learner progression.
At Key Stage 4, General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is still used for assessment with 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.
The current suite of qualifications are under review in line with the curriculum reform process. The full range of qualifications for the new curriculum will be implemented from September 2027.
Curriculum accessible for all
A school’s curriculum should raise the aspirations for all learners. It should consider how all learners will be supported to realise the four purposes and to progress. This is essential for learners to play an active part in their community and wider society, and to thrive in an increasingly complex world.
Schools should be aware of the needs and circumstances of all their learners when designing their own curriculum, considering equity of opportunity when putting into place support and interventions or making reasonable adjustments.
School and PRU inspections are governed by the Education Act 2005 and related regulations. Inspections must be conducted by teams of inspectors, led by an HMI, additional inspector or Registered Inspector, and must result in a published report. They report on the strengths and areas for improvement on the educational standards achieved and the quality of education provided.
*much of the content of this information has been taken directly from the Welsh Government guidance and framework which can be found at www.hwb.gov.wales
A summary statement outlining the curriculum offer in all schools can be found on individual school websites.