With all the changes currently happening in Welsh education, it’s important to reassure teachers and other stakeholders that there is common understanding across the system. Estyn fully supports curriculum reform, working together with schools, the Welsh Government, regional consortia, and other partners to the same end.
Even in my long(ish) career I can’t remember a more hectic year, packed with challenges but with a real sense of potential.
That hectic life will be all too familiar to you, but it’s not the only thing we have in common.
We’re all striving to make a difference to young lives. You in a very immediate way, those involved in education reform less directly just now (unless you’re a pioneer teacher of course), but I know that when the new curriculum arrives it will give you more freedom, more power to your elbow to make that difference.
Just as it is a joy to hear a baby utter its first words, the sound of children and young people growing confident in the use of Welsh is a wonderful thing. When they begin to communicate and express themselves fluently and have a full sense of Welsh culture, they enjoy the richness and opportunities offered by both languages of Wales and deepen their sense of identity.
As the sound of Christmas carols drifts from classrooms and our senses are assaulted by a plethora of Christmas Jumpers, I am reflecting on the journey Porthcawl Comprehensive School has been on since joining the pioneer schools process last January. I’d like to tell you what we’ve done and how it’s felt, and update you on what’s happened this Autumn.
“My tablets have frozen”, and “my laptop has crashed” are complaints my team have heard many a time when visiting schools as part of building Welsh Government’s digital strategy.
“It drives me mad” they say. And I understand that. But sometimes these stories can be frustrating to hear too, because many problems can be fixed quite easily.