The first major curriculum reform in 20 years is underway in Wales. The curriculum will be new, assessment will evolve, and the way this is happening is very different to before.
It’s a lot to take on, even if it is taking place over several years. But the challenge has to be met head-on if we’re to prepare pupils best for their futures in life and work.
The approach is bold, based on experience in Wales from the past and present, with inspiration from the best in the world. It puts teachers in the driving seat of development, helped by external expertise and officials.
It is brave to place ownership of the design of the curriculum and assessment arrangements with the people who will deliver them, especially when the approach to development is new. Yet who is better placed and better motivated to make our ambition a reality?
The goals they are working towards have already been agreed and widely endorsed. My review and recommendations set four clear purposes for the education of our young people. It set a framework of six Areas of Learning and Experience and three cross-curriculum responsibilities, one of which is new and reflects the digital world we now all inhabit.
Making Digital Competence cross-cutting in the same way as literacy and numeracy is another bold step, one which sees Wales at the forefront of thinking internationally. Crucially for me, the Digital Competence Framework was the first element of the new curriculum to be developed and was made available bang on schedule last month.
Not only is this ground-breaking for Wales, but it shows that the model we have chosen to develop this curriculum can work well. That’s not to say the process was easy, but then the most valuable results are often achieved through skill, determination and hard work.
I hope that our teachers from Pioneer schools will now drive on at pace to produce a brilliant, future-proofed curriculum for Wales by the close of 2018, that will become the reality for young people of Wales across the succeeding three years. As they do, it is crucial that they work in partnership with teachers and practitioners more generally from all schools in Wales.
Wider education reforms in leadership development, professional learning and initial teacher education will support this effort, and I look forward to saying more about them when I next post to this Blog.
For now though, I salute the boldness of Wales and wish you all success.
– Professor Graham Donaldson