Yr Athrofa, University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD’s) Institute of Education, enjoys fruitful collaborations with a number of organisations.
One of its most significant is that currently being undertaken with colleagues at the University of Glasgow, on behalf of the Welsh Government.
Building on the strengths of our strategic partnership, and working closely and collaboratively with the pioneer school network, the CAMAU project seeks to develop a shared understanding of ‘progression’ in the context of Successful Futures.
Progression as a concept is built in to Professor Graham Donaldson’s blueprint for curriculum reform and supports the understanding that children’s learning is an expedition, with stops, detours and spurts, rather than as a linear process.
Progression can be considered through the identification of ‘Progression Reference Points’ through which children will journey as they experience the curriculum.
The Welsh word for ‘steps’, CAMAU recognises that if learners are to progress in their learning, especially in contexts very different from our past and present, we need to ensure that they have access to well-informed route maps that will guide their progress.
As such, CAMAU, through collaborative working, aims to support the development of progression frameworks – or route maps – for the young people of Wales during a period of significant transition.
Each child’s learning continuum functions as a journey through the curriculum; while the route map will be common to all learners, this journey should allow for variety of pace, diversion, repetition, and reflection, as appropriate for each individual to make progress in learning.
There is therefore a greater responsibility for schools and teachers to ensure that learning is child-focused, since the details and pace of each journey are set according to the requirements of the learner, in order to ensure challenging, sustainable and effective learning takes place.
It is important that as children and young people move through the education system in Wales, they are not viewed as aiming towards the four purposes, but rather seen as living the four purposes during their time at school.
The first phase of the project, funded by UWTSD and the Welsh Government, is concerned with the co-construction of evidence-based progression frameworks.
The second phase is designed to review and learn from trial implementation of the draft progression frameworks and the third phase will finalise these arrangements.
In all phases of the project, teachers, pupils, policymakers and researchers assume the role of co-investigators with the shared aspiration of developing high quality, well-informed curriculum, pedagogy and assessment arrangements for Wales.
Frameworks will be designed by and for the profession and, from the outset, will be developed to be fully inclusive to make sure they account for all learners.
Bringing to bear different knowledge, skills and understandings to explore how progression might best be described and developed in relation to the Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs), CAMAU has an important role in the creation of our new national curriculum.
But its work is the sum of many parts and we are indebted to the many collaborators who have joined us on this journey.
As the project progresses, we will look to and learn from the latest international approaches and good practice from within Wales to inform the design, development and delivery of CAMAU’s work.
Successful Futures is breaking new ground and there is no existing model for curriculum reform to the extent of that being currently undertaken in Wales. This presents a unique opportunity to craft an education system, with learner progression at its heart, of which we can all be truly proud.
• Professor Dylan Jones and Dr Jane Waters, Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, UWTSD.