Today I published the Curriculum for Wales Implementation Plan – a milestone in our reform programme and an important step on the journey towards achieving our transformational Curriculum for Wales. I want to give you a sense of what’s in the Implementation Plan, and why we’re publishing it now.
But before I set that out I want to let all practitioners know that I absolutely understand the context in which it is being revealed. I know that everyone in the education workforce remains under real and continuing pressure, working in extraordinary circumstances to continue to do the best for learners. I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued adaptability and resilience.
As you’ll know, in October we published Curriculum for Wales: the journey to 2022. It is a guide to help plan curriculum development activities in the run-up to the rollout of the Curriculum for Wales for Primary and Year 7 learners in September 2022.
The Implementation Plan builds on that. It sets out what Welsh Government, Education Consortia, Local Authorities and Estyn will do to support schools and settings as we move towards our new curriculum together. It includes clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and actions for each of those partners so you know what you can expect to see from each part of the wider system in the coming months and years.
As well as what we do, the plan also explains how we’ll work together to get there –that means holding ourselves, in government and the middle tier, to the same shared ways of working that we set out for schools and settings in the journey to 2022. For me, the most important part of that is building on, and expanding, the process of co-construction that allowed us to create a curriculum for Wales, of Wales, and by Wales.
That’s why the implementation plan sets out our plans to establish a national network for practitioners and stakeholders this year, and some of the challenges that network will need to consider. I want all practitioners in Wales to have the opportunity to come together, with experts and wider stakeholders, to share understanding, drive change, and build shared solutions to the challenges we face.
Finally, the plan the sets out the ambitions for Welsh society that enabling our learners to realise the four purposes will help realise, and sets out a clear, long-term evaluation programme to enable us to see if we’re on the right path to achieving those goals.
I know that as we find ourselves facing continued disruption to our daily lives from the pandemic, it’s hard to see a path forward to achieving our ambitions for the new curriculum. With that in mind, I want to reassure you now that I do not expect schools and settings to start engaging with the Implementation Plan right away.
The Implementation Plan sets out our long-term ambitions, but right now, our focus has to be on doing our best for our learners in the here and now, and recovering from the loss in learning time all learners have experienced over the last year.
To meet those immediate priorities, we will put in place a remote learning plan to clarify expectations and requirements around remote and blended learning. With our stakeholders, we will also develop a learning recovery plan – the steps we will take to support all learners to progress along their learning pathway, and the specific support we will put in place for those groups of learners most disadvantaged by the pandemic, including those in exam years.
Only when we are firmly on the path to recovery can we again move together towards reform. The measures we take now to support learning recovery will help us get to where we need to be to start putting the implementation plan into practice, and make our transformational curriculum a reality.
Kirsty Williams M.S.
Minister for Education.