Qualifications Wales: testing the future

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The Curriculum for Wales is an opportunity to think differently about education. With the launch of Qualifications Wales’ first public consultation on qualifications to support the curriculum, Chief Executive Philip Blaker says tomorrow’s 16-year-olds need the right offer.

Philip_Blaker_03Testing the future

As Wales’ ambitious new curriculum moves closer to becoming reality, it’s inevitable that questions will arise about how the curriculum will be enacted.

As the independent regulator of qualifications, we know the change in approach intended by the curriculum offers the opportunity to re-think how we expect 16-year-olds to demonstrate their attainment. Without doubt, we have skin in the game.

How do we measure success in learning? What do we want our young people to know by the time they leave school? What should they be able to do? How can we give Wales’ learners their best chance of success? Qualifications can’t answer all these questions. Indeed, we shouldn’t ask them to – qualifications can only be part of someone’s educational experience and shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for a rounded curriculum and broad educational experience. Continue reading

Here’s a list of our blog posts since July, organised in groups

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in one placeIn the absence of an index we hope you find this latest list useful for finding items you might want to read or view.




New curriculum and assessment arrangements

Assessment within Curriculum for Wales – Supporting Learner Progression

New podcast! Teachers talk about using the feedback to refine the curriculum

Working on curriculum refinement this Autumn: a teacher bares all

Your feedback on the draft curriculum – report now available

What makes the new curriculum so different? The external advisory group gives its views.

The new curriculum’s external advisory group – what’s it thinking during this refinement phase? (Part 1).

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Assessment within Curriculum for Wales – Supporting Learner Progression

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Assessment image for blog.jpgFollowing the publication of the initial assessment proposals in April 2019, a significant amount of feedback was received. Many were supportive of our direction of travel but there was a call for greater clarification on some aspects. The feedback was invaluable in helping us further shape our thinking on assessment and has resulted in updated guidance which truly reflects the culture change we plan to achieve with Curriculum for Wales. The Assessment Advisory Group has been at the heart of this process, with membership including: practitioners, academics and representatives from Regional Consortia, Estyn and Qualifications Wales.

In January 2020, we will be publishing guidance to support schools and settings as they start to think about how they will about plan, design and implement their new school curriculum – assessment will be a fundamental part of this. This blog post outlines some of the key messages in relation to assessment, giving you an indication of what you can expect to see in January.

The purpose of assessment Continue reading

Introducing the National Professional Enquiry Project (NPEP)

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group-of-teachers-sharing-information-slo1 (2)The National Professional Enquiry Project (NPEP) is a central part of Wales’ new approach to Professional Learning that will help practitioners fully develop and realise the new curriculum.

The Project is a partnership between Welsh Government, Regional Consortia, Cardiff Metropolitan University,  the University of Wales Trinity St David(UWTSD), Bangor University and a national network of Lead Enquiry Schools (formerly Professional Learning Pioneer schools).

The schools involved are currently undertaking a range of enquiries exploring the professional implications of the new curriculum, supported by a partner Higher Education Institution (HEI). An area on Hwb has been established for NPEP, where schools’ enquiries are organised by enquiry theme.  This will enable the wider schools network to keep up to date with ongoing enquiries and will also encourage and support all  practitioners to develop as professional enquirers.

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The Curriculum for Wales Professional Learning Programme from our Regional Education Consortia

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Consortia imageProfessional learning will be central to ensuring that all school staff have the professional knowledge and skills to deliver on the education reforms that are well underway in Wales. In this blog, we describe the programme of professional learning that Consortia will provide to prepare schools for the challenges ahead.

The learning will be free to access and includes common national elements complemented by regional elements. It will be available to senior leaders from January 2020 and to others from later in Spring Term.

Regional teams have designed the programme such that it maps to the National Approach to Professional Learning. It is differentiated by career milestones so that practitioners at different milestones receive relevant knowledge and skills to effectively realise the curriculum.

Who will support the delivery of the programme? Continue reading

Qualifications Wales’ consultation on the nature of qualifications to be taken at 16 is live!

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Reforming Qualifications

QW_logo_RGB_bigEducation in Wales is embarking on a significant period of change, and at the centre of these changes is an innovative curriculum for 3 to 16-year olds.

To complement the new curriculum, we want the next generation of 16-year olds to take globally respected qualifications that inspire and prepare them for life, learning and work. We want to be sure that any changes we make lead to long-lasting improvements and stability for the qualifications system.


Our vision is that 16-year olds take globally respected qualifications that inspire and prepare them for life, learning and work.

Achieving this vision and developing our approach to future qualifications will require a collective effort with input from stakeholders across the education system and beyond. We will work openly and collaboratively with others to agree how qualifications will need to change.

Qualifications should be designed to promote positive teaching and learning and should not be the sole means by which 14-16-year olds engage with and experience the curriculum. We want to make sure we get the balance right. Continue reading

New podcast! Teachers talk about using the feedback to refine the curriculum

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Podcaast - QI teachers EnglishStill in the midst of refining the curriculum based on “very useful” feedback, teachers Vanessa McCarthy and Brett Gillett are interviewed by Mike Bubbins.

They talk honestly about what people liked, and what their reservations were. And they look at next steps.

Listen on our channel through your chosen platform below:



Apple podcasts 



Working on curriculum refinement this Autumn: a teacher bares all

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Q: Who are you and how did you get into this?

A: I’m Richard Lawson. I was an original Pioneer – a volunteer. They needed a physics teacher and I answered the call back in 2017.

Q: So how was that early period for you?

A: It’s been hard! Well quite difficult at times. We started talking about destinations – but had to build our own road, make our own map. And when you’ve got 30 people in a room it can be hard to agree on which route to take. Continue reading

Growing momentum – Headteacher conferences this Autumn

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Minister at podium.jpgOur national mission to transform education is gathering momentum, and our ambitious programme is coming together.

This Autumn I look forward to talking to Heads in all our regions about how each element of reform is coming together to support our new curriculum and our ambitions for the future of all our children.

We’ll celebrate current successes as well. Our progress in the way we have worked together on developing the new curriculum and ALN reforms. The way Wales improved in the A level rankings and are now first for A* compared to the English regions and Northern Ireland.

Consortia colleagues have worked with my officials to develop the conferences, which will have consistent content across the country to put us all on the same footing, but adapted to local needs.

What will we be discussing?

Leadership at a time like this is crucial. So we’ll look at how we build leadership capacity, including middle leadership, and the leadership role in curriculum planning.

We’ll discuss the professional learning programme, with national and regional elements, which will begin for leaders in January 2020 and for wider staff from the end of Spring term. This support, delivered regionally, is part of a £24m investment in preparing staff properly to realise the curriculum in 2022.

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Reflections on the 2019 ARC Education Project Summit in Cardiff, Wales

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The Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) is a global network seeking to improve education for individuals by helping education systems improve. This year its annual summit was held in Cardiff, a timely visit which gave our delegates the opportunity to discuss Wales’ current education reforms.

ARC blog school visitThe Summit was hosted by the Welsh Government from September 12-15 in Wales’ gorgeous capital city of Cardiff.

 ARC is based at the University of Ottawa, and this was its fourth summit. It is a global movement committed to advancing excellence, equity, inclusion, wellbeing, democracy and human rights for all students in high quality, professionally run systems. Ministers, senior civil servants, and leaders of professional associations from participating systems all take part.

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