Launched and all yours: The National Resource: Evaluation and Improvement

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It was ‘one for all and all for the Resource’ on 11th May when the resource that’s designed to help schools with self-evaluation and improvement was launched.

Several schools, the regional school improvement consortium GWE, the West Wales school improvement partnership Partneriaeth, and Estyn all contributed to and supported its launch

Regional briefing events will be now be held, and training of regional School Improvement Partners to support use of the Resource have also been arranged.

Examples of supporting videos used at the launch are below. A full viewing of the 40 minute launch event can be seen here.

Owen Evans, Prif Arolygydd Estyn / Chief Inspector for Estyn encourages schools to use the National Resource: Evaluation and Improvement and describes how Estyn supported its development:

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The crucial role of Governors in supporting curriculum development

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School Governors have a crucial role in supporting their school’s development of a new curriculum.

Scrutinising, encouraging and informing, they bring an external perspective built on an understanding of how their school operates.

In this film, Parent Governor Leanne Prevel gives her perspective of curriculum development at Pembroke Dock Community School, with contributions from pupils and fellow parents.

Pembroke Dock Community School – our approach to developing curriculum

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These honest, insightful videos show how Pembroke Dock Community School has been developing its new curriculum. All schools need to adapt their approaches to respond to local context, but for Pembroke Dock a national issue brought to their doorstep was a particularly strong catalyst.

Headteacher Michele Thomas

In these three films we see: The management team on the overall approach to developing curriculum, including engagement and enquiry; a whole school perspective featuring leaders, teachers, a governor, parents and pupils; and an explanation of how the cluster worked together.

The management team on the overall approach to developing curriculum:

A whole school perspective:

How the cluster worked together:

Pembroke Dock Community School are on their journey. But theirs is just one approach to curriculum development that works for their catchment, their cluster and themselves. Other approaches will depend on the location and context of your school.

Launch date announced! National Resource: Evaluation and Improvement (NR:EI)

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The NR:EI will be launched formally on 11th May with a virtual national introduction leading into sessions at a regional level. 

As explained in this blog item previously, the Resource has been designed to be of practical help to schools with their self-evaluation and improvement, ultimately helping to create the conditions for the new curriculum to succeed across Wales. It has been co-constructed with practitioners, consortia, Estyn and others, and is a flexible basis for school improvement planning.

During its development, the Resource has seen 120 schools engage, trial and feed back on early versions, a thorough approach that has led to improvements in its usability.  The pilot phase ended in February but you can still provide ongoing feedback and suggestions on the future development of the resource.

Site map

Practical examples of how the Resource has been used can be seen in these recently published playlists on Hwb (Playlist 1: Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy, Playlist 2: Glanhowy Primary). They show how schools have approached their self-evaluation of aspects of the curriculum, and teaching and learning, using prompts within the Resource.

An additional 11 playlists will be added to the resource by start of next term. We will also be mapping additional self-review toolkits to the resource over the coming weeks.

The evolving role of personalised assessments as part of Curriculum for Wales

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The introduction of our new Curriculum for Wales in September marks a significant shift in the role of assessment. Schools and settings will develop their own assessment arrangements for each individual learner to progress at an appropriate pace, ensuring that they are supported and challenged accordingly. In readiness for Curriculum for Wales, personalised assessments have been introduced as a tool to support this new approach to assessment and to help learners to make progress in their reading and numeracy skills.

Under the new arrangements, a wide range of assessment approaches should be used to build a holistic picture of the learner. As part of this, when planning learning and supporting learner progression, practitioners are encouraged to give full consideration to the information on skills identified by the personalised assessments, alongside other classroom-based information about the learner.

The new assessment arrangements will be forward-looking, with a focus on identifying where a learner is in their learning, their next steps and the support needed to move forward in their learning. The personalised assessments, for years 2 – 9, are designed to support individual learner progression. They are for formative use, giving practitioners and learners an insight into the reading and numeracy skills of the learner and an understanding of strengths and areas for improvement.

The personalised assessments are adaptive, with questions presented based on the responses to previous questions. This means that learners can show the extent of their skills in the assessment, and practitioners can see where they are on the continuum.  Each learner’s assessment helps them develop their skills through understanding what they can do, the things they may need to work on, and their next steps.

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The new assessment arrangements will be forward-looking, with a focus on identifying where a learner is in their learning, their next steps and the support needed to move forward in their learning. The personalised assessments, for years 2 – 9, are designed to support individual learner progression. They are for formative use, giving practitioners and learners an insight into the reading and numeracy skills of the learner and an understanding of strengths and areas for improvement.

The personalised assessments are adaptive, with questions presented based on the responses to previous questions. This means that learners can show the extent of their skills in the assessment, and practitioners can see where they are on the continuum.  Each learner’s assessment helps them develop their skills through understanding what they can do, the things they may need to work on, and their next steps.

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Informing parents about the new curriculum – useful materials

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An integral part of preparing for the new curriculum is engaging with parents and informing them – or reminding them – about the changes to come.

Whilst all schools will have subtly different interpretations of the curriculum to reflect their approach and local circumstances, the fundamentals will all be the same. Here’s a reminder of some useful materials which explain those fundamentals in an accessible way.

A short animation (3 ½ minutes) about the new curriculum:

A very accessible and concise guide for parents.

An accessible and concise guide for young people.

An ‘easy read’ version of the young people’s guide.

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A sign of things to come – British Sign Language and the Curriculum for Wales

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British Sign Language (BSL) has officially become part of the Curriculum for Wales . As well as provision for deaf BSL users, it can be part of a school’s curriculum for all children, like French or German.

BSL is seeing increased exposure, with Rose Ayling-Ellis’ performances on Strictly Come Dancing, interpreters working alongside Mark Drakeford during COVID-19 briefings, and the BSL Bill passing its second reading in Parliament. The exposure has led to an increase in people being inspired to learn the language.

The BSL guidance  was published in September 2021.  It was developed through collaboration between practitioners and other experts, including deaf BSL users, an approach that will continue as more support is developed for BSL in the curriculum.

In January, this was complemented by a BSL version of the four purposes , and the Languages, Literacy and Communication statements of what matters embedded in the curriculum guidance. A Curriculum for Wales BSL glossary development group, the first established by Welsh Government to conduct workshops exclusively in BSL, is working to ensure consistency in the BSL used in future curriculum guidance, supporting materials and resources.


Teachers of the Deaf working in Wales can register here for an information session focussed on progression for deaf BSL users, 15:00-16:30 on 28 March 2022. There is also a dedicated network which can be found by logging into Hwb and searching Networks for ‘Teachers of the Deaf/ Athrawon Plant Byddar’.

BSL tutors working in Wales can register here for an information session 10:00-12:00 on 4 April 2022, focussed on supporting planning, designing and teaching BSL in schools.

Other practitioners working in schools can register here  for a session. This session is in partnership with the regional consortia and will take place on 11 May 2022. .

Establishing networks and collaborating will play an important part in supporting BSL in the curriculum. Members of the group which developed the curriculum guidance will contribute to information sessions for practitioners who want to know more about the Curriculum for Wales and BSL in the curriculum.

Supporting developments – the BSL Glossary Group

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BSL is seeing increased exposure, with Rose Ayling-Ellis’ performances on Strictly Come Dancing, interpreters working alongside Mark Drakeford during COVID-19 briefings, and the BSL Bill passing its second reading in Parliament. The exposure has led to an increase in people being inspired to learn the language.

The BSL guidance  was published in September 2021.  It was developed through collaboration between practitioners and other experts, including deaf BSL users, an approach that will continue as more support is developed for BSL in the curriculum.

In January, this was complemented by a BSL version of the four purposes , and the Languages, Literacy and Communication statements of what matters embedded in the curriculum guidance. A Curriculum for Wales BSL glossary development group, the first established by Welsh Government to conduct workshops exclusively in BSL, is working to ensure consistency in the BSL used in future curriculum guidance, supporting materials and resources.


Teachers of the Deaf working in Wales can register here for an information session focussed on progression for deaf BSL users, 15:00-16:30 on 28 March 2022. There is also a dedicated network which can be found by logging into Hwb and searching Networks for ‘Teachers of the Deaf/ Athrawon Plant Byddar’.

BSL tutors working in Wales can register here for an information session 10:00-12:00 on 4 April 2022, focussed on supporting planning, designing and teaching BSL in schools.

Other practitioners working in schools can register here  for a session. This session is in partnership with the regional consortia and will take place on 11 May 2022. .

Establishing networks and collaborating will play an important part in supporting BSL in the curriculum. Members of the group which developed the curriculum guidance will contribute to information sessions for practitioners who want to know more about the Curriculum for Wales and BSL in the curriculum.

Supporting developments – the BSL Glossary Group

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Curriculum resources – a ‘really useful’ pack

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A ‘really useful’ resource pack was put together by the Minister for his recent headteachers’ conference.

Whilst it was mentioned in the blog post of the conference, there was always the chance it could have been missed amid all the other content. So we’re happy to present it in its own right in this post.

The pack includes:

A Curriculum planning and Priorities Guide

A playlist of videos showing the journey so far for some schools

Information to help communicate with parents

Ways of keeping in touch with everything that’s happening

Estyn – blog posts, webinars and other materials

Here’s the resource pack in full.

Taking the Curriculum forward – Education Minister leads Conference

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Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, spoke with headteachers on 17th February to re-visit the importance of the new curriculum, describe practical support in the pipeline, and join a discussion with Owen Evans, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Training, Estyn.

The Minister’s speech included news about extra support for assessment and progression, a new commitment on professional learning, and trailed the creation of a new company to produce bilingual resources to support curriculum implementation. Read the full speech here.

Owen Evans described how Estyn’s inspectors will take a supportive role as schools introduce their new curriculum. He stressed that Estyn understands that ‘not one size fits all’ and that he wants to offer a ‘safe space’ for schools to innovate. Consistent with that, a new inspection framework will be piloted this academic year. Read the full speech here.

The film of the entire event, incorporating both speeches, and Q&A, can be seen here.

Also announced at the event was a batch of materials designed to help practitioners take next steps in curriculum planning and implementation, with links to resources.
the specific ‘planning and priorities’ resource is here. The full set of conference and curriculum background materials is here.

The Minister was also keen to share videos of Headteachers sharing their experiences, to help schools with their thinking.  These explain the progress they’d made and how they had overcome challenges.  See them below.