Reframing the way we think about assessment – during Covid and for the future

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Female teacher with her pupils in classroomSince the Covid outbreak, learning and teaching has changed in Wales. A combination of remote learning and face-to-face learning has been a reality for the majority of learners and practitioners in recent times.

Learning and teaching will continue to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2020/21 school year. The approaches taken by schools and settings will continue to evolve to provide learning both in school and elsewhere – if the need arises. The balance between learning in schools and settings and time spent learning elsewhere may well change at particular points in response to the pandemic.

As schools and settings have been increasing their operations this summer term, practitioners have been using contact time to ’check in’ and ‘catch up’ with learners, to support their well-being and help them re-engage in their learning.

This focus on supporting the individual needs of learners fits well with the changes for assessment that are underway as part of the new curriculum. So the current situation brings an opportunity to re-visit assessment, re-framing our thinking and moving towards the new arrangements, where the emphasis is on supporting each individual learner to make progress.

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Building from Uncertainty

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GD - quite intenseThe last few months have posed exceptional challenges for everyone involved in supporting the well-being of the young people of Wales. In particular, teachers, headteachers, parents and carers have had to overcome personal pressures and anxieties as they have sought to engage with the learning of their young people.  Observing all of this effort, I have been struck by the ways in which the Welsh educational reforms could help chart a path through the uncertainties posed by the current situation.

The Bill which will establish the legislative basis for the new curriculum has now begun its passage through the Senedd. However the new legal framework will look very different from that which has existed since the 1990s.  Schools will have much greater scope to shape the learning of their young people in ways that better reflect their needs. The four purposes that lie at the heart of the Curriculum for Wales (CfW) signal the critical importance of building the desire and capability to learn throughout life; of being able to connect and apply knowledge; of being enterprising and creative; of becoming ethical and informed citizens; and, crucially, of understanding the factors that enhance health and well-being. Continue reading

Curriculum and Assessment Bill introduced to the Senedd

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Education Minister Kirsty Williams has introduced the Bill which will enshrine the main tenets of Wales’ new curriculum and assessment arrangements in law.

Making the announcement in the Senedd today, 8th July 2020, this marks the start of a legislative process which should be completed in April 2021.

See the Minister’s ‘Oral Statement’ to the Senedd.
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Experimenting with the new curriculum at Fitzalan High School – videos – Part 2

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Fitzalan High School has been experimenting with the new curriculum in its role as an Innovation School. In part 2 of this blog post, we see two videos showing how they’ve encouraged enquiry-based learning, and explored approaches to professional learning and action research.

Encouraging enquiry-based learning

Exploring professional learning and action research

With thanks again to all at Fitzalan for their time and passion…

‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ as a central element of the new curriculum

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This is an updating of the popular June 2018 post: How ‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ are being developed as a central element of the new curriculum.

AoLE image ScitechThe new curriculum framework features overarching topics in the form of: an Introduction; Summary of Legislation; Designing your Curriculum, and Supporting learner progression: Assessment.

And of course it features the Six Areas of Learning and Experience (Areas), which are:

Expressive Arts; Health and Well-being; Humanities; Languages, Literacy and Communication; Mathematics and Numeracy; Science and Technology.

But how do they connect to the four purposes, the shared vision and aspiration for every child and young person in Wales,  and what do they comprise?

In this post we answer those questions.

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Experimenting with the new curriculum at Fitzalan High School – videos

Gweler neges debyg yn Gymraeg

Fitzalan High School has been experimenting with the new curriculum in its role as an ‘Innovation School’. In part 1 of this blog post, we see two videos showing how they’ve approached the overall challenge whilst beginning to manage change, and how they’ve been trialling cross-curricular approaches whilst respecting specialism.

The overall challenge:

Trialling cross-curricular approaches:

With thanks to all at Fitzalan for their time and passion…

BookTrust Cymru: Re-thinking Reading for Pleasure in the New Curriculum

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

BookTrust_CORE_Black_WELSH_1.0Our mission at BookTrust Cymru is to get every child in Wales reading for pleasure. So it probably won’t surprise you that we were thrilled to see ‘literature fires imagination and inspires creativity’ as one of the statements of what matters in the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience (AoLE).

But it may surprise you to hear that for us the really exciting and potentially transformative content was in the Area of Health and Wellbeing. It contains an understanding that reading and literacy have a key role to play in supporting mental health, emotional wellbeing and holistic development. Continue reading

Investing in Professional Learning to help our new Curriculum succeed

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Steve Davies

The new curriculum will succeed only through the passion and commitment of our teaching profession.

But I understand that passion must be supported by professional learning if we’re to realise the curriculum’s potential for our pupils.

And amongst the many important factors in bringing that about is funding. That’s why we have allocated the biggest single financial investment in professional learning for all practitioners since devolution, funding that is already being spent and will run for two more years.

We are also making available extra Inset days, the first taking place in the Summer term when all schools will explore the new curriculum using free national resources that will be available on Hwb. Here is my letter to Heads which explains in full.

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OECD visit explores Wales’ education reforms

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Following the Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) Summit, hosted by the Welsh Government in the autumn, a delegation from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) returned to Wales to take a closer look at the progress being made across the Education System to implement the new curriculum.  

sdr

The delegates were joined by Claire Sinnema, an Associate Professor from the University of Auckland, New Zealand; such is the global attention that curriculum reform in Wales is attracting.

The visit was part of a wider assessment of Wales’ education reforms, due to report in March this year.

During an action-packed week, the delegation met Welsh Government policy leads, and education consortia representatives as well as HEI partners responsible for pioneering the professional learning aspects of curriculum reform. There was also a working breakfast with Kirsty Williams, Education Minister, and conversations with other key education stakeholders. Continue reading

It’s Here! Welcome to the new Curriculum for Wales Guidance.

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Curriculum image Hwb EngThe new curriculum, introduced below by Education Minister Kirsty Williams A.M, is available on Hwb now. It will be used in all schools from 2022 in primary and Year 7, and will roll out year by year until it includes Year 11 by 2026.

 

 

In response to feedback received on the draft, the Guidance is now shorter and clearer, with content included about how to design curriculum at school level.

It also incorporates an updated Literacy and Numeracy Framework and Digital Competence Framework.

To help teaching practitioners bring the new curriculum to life, free professional learning programmes and resources will be provided. Details will follow in the Spring.