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

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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

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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.  


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.

Leadership Academy Associates have an important role – and more are needed now. A Head explains.

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Q: What does the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL) do?

A: Its mission is ‘Inspiring Leaders: Enriching Lives’, but essentially it’s there to help Wales achieve its ambitions for learners by supporting and developing leaders in Wales. Their website covers it in detail.

Q: So what is an Associate?

A: Associates enable the Academy to deliver on its aims by doing things like helping other leaders develop their capability at school, cluster or consortia level, endorsing leadership provision (or not!), supporting design of provision, and research. Two cohorts are in place, and the next is recruiting now – it’s a real opportunity for colleagues. 

Q: When did you become an Associate – and why? Continue reading

Routes for Learning materials are being revised. Feedback will be welcomed.

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RFL image for blogRoutes for Learning materials help practitioners assess the early communication and cognitive skills of learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

As part of the wider reform of curriculum and assessment arrangements, and to reflect the latest research in the field, the materials are now being updated. On 28th January, revised materials will be made available for feedback. In February, practitioners are invited to join events to discuss the developments and offer feedback in person.

The materials currently in use were published in their original form in 2006 and are well regarded across the UK and internationally. They have been translated into various European languages and used as far afield as Nigeria. The suite of materials includes: Continue reading

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