Donaldson Readiness FAQs
All your Qs about the new Curriculum for Wales answered
These questions were asked by delegates to our Donaldson Readiness Conference workshop. Further information about the answers can be found on the Welsh Government website links at the bottom of the page.
Q. How are teachers feeling about the LNF developments? Excited by change or fed up with consistent change?
A. We feel there is evidence for teachers feeling both excited and fed up by the changes to education in Wales. In our experience how teachers react to the change is largely determined by how the change process is managed by their Senior Leadership Team.
Q. How will staff be upskilled to cope with the demands of the new curriculum?
A. WG have made it clear that CPD for staff will be provided by Regional Consortia. However plans for how this will work were due for release in March 2017, but nothing has been published yet. The most forward thinking schools are beginning the upskilling process themselves in partnership with other local schools and specialist education consultancies.
Q. How do we restructure the curriculum plan – Faculties/KS3 to KS4 – modelling skills needed at KS4 downwards to KS3/KS2?
A. Many schools are developing thematic teaching to address the new structural demands of Successful Futures and are introducing teachers who teach multiple subjects within a faculty as opposed to subject specialists. Pioneer schools are doing the same. Effective models for joint working across phases from KS2-KS4 include a clear focus on skill progression and data analysis to identify areas of greatest need.
Q. How should school faculties/Departments be structured?
A. Pioneer schools and forward thinking schools who have done much to prepare for Donaldson are creating supportive staff structures that allows collaboration within the Areas of Learning & Experience (AoLE).
Q. Will the current staff TLR structure be ‘fit for purpose’?
A. From current evidence there is a consensus that the greater inter-connectivity of the new curriculum structure must be reflected in the TLR structure of the school.
Q. How prescriptive/flexible will the new curriculum be?
A. Donaldson has made it clear that there will be far less prescription for teachers within the new curriculum. How much less has yet to be defined. The Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland http://bit.ly/2iXHx9h which is the model for our curriculum in Wales, shows the level of prescription adopted in Scotland through a similar process of education reform.
Q. Solid structure for the POS/SOW – what will it look like?
A. Unfortunately until the Pioneer groups for the AoLE share their documents, which they are due to do this Autumn, only the Pioneer schools know what the PoS look like.
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Q. How should we audit provision/planning etc to recognise the most important changes to be made? What to keep?
A. The only current statutory obligation for the new Curriculum for Wales is to begin to embed the 4 purposes. Schools should match the 4 purposes to their development priorities in their SDP in order to identify key changes to make in preparation for the new curriculum.
Q. How much will we need to change things when we are confident that they work?
A. It would be sensible to evaluate how well school actions are working against the 4 purposes in order to identify whether there is anything further that can be done to bring about improvement for pupils’ benefit.
Q. Is there a right or preferred way to structure the ‘Donaldson’ curriculum?
A. The structure of the new Curriculum for Wales is outlined in Successful Futures. Schools are expected to make their own decisions about how to structure their T&L and staffing.
Q. Are GCSEs changing? How will the new curriculum affect GCSEs? How will successful futures prepare children effectively for GCSE? Would the new curriculum effect standards in individual subject areas? (ie preparation for GCSE)
A. Welsh Government have recognised that qualifications in Wales will need to be reviewed in light of the new curriculum. Their current position is that this will be an ongoing process by Qualifications Wales.
Q. What will assessment look like? Assessment which is meaningful for pupils, parents and teachers – what are the plans for this? What/how will we moderate/assess against?
A. Assessment will be focussed on formative assessment. It will no longer be organised in Key Stages, but Progression Steps at ages 5,8,11,14 & 16. There will be a refocus of assessment on progress. National Curriculum Levels will be scrapped. No further details have been shared by the Assessment Strategy Group, but the assessment framework for the new curriculum is being developed in tandem with the AoLE, so a draft document should be published in September 2018. The signs are though that this initial date is proving to be a very ambitious deadline.
Q. How will we measure the success of each change/assessment Framework?
A. The Pioneer School work includes a trialling and development process that has been designed in order to measure the success of the curriculum development.
Q. Progressions – baseline data. Where from? How is progress measured?
A. Baseline data will continue to be focussed on Teacher Assessment against the new curriculum documents. The specifics of how this will work and what this will look like have not yet been released by Welsh Government.
Q. How will schools be measured?
A. Welsh Government has accepted Donaldson’s recommendation that assessment should no longer be linked to accountability. Prof. Donaldson also recommends that the school categorisation process should be adjusted to reflect the recommendations of Successful Futures. No further detail has been given on this question from the Pioneer Strategy Group or Welsh Government.
Q. What is the time frame for publication of documents?
A. Welsh Government are clear that schools will receive the new curriculum documents in September 2018 and at this point may begin working from these documents. The new curriculum will become statutory for all settings from September 2021.
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Q. Funding? Where is it coming from?
A. Pioneer schools have been provided with funding in order to release teachers to engage in the development process. Regional Consortia have also been provided with funding to support the development of the Curriculum for Wales. There has been no further announcement regarding specific Curriculum for Wales funding for individual schools to access directly.
Q. What about clear guidance? A start point? Will there be guides for assessment? Where will we find the time? How will we receive training? Will there be clear guidance – not drip fed? How will information and training be made available to all and at the ‘same’ time, delivering the ‘same’ messages.
A. Kirsty Williams announced in January 2017 that there will be a consistent all Wales approach to CPD that will be delivered regionally. She also announced that further details regarding CPD for staff and schools in preparation for the new curriculum would be delivered in March of this year. Professional learning support for Digital Competence will also be delivered in the same all Wales regional model from September 2018. Publication of this information is still awaited.
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