Curriculum for Wales - Feedback

Kirsty Williams gives evidence in the Senedd on CfW feedback

What changes will be made in response to CfW feedback?

Yesterday Kirsty Williams gave evidence in the Senedd at the Children and Young People, Education Committee on the feedback that was received on the draft Curriculum for Wales documents including the proposals for assessment and evaluation. A summary of key points is below:

More of the curriculum content will appear in primary legislation in response to the concern that there will be variation of curriculum content across schools and regions.

  1. Schools will be required by law to address the What Matters Statements in curriculum provision. The wording of the statements will not appear in primary legislation, just an expectation that schools will deliver them.
  2. An assessment framework that sets expectations for progression for each child will also appear in primary legislation. We expect this to mean schools will be required by law to deliver all Achievement Outcomes at each of the five Progression Steps through their curriculum and assess pupils against this framework.

The refinement process will be enabled by a new group of Quality Improvement Practitioners, regional consortia, Estyn and Qualifications Wales

Those involved in the refinement process will be considering the refinements to be made and drafting their changes ready for an editorial process that will take place in November. A report on this process will be published by Welsh Government later this Autumn.

Lessons from Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland have been learned.

Curriculum for Excellence experienced issues in three key areas, which Welsh Government has worked hard to address:

  1. Scotland spent no time at all considering how teachers would assess Curriculum for Excellence
  2. Scotland didn’t spend enough time preparing teachers for implementation through professional learning
  3. Scotland didn’t ensure the middle tier (LAs & regional bodies*) were engaged in the reform process

Welsh Government have created a practical approach to support schools to implement the new curriculum.

16 innovation schools, 4 in each region, have been appointed and allocated £30,000 each to engage with and trial implementation of Curriculum for Wales. Each school has provided feedback for WG through reports and meetings on their concerns and progress towards implementation of a model of Curriculum for Wales. Plans are in place for these schools to share their implementation model and journey through cluster and school to school working ready for schools to adopt and adapt their model.

The focus of the new accountability regime will be to separate accountability from assessment

The education minister is currently carrying out a review of accountability measures so was not in a position to detail what a new regime may contain. However, she mentioned there would be a greater focus on the school Self Evaluation Record leading to key priorities published in each school’s development plan. The new Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership would also play a role in holding individual teachers and schools to account for their performance.

Research by WISERD commissioned by Welsh Government suggests Curriculum for Wales has the potential to widen the attainment gap for the disadvantaged.

The education minister emphasised the importance of WISERD’s research into Curriculum for Wales development and progress. Reducing the attainment gap is one of the key targets of the National Mission for Education, and Kirsty Williams is convinced that the foundation provided by the four purposes along with the greater flexibility afforded to teachers to design engaging and relevant learning for pupils, would reduce the disadvantage gap across Wales.

*Regional bodies like Wales’ consortia did not exist in Scotland until very recently.

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