To present Joint Committee members with a further progress report on schools' preparations for Curriculum for Wales work in light of the renew and reform agenda.
To note and accept the report which highlights schools' preparations for Curriculum for Wales in light of the renew and reform agenda.
The report was submitted by the Senior Leader – Curriculum for Wales and the following main points were noted:
- It was mentioned that the report reflected on the past year looking at how primary and secondary schools were preparing for the new curriculum which had come into force in September 2022. It was noted that the report looked in particular at the summer term prior to the curriculum coming into force.
- It was explained that Welsh Government has shared 6 steps to prepare for this change in the curriculum and it was noted that schools were coping well with these steps.
- It was added that feedback from school leaders confirmed that additional steps were needed to reach these targets especially given the role of progression, assessment and pedagogy in the local context.
- It was explained that primary schools had engaged well in preparing for the new curriculum and that they were being supported by Curriculum for Wales through a series of workshops, webinars and models.
- It was explained that work was being done with secondary schools this year to focus on pupils moving to year 7, and next year the work would focus on years 7 and 8.
- It was confirmed that secondary schools were looking at local identity to ensure that the curriculum was embedded using suitable means.
- It was emphasised that pedagogy and self-evaluations varied from school to school and that strategies were being developed regularly. Support was provided to encourage well-being for all and schools were encouraged to collaborate to create a network of staff that were able to support each other through this reform journey.
The GwE Managing Director expanded on these points noting the following main points:
- An aspiration was expressed to present an update on the curriculum to new local authority members following the May 2022 elections, or to all local council members to update them on curriculum developments.
- In response to the comment, the Chair noted that holding an on-line update may be an option to update many members at the same time.
- The GwE Managing Director referred to the requirements for measuring the schools' progress and accountability. It was noted that the structure, shape and direction of the curriculum was difficult to determine, and therefore schools needed time to become confident on the best method to use taking advantage of the aspects that were most relevant to them. It was added that bridging and collaboration would take place naturally through local, geographical needs and learning experiences as time went on.
In response to an enquiry about the timetable in terms of when the assessment methods would be mature enough to be able to interpret whether these educating methods were more successful than the previous ones, the GwE Managing Director noted:
- It would take considerable time to be able to compare this. He went on to explain that this was mainly due to the new systems looking at well-being, learning experiences and the experiences against the four purposes. It was explained there was a need for detailed discussions in the future to seek to adopt a fair method of assessment given that the curriculum method was of a local nature and that different aspects affected different locations within the various local authorities. It was also explained that political advice and guidance was needed on this matter.