Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Assembly for Wales

Y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg | Children, Young People and Education Committee

Hynt y gwaith gan Lywodraeth Cymru wrth ddatblygu Cwricwlwm newydd Cymru | Welsh Government's progress in developing the new Curriculum for Wales

 CR 02

Ymateb gan: Consortia Rhanbarthol Cymru
Response from: Regional Consortia for Wales

4 regions’ response to the CYPE investigation into the progress of curriculum development.

We would like to thank the CYPE for their request for evidence and welcome the continued opportunity to engage with and support these enquiries.  The four regions submit the following as a joint response to inform you of the progress made since the previous enquiry. 



Progress towards producing a draft Curriculum for Wales in time for its publication by the Welsh Government for public feedback in April 2019;

Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE) development groups are making good progress towards the development of the draft curriculum ahead of publication in April 2019. Publication dates for all AoLEs have been scheduled for December and January.  

The role of Pioneer Schools and any opportunities and challenges in their involvement in curriculum design;

Most Curriculum Pioneer Schools have been fully committed to the work of the AoLE development, latterly working on a fortnightly cycle of 2-3 day curriculum development workshops. Between workshops, schools have been requested to complete follow-up and research tasks and supporting partner schools in developing their understanding of the emerging curriculum framework.  This has been a significant programme of work for curriculum pioneer schools, particularly in this final phase of producing the draft Curriculum for Wales.  The individual practitioners working with the AoLE curriculum development groups have had access to significant professional learning and research opportunities through their work.   Challenges related to the practical release of teachers from school has been eased by the regular scheduling of AoLE meetings on Wednesday/Thursday, allowing schools to plan more effectively. 

Professional Learning Pioneers have been linked with AoLE groups and directed to undertake specific testing and enquiry tasks.  They have received professional learning in the use of research and enquiry and are working with HEI partners to develop this further.

Digital Pioneers are linked with the Curriculum Pioneers to ensure that the Digital Competency Framework is embedded throughout the AoLEs.

The latest position regarding the work of the Working Groups which have been established for each of the six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE);

Each group is nearing the final stages of the development of their respective AoLE frameworks. Practitioners are also working on writing draft guidance documents for each AoLE.  In addition, curriculum pioneers from each AoLE are also meeting across AoLEs to discuss other respects of the curriculum including assessment, LNF/DCF, Wider skills, Welsh Dimension and International perspectives.   Fortnightly AoLE meetings are scheduled until the publication deadline for each AoLE. 

Some curriculum pioneers from the AoLE groups will also be involved in developing related materials such as the RE supporting framework. 

The involvement of academic and other external expertise in informing curriculum design

Welsh Government has made a significant investment in engaging with a wide range of experts in supporting the AoLE groups to inform curriculum design. This has been both at strategic level (AoLE leads received input from Prof Mark Priestley, Prof Mick Waters and Dr C. Sinnema on the key concepts of curriculum design) and AoLE groups have received support from within their domains from academics from the relevant disciplines.

The CAMAU project has provided consistent expert input into the development of progression within each AoLE. The Learned Society has also been commissioned to provide papers for the AoLE groups on Wider Skills, and the Welsh Dimension and International Perspective.  Members of the Learned Society have also joined the AoLE groups at workshops to provide specific support.  Members of the Foundation Phase expert panel have also worked with AoLE groups to develop progression frameworks and achievement outcomes.  Each AoLE has also engaged external expertise from subject experts to inform their developments and ensure subject disciplines are well represented.

How the ‘What Matters?’ statements, published in December 2017, are evolving into the design of curriculum content in each of the six AoLEs;

The What Matters statements and accompanying narrative/rationale have evolved from the initial statements developed in December 2017, through several iterations, following on from feedback provided by the Curriculum and Assessment Panel, schools and subject experts.   Academic expertise has supported well the revision of the What Matters statements and narrative in each AoLE. 

The What Matters statements and accompanying narrative/rationale are the basis of the AoLE specific curriculum design.  The What Matters narratives/rationale provides a justification for each What Matters, and further explains the key concepts and ideas framed within each.  The What Matters statements and narratives offer ‘triggers’ to highlight the key knowledge, skills and experiences that are essential for learners to have access to, as well as clear links to the 4 purposes. The key Knowledge, Skills and Experiences are framed in the next section of the curriculum design, and also have accompanying rationale to explain why they are the entitlement for all learners.  Each What Matters has achievement outcomes framed at each progression step. These are high level statements that describe the learning at each step.

Progress in defining achievement outcomes at the various progression steps within the new curriculum;


Each AoLE developed a progression narrative in the spring of 2018, linked to each What Matters. From these narratives, draft Achievement Outcomes were developed.  These were shared with Professional Learning pioneers, and experts for feedback in Summer and Autumn 2018.  These were further refined following feedback from the Curriculum and Assessment Panel.   Each AoLE has been supported by colleagues from CAMAU in developing their progression framework and subsequent Achievement Outcomes.

How the development of the new Curriculum for Wales is aligning with the development of the new national professional learning offer for teachers;


The national professional learning offer for teachers is currently being developed at a consortia level with Welsh Government.  The professional learning offer will align with the new curriculum and follow the national model for professional learning.

Professional Learning Pioneers’ work on trialling the professional standards for teaching and leadership and work on developing schools as learning organisations is integral across all elements of the professional learning offer.

Communication with schools and teachers of the curriculum development work being undertaken and the engagement of all schools (not only Pioneer Schools);

Each regional consortia has engaged with schools through a programme of support, which has included the opportunity for partner schools to engage with Pioneer schools. This support has focused on raising knowledge and understanding of high level curriculum detail including 4 Purposes, 6 AOLEs, 12 Pedagogical Principles. As the curriculum has developed, communication with schools has included information on the curriculum structure and sharing draft What Matters statements. 

Curriculum and Professional Learning Pioneers have engaged with schools on specific aspects of the design, such as gathering feedback on the framing of Achievement Outcomes. 

Pioneer schools have participated in consortia led engagement and professional learning programmes.

Effectiveness of the governance arrangements, role of the Independent Advisory Group and Chair Board, and involvement of the Education Reform Strategic Stakeholder Group;

Welsh Government have developed a wide range of governance to better inform decisions and to engage with the wider profession.

The Operational Delivery Board and Change Board are key in the monitoring of progress and managing risks to make informed decisions.  These board have representatives from Welsh Government, Estyn and the regional consortia.

In order to monitor curriculum development there are also two key group who aim to secure consistency and clarity for the profession around draft curriculum.  The Coherence Group ensures consistency across AoLEs and the manageability group is made up of headteachers from a range of school setting to inform AoLEs if what is being developed is manageable and fit for purpose. 

The preparedness of schools and teachers for delivering the new curriculum and to what some extents of the concepts of Professor Donaldson’s Successful Futures review are being tested and carried out already;

The majority of schools have an increasing awareness of the development of the new curriculum framework and all schools have been provided with the opportunity to engage at a regional level with workshops to develop their understanding of the reform programme (to include the development of the new Curriculum for Wales).

Practitioners across school have had opportunities to be aware of curriculum developments and have been encouraged to reflect on current practices, in particular with respect to the 4 Purposes. Schools are developing their understanding and use of evidence-informed practice and many are preparing well to adapt to the changes brought about across the breadth of the reform.

The role of the Curriculum and Assessment Group in ensuring the development of the curriculum is on track and the outcome of its ‘checkpoint’ meeting of 13-14 November 2018 to review progress;

The Curriculum and Assessment Group (CAG) have reviewed progress and provided advice at specified stages in the process.  The sequence of CAG meeting has been regular and according to the agreed plan. Each AoLE has received bespoke feedback to support the development of their work from CAG. A wide range of international expertise and perspectives have been brought to the process through CAG. Feedback from CAG has ben used by AoLE groups to improve the quality of development. 

Progress in developing new assessment arrangements;

Pioneers from each AoLE have begun to develop a line of work linked to developing new assessment arrangements.  Qualifications Wales have developed their approach to consulting on the development of new qualifications. This approach has been shared with Pioneer schools.  Each AoLE has a member of qualifications Wales linked to their group to support the development of future qualifications.

The steps being taken to ensure that the new Curriculum for Wales complements other Welsh Government priorities, including (but not restricted to) Cymraeg 2050;

The draft Curriculum for Wales work to date is fully supportive of Welsh Government Priorities. 

The development of Welsh language and culture is integral to curriculum development and future professional learning. 

Literacy, Numeracy and Digital competence are the three Cross Curricular responsibilities in the new curriculum.  The LNF and DCF will be developed as supports to the new curriculum. 

The focus on equity and wellbeing is also evident in the design of the new curriculum, through the 4 purposes and the role of the Health and Wellbeing AoLE.

The commitment to bilingualism is a fundamental principle in the LLC AoLE.

The role of STEM as a national priority is supported by the new curriculum through the Science and technology and Maths and numeracy AoLE’s.  Learned societies linked to STEM subjects have been involved in the development of these areas of learning and experience.

At consortia level, the focus of professional learning is on developing a well led and high-quality workforce. Collaboration is key to the professional learning programmes provided at consortia level.

The new and acting Headteacher national programme designed and delivered by the 4 regional consortia and their partner organisations is the first programme endorsed by the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL) and is also the first programme that offers university accreditation opportunities.

All leadership programmes incorporate:

·         supporting leaders in their role in realising the ambition of the National Mission Action Plan 2017-2021

·         developing Schools as Learning Organisations

·         the four purposes and the four enabling objectives

·         creating a self-improving system with a learning culture

·         improving experiences and outcomes for pupils

·         Specific focus is given to meet the challenges noted in Enabling Objective 2: Inspirational leaders working collaboratively to raise standards.

·         Reflect the aims noted in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

Any other issue stakeholders wish to draw to the Committee’s attention.


The regions are working hard to integrate all elements of the reform so that the new curriculum is not seen in isolation; supporting schools to plan for the reform as a whole.