De­lay hits start of coun­try’s rad­i­cal new school cur­ricu­lum

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - AB­BIE WIGHTWICK ab­bie.wightwick@waleson­line.co.uk

CHIL­DREN now aged seven and younger will be the first to be taught Wales’ rad­i­cal new school cur­ricu­lum.

A new de­layed timetable for the in­tro­duc­tion of the change to the way chil­dren are taught and as­sessed will be an­nounced to­day.

In­stead of the pre­vi­ously planned big bang changeover for ev­ery­one in 2021, the new cur­ricu­lum will be in­tro­duced grad­u­ally.

It means that for five years, teach­ers will have to teach the old and the new sys­tems at the same time to stu­dents of dif­fer­ent ages.

Chil­dren aged six or seven to­day will be the first to start new cur­ricu­lum when they start sec­ondary school in 2022 and will con­tinue with it as they progress through school.

Chil­dren in pri­mary schools will all switch over the same year.

How­ever, older chil­dren will still learn the tra­di­tional way. It means the first set of GCSE-level ex­ams sat un­der the new cur­ricu­lum will be for to­day’s six and seven year olds in 2025.

By the time to­day’s six and seven-year-olds reach their fi­nal GCSE year in 2026, the roll-out will be com­plete.

Un­veil­ing the new timetable to­day, ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Kirsty Wil­liams said: “It’s the right de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce the cur­ricu­lum as a phased roll-out rather than a ‘big bang’, and for that to start in 2022.

“This ap­proach, and an ex­tra year, will mean all schools have the time to en­gage with the de­vel­op­ment of the cur­ricu­lum and be fully pre­pared for the changes.”

All schools will have ac­cess to the fi­nal cur­ricu­lum from 2020, to al­low them to move to­wards full roll-out in 2022.

The re­vised timetable was an­nounced by the Welsh Gov­ern­ment in re­sponse to a progress re­port on the re­forms last year from the body which runs the in­ter­na­tional Pisa test, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD).

And ear­lier this year the Na­tional Assem­bly’s ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee warned schools need a con­tin­gency plan with con­fu­sion about work be­ing done fol­low­ing Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Don­ald­son’s 2015 “Suc­cess­ful Fu­tures” cur­ricu­lum re­view.

De­tails are con­tained in a 44-page re­port from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment Ed­u­ca­tion in Wales: Our na­tional mis­sion, Ac­tion plan 2017–21, un­veiled to­day.

Writ­ing in the doc­u­ment, the ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary warns schools must move with chang­ing times: “There is no doubt that Wales, and the world, face sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges and rapid change.

“Huge eco­nomic and tech­no­log­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion ne­ces­si­tates that our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem can’t stand still.

“Do­ing noth­ing is sim­ply not an op­tion. Taken to­gether, our re­forms will meet these chal­lenges and de­liver on the high ex­pec­ta­tions we all share for our young peo­ple.

“For the first time in a gen­er­a­tion, ed­u­ca­tors right across our sys­tem are work­ing to­gether to craft a new and in­no­va­tive vi­sion for our schools.

“We have to grasp with both hands the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some­thing that will be the envy of the world.”

The re­port says the new cur­ricu­lum will help de­velop young peo­ple as con­fi­dent, ca­pa­ble and car­ing cit­i­zens.

“...We are mov­ing ahead to en­sure that the widely sup­ported new cur­ricu­lum will be avail­able for all learn­ers in Wales.

”In or­der to achieve that, we need to de­sign a full cur­ricu­lum and the as­so­ci­ated as­sess­ment ar­range­ments, which is now be­ing done with schools and ex­pert stake­hold­ers.

“A key prin­ci­ple of the new cur­ricu­lum is that it must be ap­pro­pri­ate to ev­ery learner in ev­ery class­room.

“It is not a mat­ter of sim­ply adapt­ing the ex­ist­ing cur­ricu­lum.”

The re­port stresses the im­por­tance of a suc­cess­ful ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem for Wales’s eco­nomic pros­per­ity, and for en­sur­ing young peo­ple have the skills they need for the 21st cen­tury,

“Schools are hav­ing to pre­pare our young peo­ple for jobs that have not yet been cre­ated and chal­lenges that we are yet to en­counter,” it says.

“This will re­quire a re­newed com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing both the skills and knowl­edge of our young peo­ple.”

On the new cur­ricu­lum, the re­port says that by 2021 the trans­for­ma­tion will be well un­der way and “Schools will have sig­nif­i­cant ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing to­gether to take the new cur­ricu­lum for­ward” in 2022.

It prom­ises the re­forms will raise lit­er­acy, nu­mer­acy and dig­i­tal stan­dards for all pupils as well as mak­ing them more bilin­gually com­pe­tent; en­ter­pris­ing, cre­ative and crit­i­cal thinkers.

In­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Wales wel­comed the new cur­ricu­lum timetable.

“We wel­come the re­vised time­line set out in the na­tional ed­u­ca­tion plan.

“We will con­tinue to work closely with Welsh Gov­ern­ment and Pi­o­neer Schools to look at what new qual­i­fi­ca­tions will be needed to sup­port the new cur­ricu­lum,” said chief ex­ec­u­tive Philip Blaker.

“We recog­nise that any new qual­i­fi­ca­tions will need to be in place well be­fore their go-live date of Septem­ber 2025.

“We will make sure that they are ready in plenty of time for schools and teach­ers to pre­pare for teach­ing them, and for bilin­gual re­sources to be avail­able to sup­port teach­ers and learn­ers.”

Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Wales is work­ing closely with the Pi­o­neer Schools net­work on the de­vel­op­ment of the new cur­ricu­lum.

It is also re­view­ing the range of qual­i­fi­ca­tions cur­rently taken by 14 to 16-year-olds to as­sess the changes that will be needed to sup­port the new cur­ricu­lum.

A Welsh Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “There will be a pe­riod where some teach­ers will be teach­ing two cur­ric­ula, but the roll out aims to as­sist with this and we will sup­port the pro­fes­sion through the tran­si­tion.”

DO­MINIC LIPINSKI

The in­tro­duc­tion of the new cur­ricu­lum for Wales’ schools is be­ing de­layed

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