Why is the school curriculum being changed?
The main basis for the current curriculum dates from 1988. Technological developments have led to major changes in society and that means young people need different skills.
Over 30 years, extra elements were bolted on to the curriculum so some argue it has become too unwieldy.
The new curriculum aims to set out a more coherent and relevant blueprint of what pupils should be getting out of their time at school.
The reforms also came out of concerns about standards and poor results in international Pisa tests and ministers will hope it will pay dividends in better results too.
The new curriculum will have more emphasis on equipping young people for life. It will build their ability to learn new skills and apply their subject knowledge more positively and creatively. As the world changes, they will be more able to adapt positively.
They will also get a deep understanding of how to thrive in an increasingly digital world. A new digital competence framework is now introducing digital skills across the curriculum, preparing them for the opportunities and risks that an online world presents.
Meanwhile teachers will have more freedom to teach in ways they feel will have the best outcomes for their learners.
The central focus of assessment arrangements will be to ensure learners understand how they are performing and what they need to do next. There will be a renewed emphasis on assessment for learning as an essential and integral feature of learning and teaching.
It will have six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE).
- Expressive arts.
- Health and well-being.
- Humanities (including RE which should remain compulsory to age 16).
- Languages, literacy and communication (including Welsh, which should remain compulsory to age 16, and modern foreign languages).
- Mathematics and numeracy.
- Science and technology.
It will also include three cross-curricular responsibilities: literacy, numeracy and digital competence.
Assessment is a continuous process and takes place on a daily basis in schools. Progression reference points help learners, teachers, parents and carers to understand if appropriate progress is being made. They will set out expectations for learners in each area of their learning relating broadly to ages 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16.
Why it’s changing
Now more than ever, young people need to be adaptable to change, capable of learning new skills throughout life and equipped to cope with new life scenarios.
Advances in technology and globalisation have transformed the way we live and work. These changes have profound implications for what, and how, children and young people need to learn. After all, tablets and smart phones didn’t even exist when the last curriculum was introduced in 1993.
Schools and teachers need more flexibility to respond to this environment, using a new curriculum which will promote high achievement and engage the interest of all children and young people to help them reach their potential.
The new curriculum will bring this about by making learning more experience-based, the assessment of progress more developmental, and by giving teachers the flexibility to deliver in more creative ways that suit the learners they teach.
This new approach was informed by Professor Graham Donaldson’s independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales, Successful Futures, in February 2015 which provided the foundations for a twenty-first Century curriculum shaped by the very latest national and international thinking.
Since the report, teachers and stakeholders have been consulted at events across Wales to gather their thoughts and start to shape future curriculum and assessment arrangements.