As curriculum director, I don't usually have the opportunity to get out and about. Most days are spent behind the computer, researching and writing. And even though I love my job, when the opportunity arose to take my team to Swansea to share our new Welsh History and Culture pack with over 500 teachers at the ERW – Sharing Excellence Festival, I jumped at the chance.
Welcome to Swansea
Five hours from Barnsley to Swansea (with three changes) is a substantial trip, so the ‘Welcome to Swansea' sign at Swansea station was a welcome sight. The station was peppered with football supporters, wrapped in the Baner Cymru, which only ramped up the excitement. After all, this was the biggest day for Welsh football fans since facing Brazil in 1958. Swansea city centre certainly had an air of wild excitement about it!
Festival of Sharing Excellence
The festival, held at the Brangwyn Hall, got off to a unusual start when one of the visiting school children fell on a fire alarm, causing all those attending to evacuate the hall. Nevertheless, there was a moment of magic while standing out in the rain, when children from Ysgol Penllergaer School Choir gave an impromptu musical performance to an appreciative, if slightly wet, audience. How lovely!
Once settled and ready to show, the day flew by. How fantastic it was to meet and greet so many schools already using the Cornerstones Curriculum and to hear their stories of Cornerstones in action. And, what a pleasure to spend time sharing the principles and content of the Welsh History and Culture pack with interested and enthusiastic teachers. Favourite themes seem to be Eisteddfod, Gwenllian the warrior princess and Henry Tudor.
Perhaps something we were not prepared for was the effortless charm by which we were convinced to translate the Welsh History and Culture pack into Welsh, by Edward Davies, an enthusiastic deputy head from Ysgol Rhys Prichard, Llanymddyfri. But we were, and so now in September, you'll find it available in Welsh.
A successful visit
At five o'clock the day was over, and my team and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. We'd had our fill of Welsh cakes and were ready to make the long journey back to Yorkshire. Travelling home, it was nice to reflect upon the last two days and while passing the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, it occurred to us that this was a trip we would very much like to repeat.
The new Welsh History and Culture Pack is available now in English, and in Welsh from September. Call now to order your copy.
We’ll be back!
The Cornerstones team will be back in Wales on 13th October, at the Policy Forum for Wales seminar about the new curriculum for Wales in Cardiff. Hope to see you there!