25th March 2021
Looking to teach children about their rich Welsh history and culture through your new curriculum? Not sure where to start? In this blog, Nicola Marriott, our Wales Curriculum Adviser, shares five essential steps for weaving it effectively through your primary curriculum without getting overwhelmed.
As you may know, there was some debate earlier this year about the perceived poor inclusion of Welsh history and culture in the Curriculum for Wales guidance. Without going into the ins and outs, it’s clear that many people feel passionate about this topic. In response, the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has stressed that Welsh history is a fundamental part of the new curriculum:
‘History will be intertwined across the curriculum, including literature, expressive arts and geography. I’d advise anyone to read the mandatory guidance before suggesting that Welsh history is not in our new curriculum.’ Kirsty Williams, via Twitter.
Whatever your opinion, most, if not all, Welsh primary schools want to teach children about their country’s historical and cultural heritage. However, as anyone who has designed a curriculum will know, creating a learning programme that is rich in content, well–structured and broad enough for the whole school, is not easy. With such a huge scope of topics and content to explore, it can be difficult to know where to start, what to include and what to leave out.
I’ve been supporting Welsh teachers and leaders in curriculum development for nearly 10 years, and I’m passionate about making things straightforward and practical. With that in mind, here are my five key steps for weaving rich Welsh history and culture content through your curriculum.
Consider how Welsh history, culture and broader humanities fit within your school’s curriculum approach. This work comes under step 1 of our tried and tested Six Steps of Curriculum Design process. What are your curriculum principles? What do you want children to experience as they move through your school? What will be imperative features in your curriculum? How will you align your vision with the new national guidance, ensuring that all content has the four purposes at its heart?
Clarity in these areas will really help you to plan your history and culture provision.
Identify the local, national and wider world perspectives that you want to cover. Start with the local context earlier, so that young children gain a sense of themselves in their locality, including the school’s history. What significant local heritage, culture, literature, events and people would you like them to learn about? How far back in time do you want to cover? This step links to the sense of cynefin, which the artist Kyffin Williams describes as: ‘that relationship: the place of your birth and of your upbringing, the environment in which you live and to which you are naturally acclimatised.’
Then, as the children go through school, I suggest teaching projects that link local themes to increasingly broader national and global contexts. This helps children to build a sense of their place in the world.
Construct a clear progression framework – a good curriculum cannot survive without it. Again, this is explained in our six steps process, and it’s something that we created for the Cornerstones Curriculum. You need to decide which aspects of the new curriculum for Wales that you want to cover, and in what order. For example, map out your statements of what matters, as well as what skills and knowledge you want children to learn and when.
Now that you’ve done the hard work of mapping out coverage and progression, you’ll need to write or source the projects to help you to deliver the content. Teacher narrative is important. What pedagogy will you follow? Will this vary from, say, humanities to the expressive arts? What key vocabulary do you want children to learn? How will you help children to remember and apply their new knowledge and skills?
Excellent history and culture provision will need quality resources to bring your planned curriculum to life and inspire the children. There’s a lot to consider when choosing or creating resources. Will you provide Welsh language resources? Which local people can you draw upon? Resources take time to research and may involve extensive teacher knowledge and copywrite issues. We know from creating our Welsh humanities projects that accurate historical information can be tricky to find and corroborate.
Teach Welsh history and culture with our Welsh humanities projects
To meet the needs of primary schools in Wales, we offer a set of rich, engaging Welsh focused projects, including our popular Welsh humanities projects. They are available on our online platform, Maestro, cover Year 1 to Year 6, and are easy to adapt and plan into your curriculum.
Key benefits of the projects
As well as the humanities projects, the curriculum offers you broader cultural projects, such as Myths and Legends, which helps teach children about significant Welsh stories and myths, and an Eisteddfod project, which covers expressive arts and culture.
If you’d like one to one support and advice, please get in touch. We have experienced curriculum advisers, like Nicola, who can listen to what you need and discuss your school curriculum plans. We can help you with curriculum design, show you how to make it unique and explore the content and tools that we have to help.
Call us on 03333 20 8000
Email us at email@example.com
Contact us via the LiveChat on this page.
Over 140 primary schools in Wales are now using Maestro to design and manage their curriculum. Read two Welsh schools’ stories below.
‘Cwricwlwm Maestro has provided us with a great platform to create and develop our own unique broad, balanced and enriched curriculum in line with the four purposes.’
John McMorrow, Headteacher, Tredegar
Find out more about Cwricwlwm Maestro, the online curriculum platform designed for primary schools in Wales.