Top 10 points from the new Welsh government curriculum guidelines

We’ve outlined 10 key points from the government guidelines for the new 3–16 school curriculum for Wales ‘A curriculum for Wales – a curriculum for life'.

1. The four purposes will be at the heart of the curriculum.

These support the curriculum to encourage children and young people to be:

  • ambitious, capable learners
  • enterprising, creative contributors
  • ethical, informed citizens
  • healthy, confident individuals

For details of each one see the illustration in the report. Schools should begin to adopt and embed these purposes immediately to strengthen pedagogy.

2. The new curriculum will be ‘inclusive, broad, balanced and challenging’.

There will be common areas of learning and experience (AoLE) for 3-16 year olds.

These will be:

  • Expressive arts
  • Health and well-being
  • Humanities
  • Languages, literacy and communication
  • Mathematics and numeracy
  • Science and technology

Each AoLE should include, where appropriate, a Welsh dimension as well as an international and UK perspective. Schools will be able to use the AoLEs to determine their own curriculum and how it should be organised.

3. Progression reference points and achievement outcomes will be defined nationally.

This is for consistency and to ensure assessment arrangements are fully aligned with the new curriculum (AoLEs), achievement outcomes and progression reference points.

4. The new curriculum will be available to schools by 2018.

It is expected that schools should be fully prepared for first teaching by 2021.

5. ‘Rich experiences’ are vital for deep learning.  

It will be important for schools and partner organisations to think about the range of experiences already available to learners in each school community; consider how they can be best applied, built upon and improved; and what new experiences can be offered to support the four purposes. Promoting learners’ experiences is integral to learning but also an important aspect in raising aspirations.

6. At its heart, the Pupil Offer is about finding successful ways of igniting interests, stimulating passions and increasing confidence in our children and young people.

It is about finding more effective ways to deliver the curriculum, communicate high expectations, raising an individual’s aspirations and ambitions to succeed in everything they choose to do. It is about schools and practitioners working with a wide range of partners to develop a breadth of opportunities and activities that expand horizons within and beyond the traditional learning environment of the classroom. Schools are being asked to review the existing experiences they offer, consider new opportunities and develop a Pupil Offer that complements and supports the four purposes – start now and set out in their school development plan (SDP) for the next academic year.

We’re currently creating editable grids that list our curriculum’s memorable experiences as part of our Pupil Offer for Years 1–6. You can download the Y1 and Y5 grids now.

7. Literacy and numeracy skills will be embedded in a meaningful way in all schools.

Literacy, numeracy and digital competence are the cross-curriculum responsibilities for all practitioners and people who work with children and young people.The focus will continue to be on literacy and numeracy as an essential pre-requisite for the new curriculum. The Government are now moving at pace to develop digital competence as a cross-curriculum responsibility.

Cornerstones will publish an updated National Literacy and Numeracy Programme and will continue to ensure that schools receive support in implementing the LNF from regional consortia and through producing additional online materials to share good practice. While we continue to support literacy and numeracy, we are now moving at pace to develop digital competence as a cross-curriculum responsibility.

8. The Welsh language will remain a compulsory element of the curriculum.

This will be for all learners up to 16 years old.

9. There will be a new National Assessment and Evaluation Framework.

This will be developed based on the four purposes and the key principles set out in the Successful Futures report. It will be designed with the profession and will be fully inclusive to make sure the framework covers all learners and all abilities.

10. A revised accountability and support strategy will be developed.

To support this the government will establish a task and finish group which will hold its inaugural meeting during the autumn. Work will be completed by the summer of 2016 and shared with the wider profession during the autumn term of 2016.

The full report is available to read on the Welsh Government website.

How will Cornerstones support schools in Wales through these changes?

Cornerstones Curriculum Wales will be developed alongside the national requirements now and in the future. Learn more.

Learn more about Cornerstones Curriculum Wales

Learn more on our Cornerstones Curriculum Wales product page and download two free sample projects.

Published by

Melanie Moore

Mel is Curriculum Director and the author of the Cornerstones Curriculum. She writes, edits and oversees all curriculum materials and leads our creative team. Mel has over 20 years of primary teaching experience, including as a deputy headteacher. She has also been a teacher adviser and a local authority strategy adviser.

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