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Wales’ new curriculum and assessment arrangements are being built on progression – this is how it’s happening

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

Progression - Pie chart EnglishOur new curriculum is on the way. It will offer teachers more freedom to teach in a way that best meets the needs of each of their pupils. At its heart it has the four purposes of education set out in ‘Successful Futures’

Learning will be organised in six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ (AoLEs) rather than narrow subject boundaries. Within these, statements of ‘what matters’ set out the most important knowledge, skills and experiences to be gained.

In line with ‘Successful Futures’, the Curriculum and its assessment arrangements will be built on Progression, so each AoLE will include progression steps. In this way learning and Progression go hand in hand, bringing a purposeful approach to sequencing learning.

Current teacher assessments based on levels and programmes of study will be replaced as part of the new curriculum and assessment arrangements.

Literacy and numeracy tests will continue but evolve into adaptive personalised assessments – completed online.

Four principles will underpin the new approach:

  • It will be based on a nationally described continuum of learning for learners aged 3 to 16.
  • Learning should be an expedition, not a straight line. Progression is a ‘road map’ for each individual, and each may progress at a different rate or take a different path to get to the next stage in their learning journey.
  • Progression Steps will be at 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16 and take the form of Achievement Outcomes relating broadly to expectations at those ages. These will help learners, teachers, parents and carers to understand if appropriate progress is being made.
  • Achievement outcomes will be in the form of ‘I can’ and ‘I have’ statements. Literacy, numeracy, digital competence, wider skills and elements of the Cwricwlwm Cymreig will be included.

An approach informed by research

Pioneer schools have worked with experts and researchers from University of Wales Trinity St David and Glasgow University, calling on wide-ranging research, to underpin the new approach.

This is how the work is progressing:

  1. In Spring term, Pioneer schools across AoLE groups, working with researchers, identified the necessary learning between the ages of 3 and 16 towards each of the ‘What Matters’ statements.
  2. Their work was constructively challenged by the Curriculum and Assessment Group – a panel of education experts – who gave feedback on developments so far and advice on next steps.
  3. Currently Pioneers are developing a draft version of the Achievement Outcomes which will be integral to the draft curriculum being published for feedback in April 2019

The new curriculum will help our young people thrive and compete in a changing world. It is being developed collaboratively as an integrated whole with progression, assessment and pedagogy, to make successful futures a reality.

A new animated explainer about ‘progression’ will be available soon. ‘Follow’ this blog to stay updated.


  1. Jo Simons on

    I am so pleased to read that Literacy, numeracy, digital competence, wider skills and elements of the Cwricwlwm Cymreig will be included in the Achievement Outcomes. I really hoped at the beginning of the journey we would not have a separate document for each of the above and find ourselves in the same position of trying to match up a range of skills described progressively in a range of separate documents.
    I am not a pioneer school but I am following progress closely and sharing with my staff. I am really encouraged by the development work that has taken place so far and I’d like to thank the pioneer schools for all their hard work to date.
    I think WG are getting in right in terms of getting the information out to non pioneer schools and this information has been very useful in the way that we are reorganising our curriculum and trialing different approaches.

  2. Ms Berki on

    I think you are definitely on the right track with the progression and assesments part of the change in curriculum, and I speak from bitter personal experience of someone who went through school where the teachers had no clue who the true bright pupils were or who needed further help just to reach the standards before they left school.

  3. Excited about adaptive assessments on

    I literally can’t wait until we move to the new assessment procedures so we can teach the new curriculum without constantly having Levels, moderation and standardisation constricting the creative, formative, flexible progression of learning encouraged in Successful Futures.

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