An annual report that sets out the progress and achievements of Curriculum for Wales to date, with priorities for the year from September 2023, has been published by Welsh Government.
The wide-ranging report considers key aspects of curriculum implementation, and is published alongside a plan to undertake a rigorous and transparent evaluation of the curriculum and assessment reforms over time and the extent to which they are having the desired impact for all learners.
An introduction to the annual report from Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, sets the scene:
‘The last academic year has been a landmark in terms of our curriculum reforms. In the short time since the Curriculum for Wales was introduced in the majority of schools and funded non-maintained nursery settings last September, we are already starting to see reports of some of the benefits we expect the new curriculum to bring. It is still early days, yet there are some early and encouraging signs.
This second annual report provides an outline of the progress being made across our education system, areas where further focus is necessary, and priorities for support as we head into the 2023 to 2024 academic year; a year when all schools and settings will be using the Curriculum for Wales. It also includes a wide range of links and additional information to help draw together some of the key aspects of our reforms, and how they are supporting us realise our ambitions together.
I recognise that the last year has been a challenging time for staff across schools and settings with budget constraints, as well as well-being pressures for both practitioners and learners manifesting in industrial action and lower attendance. I also appreciate the scale of the task and work still in train. I am clear that curriculum reform is a journey which requires government support, and the support of various stakeholder organisations.
Over the last year I have been impressed by the schools and settings I have seen using curriculum reform as the catalyst to focus more on the needs of their particular learners and communities. Through this focus, and working in clusters and across Wales, we are collectively raising the aspirations and standards of learning. Estyn are seeing generally good progress, and early insights research highlights that school leaders are, among other things, taking the opportunity to improve equity and inclusivity for their learners and optimise the parallel implementation of ALN reform.
As I publish this 2023 annual report, I am also separately publishing our Curriculum for Wales evaluation plan. That will provide the necessary full formative evaluation of key elements of the curriculum we need to be able to assess what has worked, and to also guide us system-wide on future improvement.
Underpinning the development and roll-out of the Curriculum for Wales has always been co-construction and collaboration, including through our National Network. A self-improving system and a shared understanding of progression cannot work without collaboration. As we move forward together, it remains critical for us and our partners to provide the space, time and support for school staff to work together to bring to life the best curricula for all our children and young people.
I am delighted with the progress schools and settings have made so far and would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff across our education system for their relentless drive to improve the learning experiences of all our children and young people.’