For the first time since 2019, headteachers came together in Cardiff to hear Minister Jeremy Miles give a keynote speech, put questions to him, and take part in workshops led by fellow headteachers, followed by a panel discussion involving Estyn, Qualifications Wales, Swansea Council and the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.
Workshop topics focused on learning after Covid, addressing learning policy 14-16 (in advance of a consultation early in 2024); learning which is inclusive, interesting and relevant but also aspirational; family engagement; effective practice in Additional Learning Needs; and yes, headteacher well-being. All sessions were recorded.
A consultation opened on 21st November, exploring options for changing the school calendar. Changes are aimed at enhancing pupil and staff well-being and supporting teaching and learning, with breaks being spread out more evenly. The first change would create a 2-week half term autumn break, reducing the summer break by one week. The amount of teaching days and holidays will not change.
One reason for the proposed change is that the current school calendar has an autumn term longer than others. Research suggests this term is tiring and challenging for learners and staff, as more teaching is squeezed into it than any other.
Adnodd, the new arm’s-length body which will oversee the provision of educational resources in Wales, has appointed Emyr George as its first new chief executive.
Established earlier this year, Adnodd will be the one-stop shop for bilingual education resources. It will oversee the commissioning and provision of high-quality teaching and learning materials to support the Curriculum for Wales, and the roll-out of new qualifications for learners aged 14-16.
Emyr will be joining Adnodd in early 2024 from his current role as Qualifications Policy and Reform Director with Qualifications Wales. He brings a wealth of experience from across the education sector, including eight years at Qualifications Wales and prior experience at Ofqual – the qualifications and exams regulator for England.
More recently, Emyr has been leading on high-profile reforms of qualifications to support the new Curriculum for Wales, including a brand-new set of ‘Made-for-Wales’ GCSEs.