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New practitioner group to support Curriculum for Wales’ implementation – can you help?

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Curriculum for Wales has been developed by teachers for teachers. It’s imperative that we continue to develop and support Curriculum for Wales together. But how do we make sure practitioners working in different contexts across Wales have their voices heard? Through a new Practitioner Policy Group.

A series of workshops took place last summer term with practitioners who’ve been part of the National Network, the Hwb resources review, Camau i’r Dyfodol and Understanding by Design projects and other Welsh Government Curriculum for Wales co-construction groups, to establish the new Group’s terms of reference. Now a call is out for more members to join, so please complete the expression of interest form if you’re interested!*

Below, Bethan Jones talks about her nervousness about joining the first meeting, the rewards from taking part, and why she feels it’s so important that the practitioner voice is heard.

‘Okay so I will confess, when I first considered becoming a member of the Practitioner Policy Group, I was not entirely sure what it was all about, or what we would be doing during those four days in the summer term. Would they want me – a curriculum lead for a special school in rural mid Wales? What would I bring to the table?  

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The Curriculum for Wales evaluation plan 2023

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The Curriculum for Wales, now being used in all schools across Wales, is of course subject to extensive evaluation.

Two initial annual reports have provided a solid snapshot of progress, but as Minister Jeremy Miles announced in July, structured, long-term evaluation will be carried out – starting this year – to understand how the reforms are working and the extent to which they are having the desired impact for all learners, regardless of their background or needs.

It will also investigate areas which are not progressing as expected, and why, so that support and guidance can be provided in the right areas.

The evaluation plan sets out an extensive range of research and monitoring to be undertaken over the coming years. It will involve talking to hundreds of schools, learners and parents in a range of contexts.

Above: evidence projects contributing
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The evaluation plan sets out an extensive range of research and monitoring to be undertaken over the coming years. It will involve talking to hundreds of schools, learners and parents in a range of contexts.

Above: evidence projects contributing
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‘Seren’ students – our state-educated stars of the future

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In 2022, 484 learners from state schools in Wales applied to study at Oxford or Cambridge Universities. 87 received offers, compared with 65 the previous year, a 33% rise and part of a rising trajectory.

The increase in applications to top universities and top university schools in Wales, the UK and abroad has been significant in recent years. That success has been powerfully influenced by our ‘Seren Academy’, which helps more able learners from across Wales from any background, economic status or personal situation, to fulfil their academic potential.

Funded by Welsh Government, ‘Seren’ works with partners to provide an extensive programme that goes beyond the curriculum, helping learners widen their horizons, and develop a passion for their chosen field of study at no cost to the learner. It is open to years 8 to 13.

Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, visiting a Seren Summer School

One of the most exciting and life-changing activities run by ‘Seren’ are the residential summer schools, which give learners a sense of what studying and life will be like at university.  The schools also aim to develop learners’ critical thinking and academic skills to support their GCSE and A level studies. They’re underway now, and Seren would like to share some great examples below:

Cardiff University School of Medicine summer school

In July, 55 year 12 learners from across Wales had first-hand experience of a career in medicine and what it’s like to be a medical student, by participating in case-based learning and communication skills workshops based on year one medical student teaching.

The highlight of the summer school was ‘Hope Hospital’, where the university set up wards for learners to manage where they had to assess and treat ‘patients’ (actors with ‘symptoms’) with the support of clinical staff and medical students.

Learner comments: ‘all of the activities were much more engaging and immersive than I ever thought they would be’…’ one of the male actors genuinely made me tear up’.

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Complete the Adnodd survey and help shape the future of educational resources in Wales

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Earlier this year, the Welsh Government established Adnodd, a new arm’s-length body to coordinate and oversee the provision and commissioning of education resources, in Welsh and English, to support the Curriculum for Wales and its qualifications. Its remit will include the commissioning of new materials and quality assurance of resources.

One of Adnodd’s core values is that it is a listening and responsive organisation. In developing a new commissioning model and quality assurance framework, Adnodd wants to hear from its stakeholders.

We are inviting you to share your thoughts on the commissioning and quality assurance of education resources for ages 3 through 19 in Wales in light of the continued rollout of the new Curriculum for Wales (CfW) and revised qualifications.

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Camau i’r Dyfodol – Steps to the Future: Co-constructing Learning Progression in Wales

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The Camau i’r Dyfodol – Steps to the Future project, involving the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the University of Glasgow, brings together the expertise and experience of the education sector to co-construct a shared understanding of progression for all learners that is meaningful, manageable, and sustainable.

The transformation in our schools brought by reform brings inherent challenges and exciting possibilities for change – whether that’s deeper, more engaging learning experiences for learners, more relevant learning tailored to their needs, or more creative and innovative teaching methods.

Learning progression is central to Curriculum for Wales. The guidance emphasises this, outlining how learners should develop to reach their full potential, regardless of their background or needs. Camau i’r Dyfodol is working with the system to foster a better understanding of learning progression, and how to support it in practice, across Wales.

Changing our thinking

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Curriculum for Wales: annual report 2023

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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.

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Curriculum case studies in a handy PDF and a new podcast!

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A selection of school case study films on curriculum development, progression and assessment, and transition, have been gathered together in this handy pdf with links.

Featuring primaries, secondaries and a Pupil Referral Unit, they show a range of approaches including cluster work. The full Youtube playlist can be found here, and a wide range of resources here on Hwb.

Also hear a new podcast – How the National Resource: Evaluation and Improvement is being used to benefit Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi.

Mark Jones, Professional Advisor to the Welsh Government, interviews Anthony Jones (left), Deputy Headteacher at Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, about how the school is using the National Resource: Evaluation and Improvement (NR:EI) and the improvements it is helping to bring about. 

Listen on our channel through your chosen platform below:

Apple podcasts 



Or for any mobile phone, use this ‘magic link’

Enabling 14-16 learning under the Curriculum for Wales

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Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, made a statement today that Welsh Government will work with employers, parents and carers, teachers and learners to create a comprehensive approach to developing knowledge, skills and experiences for 14-16-year-old learners under the new curriculum. The approach will recognise the wide opportunities that schools already provide to support their learners move confidently towards employment, further education or training. 

Through engagement, guidance will be developed by Welsh Government for consultation later this calendar year, to be finalised and available for schools at the same time as final GCSE specifications (September 2024). Evolution of the Welsh Baccalaureate will be considered as part of this, to enable all learners to gain the skills, experiences and knowledge to move forward on their next steps. 

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Sharing information on learner progression with parents and carers – changes and a case study

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In September 2022 new legislation came into force for schools around providing information to parents and carers on their child’s progress.  See this section of the  summary of legislation or the formal legislation here.

Headteachers must now arrange for termly updates on how learners are progressing, including:

  • their well-being
  • information on key progress and learning
  • key progression needs, the next steps to support their progression, and advice on how parents can support that progress. 
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The ‘Connect’ network with a difference for educational leaders

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Role models in school and society are important. By seeing someone ostensibly like us, taking positive action and succeeding in life, we take inspiration, comfort and confidence.

We know it’s like that for learners in our schools. It’s also like that for practitioners, especially those who come from a minority ethnic background and who may not always have access to the support they need from colleagues, parents or peers.

The Anti-racist Wales Connect Group has therefore been created as a source of mutual help and peer to peer support, but also to inspire colleagues from ethnic backgrounds to aspire to leadership, helping to grow a diverse leadership representation in education in Wales.

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