Cymraeg

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Curriculum for Wales: the journey to curriculum roll-out

The purpose of this guidance is to support schools with a common set of expectations, priorities and supporting information for curriculum design.

As we move into a new phase, schools face 2 clear challenges: responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on learners and preparing for reform. The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language has published the Renew and Reform plan, setting out the Welsh Government’s approach to supporting the education system in responding to these challenges. There are also important opportunities. Preparation for curriculum reform has put Wales in a stronger position to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, recognising that now more than ever, the central importance of the four purposes to what our learners need.

The purpose of this guidance is to support schools with a common set of expectations, priorities and supporting information for curriculum design and effective learning and teaching as they respond to these 2 challenges. To do this, it brings together 2 previous key documents, ‘Curriculum for Wales: The Journey to 2022’ and ‘Guidance on learning in schools and settings: coronavirus’. Doing so recognises that the fundamentals are the same for both ‘renew’ and ‘reform’, and that they are not 2 competing, conflicting pressures. The expectations originally set out in those documents have been adapted to reflect:

  • the changing situation since they were first published
  • the learning from COVID-19
  • schools’ needs for preparation for curriculum roll-out and in particular, the announcement on timing for roll-out in secondary schools

To support this, this guidance sets out:

  • the priorities for curriculum design for both the response to COVID-19 and preparation for reform
  • the shared expectations for the steps schools should take to prepare for roll-out of Curriculum for Wales
  • a summary of the legal requirements around curriculum roll-out
  • a summary of the national support schools can expect to support preparation for reform
  • guidance on using funding allocated to schools to support learning for both ‘renew’ and ‘reform’

This guidance builds on the support offered by partners, in particular regional consortia and local authorities. This support is outlined in the Curriculum for Wales: Implementation Plan.

This guidance is specifically intended for school leaders, recognising that leadership is critical to delivering change, supported by excellent learning and teaching. Schools as learning organisations (SLO) is critical to this change and will help schools as they embark on this journey.

This section aims to give a single, clear set of expectations for what curriculum design and learning should focus on for both:

  • ‘renew’ - adapting and reprioritising learning and teaching to ensure learners progress in light of COVID-19 and
  • ‘reform’ - preparing for the roll out of Curriculum for Wales

This recognises that the same principles for curriculum design, learning and teaching are critical for both. They are designed to help schools with the questions of curriculum design as well as to help practitioners to adapt teaching to ensure effective learning. These principles are designed to help guide schools as they design their curriculum and provide a foundation for engaging with the Curriculum for Wales framework, including those aspects being consulted on in 2021.

It is critical that any planning for responding to the impacts of COVID-19 should be seen in the context of how Curriculum for Wales can support this. Likewise, planning for Curriculum for Wales should be seen in the context of how learners’ needs are changing in light of the pandemic. The approaches set out here are designed to help schools and settings respond to both in an integrated way.

This is particularly important in the context of learners’ health and wellbeing. Learners’ health and wellbeing is a key consideration throughout the 3 questions below. It is central to learners’ needs, it is critical to enabling learners to progress and forms part of understanding how they are progressing. As schools design their curriculum, understanding how it impacts and supports learners’ wellbeing will be key to successful learning.

Learners’ wellbeing is a critical enabler of learning. Learners who are not content, safe and secure will not learn effectively. The Health and Well-being Area of Learning and Experience (Area) provides support in understanding these needs, and they are relevant across all learning. Learners should be supported through the ‘Framework on embedding a whole-school approach to emotional and mental well-being’.

1. What should our learners learn and why?

All curriculum development should have a clear purpose in mind. A clear understanding of the purpose of learning and why specific knowledge, skills and experiences are important helps focus the planning of progress and learning and teaching.

The knowledge, skills and experiences learners acquire and the outcome of learning should contribute to learners embodying the four purposes. More detailed guidance on selecting knowledge, skills and experiences is set out in the Curriculum for Wales guidance, in particular the 'Designing your curriculum' section. The statements of what matters set out the key understanding learners must develop and the mandatory cross-curricular skills.

An understanding of learners’ needs, and where they are in their learning, should inform the purpose of learning. By understanding the progress learners have made, assessment enables practitioners to identify learners’ needs both as individuals and as a group and to plan future learning. Learners themselves will be an important source of information in understanding these needs, alongside the Curriculum for Wales guidance.

2. What should progress in that learning look like?

Curriculum design, allied to effective learning and teaching, should enable learners to make meaningful progress. The process of curriculum design should determine what knowledge, skills and experiences will support learners to progress both in the short term and over time, and how these should be sequenced.

In Curriculum for Wales, the principles of progression and the statements of what matters, which form the mandatory basis for progression, must directly inform planning for progression. These also offer a useful tool for building progression for learners in response to the disruption of COVID-19.

To do this, staff within and across schools and settings will need a shared understanding of this progression - what progress should look like across learners’ journeys, how they should be supported to progress and how they are progressing. This will provide a strong foundation for assessing that progress as a fundamental part of learning and teaching. In developing shared understanding, schools and practitioners should ensure high expectations for progression across the 3 to 16 continuum of education and beyond.

To support curriculum design, the descriptions of learning are designed to help practitioners understand what learners’ progress should look like. They provide guidance on the pace of progression in order to support practitioners and inform curriculum design and learning and teaching. They should be used as reference points to determine:

  • how knowledge, skills and experiences should be planned to support learners to progress in the concepts set out within the statements of what matters
  • how learning and teaching should be designed to ensure progress
  • whether the planned knowledge, skills and experiences are challenging, broad and deep enough, recognising that some learners will work above expectations

Descriptions of learning act as points of reference throughout the processes of curriculum design and planning of learning. They should be used to test and validate planning and approaches, ensuring knowledge, skills and experiences contribute to the bigger picture of progression. They should not be the starting point for curriculum design. Schools should not try to ‘achieve’ them through a narrow set of stand-alone tasks without broader purpose, progression or knowledge, skills and experience in mind.

3. How should we assess that progress?

The purpose of assessment is to support each individual learner to make progress. Assessment is critical to understanding learners’ strengths and areas for development and is an integral part of curriculum design. It should inform what specific support and challenge learners need to reach their full potential, and their next steps in learning. This requires a clear understanding of the purpose of learning and expected progression.

Assessment should focus on considering evidence of whether and how learners are making progress - how they are developing in their knowledge and skills and engaging with experiences. In the context of Curriculum for Wales, the principles of progression and statements of what matters must inform this.

Schools and practitioners should develop and use a wide range of assessment approaches embedded in learning and teaching. This should include ongoing and informal assessment. Observation and discussion with learners will be a significant feature of this and will provide evidence of what progress is being made and how. Personalised assessments, as a flexible means of gaining information about reading and numeracy skills in order to support individual learner needs, should contribute to this approach. Having been designed to support learner progression, they will continue to be a statutory part of the approach to assessment.

In developing assessment approaches, practitioners should consider what they expect progress to look like and how they will know learners are progressing.

This assessment should not be used to determine the performance of practitioners or schools or for any other means of accountability.

Schools and practitioners should use descriptions of learning to develop a wide range of assessment approaches that gather evidence of learning and help determine whether and how learners are progressing in relation to their school’s curriculum. Specific assessment approaches will depend on the knowledge, skills and experiences being developed and the needs of learners. Schools should not try to break down descriptions of learning into a set of fixed assessment criteria that are used as a tick list. That is not their purpose and it does not help understand whether learners are making meaningful progress.

Further guidance can be found in the Curriculum for Wales assessment guidance.

This section sets out the steps that schools should take to prepare for the design, development and roll-out of Curriculum for Wales. This builds on the phases set out in the previous ‘Journey to 2022’ document, which have been modified to reflect the impact of COVID-19 and learning from schools over this period. This update has been driven and underpinned by engagement with schools and settings, including through the spring conversations facilitated by the Welsh Government and regional consortia that brought together education practitioners from across Wales to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning, as well as through consultation feedback. They have been co-constructed by the Welsh Government, Estyn and regional consortia to provide a set of shared expectations for schools.

This update reflects the cyclical nature of curriculum design, in response to feedback from schools. This recognises that schools undertake these steps concurrently and over multiple cycles to inform ongoing development, rather than as separate, sequential steps. As schools develop their curriculum, they will need to return to questions set out in each phase to test and refine approaches.

The phases highlight the importance of taking time to get preparation right. Investing in the engagement phase is critical to ensuring school-wide understanding of Curriculum for Wales framework and developing a high-quality curriculum that fully embeds the principles of the Curriculum for Wales. Rushed or superficial engagement with the principles of the curriculum will significantly affect the quality of a school’s curriculum and will result in greater work to address this in the longer term.

The process of curriculum development should empower schools to be confident in the curriculum they design. Schools and practitioners should not feel the need to justify this by producing extra material just to prove what they are doing.

This will be an ongoing process of continuing improvement. While schools will need to meet legislative requirements (see 'Summary of requirements for roll-out' below), it is expected schools will continue to develop and refine their curriculum in an ongoing iterative process. We do not expect schools to have perfected or completed all aspects of curriculum design reform by roll-out. They should not feel rushed into taking shortcuts in the design process, such as purchasing an ‘off the shelf’ curriculum.

Additional information and questions schools may wish to consider can be found within the curriculum theme of the ‘National resource: evaluation and improvement.

Timelines

For primary schools, roll-out will commence in September 2022. Secondary schools who wish to roll out the curriculum to Year 7 are encouraged to do so, but this will not be mandatory until 2023, with roll-out to Years 7 and 8 together. Secondary schools should begin conversations internally and with regional consortia (or local authorities in some areas) about their plans for 2022 and a process for those schools wishing to roll out in that year is set out in the section ‘Secondary schools: the process for adopting a curriculum in 2022’ below.

In the 2021 to 2022 academic year, all secondary schools should be undertaking work in all 3 phases. Secondary schools who plan to roll out from 2023 should continue, expand and conclude this work in the 2022 to 2023 academic year. During this time, they should work very closely with their cluster primary schools to understand their experiences and the nature of learners’ progression, planning for transition.

The role of leadership in the design process

Leadership will be critical in the design process. As part of this, leaders should:

  • develop a culture for change that embeds co-construction, with ongoing conversations at all levels, and prioritises time for the whole school community to understand and engage with changes
  • recognise the importance of putting time and effort into developing understanding of the new curriculum and assessment framework across the school, and take steps to ensure this happens
  • use the school development plan to set priorities for the next 3 years, based on an analysis of what is needed to realise a new curriculum for the school
  • ensure meaningful collaboration and shared commitment across the 3 to 16 continuum to ensure effective transition and progress, supported by joined-up development of curriculum and assessment arrangements

Iterative process of curriculum design

Engagement

Develop an understanding of the conceptual model of the curriculum - this involves schools engaging and sense-making with materials and literature, and developing or updating their vision, engaging within and beyond school. Reflect on current practice and learning from responding to COVID-19.

Designing, planning and trialling

Develop high-level curriculum and assessment design, informed by the guidance, and take forward priorities to support curriculum realisation set out in their school development plan. Trial aspects of design, new approaches and pedagogy, using the learning to evaluate and refine their approach.

Evaluation and preparing for first teaching

Evaluate initial designs and trial further approaches. Establish medium-term planning for future roll-out.

Timelines

Key work

Schools should develop an understanding of the conceptual model of the curriculum. This involves engaging and sense-making with materials and literature, and developing or updating their vision. They should reflect on current practice and learning from responding to COVID-19.

What this means for schools

Schools should develop a deep, whole-school understanding of:

  • a purpose-led curriculum
  • how the four purposes drive all school priorities
  • the curriculum model and approach to assessment set out in the Curriculum for Wales guidance among all staff
  • the range of needs, capacities, identities and values of learners to help establish what the four purposes mean for them and the school context
  • the key concepts set out within the statements of what matters and consider how these can be developed through the curriculum
  • the importance and value of knowledge, skills and experiences and the role each plays in enabling learning, as set out in the Curriculum for Wales guidance

Schools should build an approach to curriculum design that:

  • develops a vision for the curriculum and the learning and teaching that supports it as well as priorities for developing teaching in the school
  • recognises the role of professional learning within curriculum reform and plans for this to support all practitioners
  • plans for 2-way engagement with parents, carers and the wider school community
  • evaluates current practice and learning from responding to COVID-19

It is critical that as schools and practitioners embark on detailed curriculum design that they understand the key principles, structure and implications of Curriculum for Wales. Schools should ensure that they have a deep understanding of its philosophy, its key design features and how it is different. Without this, practitioners are likely to use Curriculum for Wales as if it were the national curriculum and not make the necessary changes to curriculum planning and teaching. Leaders should recognise the importance of developing this understanding across the school, supporting all staff to engage from the earliest stages of the process. Developing deep understanding will take time and should be an ongoing process.

A vision for the curriculum sets out what a school’s curriculum is seeking to achieve and its priorities. It should make sense of the curriculum as a whole, and how it supports learners to develop towards the four purposes. To support their vision, schools should consider the questions set out in the introduction to ‘Designing your curriculum’. This vision should be co-constructed, commonly owned, understood and used by all to inform the design and realisation of the curriculum. It may form part of the summary of a curriculum that is eventually published, but it does not need to be a formal written document at this stage. Schools should not feel the need to create distinct or separate ‘visions’ for each area or aspect of learning, unless this is helpful.

Key questions for schools

How do we ensure a common understanding of a purpose-led curriculum?

  • What is our thinking in response to the questions posed in the introduction of ‘Designing your curriculum’?
  • What do the four purposes mean for our learners in our context? How should these drive our school priorities and practice? What is our shared understanding of what success means for our learners?
  • How do the statements of what matters inform curriculum design? How do they relate to what our learners need?
  • How has COVID-19 changed the needs of our learners? How has our curriculum and practice changed? What is working well? Why?
  • What is the purpose of our learning and teaching currently? What aspects of our current approach could be built on? Where is the purpose unclear?

Key work

Schools should start developing high-level curriculum and assessment design, informed by the guidance, and take forward their priorities to support curriculum realisation set out in their school development plan. Schools should trial aspects of design, new approaches and pedagogy, using the learning to evaluate and refine their approach.

A high-level curriculum model should build on the vision for curriculum. It should consider what key knowledge, skills and experiences learners should develop to progress over time within the statements of what matters and towards the four purposes, and the values and dispositions that underpin them. The ‘Designing your curriculum’ section of the Curriculum for Wales guidance will support this process.

What this means for schools

 Schools should establish design principles to:

  • ensure high standards and enable good and sustainable progress for all learners
  • develop initial approaches for the mandatory requirements of the curriculum (see 'Summary of requirements for roll-out' below)

 Schools should develop a shared understanding of progression. They should:

  • understand what this means within their school, identifying what this means for its context
  • share and discuss this initial understanding within their cluster, reflecting on these discussions to further develop their thinking
  • collaborate in clusters to ensure progression is jointly owned. This is critical to ensure the effective transition of learners along the 3 to 16 continuum. This should bring coherence between curricula across different phases while reflecting each school’s distinct vision. It should support learner progression and involve jointly developing and trialling processes to support the transition of learners

Schools should co-construct a high-level curriculum model, including assessment arrangements to support progression for all learners, that:

  • considers approaches to how the Areas, statements of what matters, principles of progression and disciplines will be used to inform curriculum and assessment design
  • considers a range of approaches (for example disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary) to curriculum design and how approaches can support progression
  • having developed high-level progression, considers how knowledge, skills and experiences can be sequenced to best support learners’ progress
  • ensures a clear line of sight from the developing curriculum to the four purposes, providing opportunities to further develop these attributes

Schools should trial aspects of their curriculum. They should:

  • determine which approaches to test and evaluate in the context of the school, and in different Areas ensure all learner needs are considered in an inclusive context
  • within the context of the high-level curriculum, undertake short- and medium-term planning and trialling of new approaches in learning and teaching
  • use the enquiry process to help facilitate curriculum design, ensuring staff deepen their understanding of this process.

Developing a shared understanding of progression means considering what broad progression should look like for learners across the 3 to 16 continuum within the Areas, the statements of what matters and the associated disciplines. This must reflect the progression set out in the principles of progression and support learners to progress in the statements of what matters. It should involve cluster-wide collaboration to ensure that progression is coherent and that learners transition effectively between different phases of education or settings. Jointly developing and trialling progression across a cluster is critical to developing high expectations and a coherent trajectory of progression for learners.

Schools should select a range of approaches to learning that are appropriate to the concepts, and knowledge, skills and experiences in question and the needs of learners. They should look to build on natural connections between the concepts, knowledge and skills being developed in different Areas. This requires a strong understanding of what progression looks like in different component disciplines first, before developing any interdisciplinary approaches within and across Areas. Where approaches combine learning in different disciplines, they should deepen understanding of key concepts and knowledge and the development of skills. It is key that learning is meaningful and developed in an authentic context. A single approach is very unlikely to be appropriate in all circumstances, for example seeking to cover all aspects of learning through multidisciplinary or thematic approaches.

Key questions for schools

  • What do we need to realise our vision for the curriculum?
  • What do our learners need to learn? Why?
  • What knowledge, skills and experiences should our learners engage with to progress in the statements of what matters towards the four purposes? Why are these important? How does this contribute to the four purposes and build towards the statements of what matters?
  • How does our planning for curriculum design reflect the mandatory requirements of Curriculum for Wales?
  • How do we expect learners to progress? How can we ensure this is based on understanding of progression and child development? What should this progression look like over their learning journey? How can we as a cluster collaborate to support this?
  • What areas, statements of what matters and disciplines do these knowledge, skills and experiences contribute towards? What natural connections can be made that broaden and deepen learners’ understanding?
  • How will we embed cross-cutting themes outlined in ‘Designing your curriculum’ within our curriculum?
  • How can disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches support learners to develop different knowledge, skills and experiences? What approaches might be appropriate at different stages in a learner’s journey?
  • How will we set high enough expectations for learners across the continuum of learning?
  • How will we ensure our curriculum is inclusive of all learners?
  • How will we ensure our curriculum reflects our priorities? What resources are required to support this?

Key work

Schools should evaluate initial designs and trial further approaches. Schools should establish medium-term planning for year groups rolling out the following year.

This means schools should:

  • evaluate trials and reflect on learning to influence ongoing curriculum design
  • continue to develop approaches to all Areas and disciplines within them to inform curriculum and assessment design (this should include developing approaches to enable effective and appropriate assessment as an indistinguishable part of learning and teaching)
  • extend short- and medium-term planning and trialling, ensuring that these new approaches are inclusive of all learners
  • learn from and refine trials and testing of potential approaches to curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment
  • develop school-level professional enquiry models to help facilitate ongoing curriculum design and making
  • develop, trial and finalise transition planning as part of the curriculum design to ensure an effective process for the transition of learners along the 3 to 16 continuum
  • plan and develop appropriate arrangements that engage parents and carers in 2-way communication about the progress of their child

Key questions for schools

  • How should our curriculum translate into practice?
  • What has worked well? Why has it worked well?
  • What can be improved? How? Why is that improvement needed?
  • How will we ensure learners’ ongoing experiences inform refinement of our curriculum?
  • How does our trialled work compare against our vision and priorities? How do we ensure our developing curriculum remains challenging and inclusive?
  • Are we in a position to meet the requirements of the Curriculum for Wales framework?

Key work

Schools should adopt their curriculum and begin to implement it, as agreed by the headteacher and the governing body. Schools should refine their curriculum design as their learners progress on a continuing basis. Schools should reflect on the effectiveness of their curriculum and use that insight to improve.

This means schools should:

  • adopt the curriculum and begin to implement it
  • refine curriculum design, informed by experience, developing understanding as the curriculum is rolled out to further years
  • develop, and use, mechanisms to reflect on the effectiveness of Curriculum for Wales, pedagogy and assessment arrangements, and use that insight to improve
  • ensure deepening understanding of the four purposes, and what they mean for their learners, and use this to guide curriculum realisation, the approach to assessment and pedagogy
  • use the opportunities offered within Curriculum for Wales to change practice in order to raise standards, close the attainment gap and support learner progression towards the four purposes.

Adopting a curriculum is the beginning of an ongoing period of curriculum development and refinement. The curriculum should be continuously evolving, striving for higher expectations, better supported wellbeing and responding to learners’ changing needs, supported by evolving and improving learning and teaching. It is not a one-off, once-and-done activity. The 3 phases above (engagement; design, planning and trialling; evaluation) will therefore continue to be relevant to schools as they deepen their understanding and refine their curriculum.

Key questions for schools

  • How can we continue to raise expectations for learners?
  • How will we ensure our curriculum responds to learners’ changing needs as well as our experience and growing understanding of curriculum design?
  • How will we ensure our pedagogy and practice continues to improve to support the curriculum for all learners?
  • How will we continue to develop both our curriculum and as a school as a learning organisation?
  • How are we engaging with stakeholders?

The following key principles are fundamental to how schools approach the development described above. These should be considered and built into every stage as schools develop their curriculum.

Co-construction

Genuine co-construction is key to curriculum development, ensuring joint ownership and improved quality approaches. The principles of co-construction are set out in the shared ways of working. This should involve learners, all practitioners, governors, parents and carers and the local community in the process of design. Schools should ensure that arrangements are in place to secure engagement of key groups and develop their understanding of the curriculum.

Throughout the design process, schools and other settings designing a curriculum should consider learners’ contributions to and reflections on teaching, planning and classroom delivery, and use these to inform evaluation and refinement of approaches. While learners have a critical role in informing the development of the curriculum, this is not the same as the curriculum being led and directed by learners.

All practitioners, including support staff, have a vital role and should feel ownership of development. This includes supporting and refining their understanding of the principles underpinning curriculum and assessment, and developing a shared understanding of progression.

Governors have a key role in supporting curriculum development. Governing bodies have legal responsibilities for a school’s curriculum, some of which are summarised in the 'Summary of requirements for roll-out' below. Parents and carers and the local community have important contributions in shaping vision and aspects of design and development. This should include conversations about:

  • what is changing and why
  • developing understanding of the curriculum model, including progression and assessment
  • how they can be involved in shaping and realising the vision, establishing mechanisms for ongoing co-construction.

Communication with parents and carers in particular ensures they are kept informed, understand the progress their child is making and can support learning.

Schools and other settings designing a curriculum should remain in regular contact with their regional or local school improvement service regarding their plans for curriculum implementation, and draw on these services as appropriate for any additional support or guidance they need to ensure delivery.

Pedagogy

Effective learning and teaching is central to the success of the curriculum. Practitioners should develop understanding of how different pedagogical approaches can support the realisation of different aspects of the curriculum. Practitioners should identify the blend of different approaches that will best serve learners, and be empowered to make choices about how they teach (with a clear rationale for those choices). The pedagogical principles offer a non-exhaustive set of principles of effective learning and teaching and practitioners should use them to inform their planning and practice. However, they are not themselves discrete pedagogical tools. Effective engagement with the professional standards for teaching and leadership will also support effective practice.

The National Pedagogy Project (Talk Pedagogy) has been developed to facilitate conversation, collaboration and enquiry in order to support the exploration and reflection on the pedagogical principles and approaches.

Engagement with professional learning, expertise and networks

Engagement with professional learning and networks is critical. Practitioners need to be supported by effective professional learning to develop their knowledge, skills and capabilities. This should include engagement with support offered by school improvement services through regional consortia and local authorities, as well as a range of academic literature and evidence-based research. It should also include engagement, support and input from higher education institutions. Additional support can be found on the professional development area on Hwb.

Schools and settings should work collaboratively in formal and informal networks to share emerging thinking and practice. This can help support joined-up approaches as well as identify and develop approaches to challenges. Collaboration should include cross-phase work in geographic clusters (3 to 16) and in other existing networks within the same phase. It should also support onwards progression post-16. The National Network offers important opportunities to engage on issues with practitioners across the country and feed directly into the ongoing national direction.

SLO

Schools should also look to embed the qualities of effective learning organisations in developing ongoing, continuous improvement. Schools should use the feedback from the SLO survey to help develop an environment supportive of ongoing professional learning.

Schools may also wish to consider the case studies included within the professional learning journey to support this aspect.

Wider school context

For schools, it is important to consider the curriculum in the context of wider school approaches. In particular:

  • actively engaging with the ALN Code to develop understanding and ensure its implications are reflected both in realising the school’s vision and supporting the process of curriculum design
  • building-in consideration of how Curriculum for Wales will support Welsh in Education and Cymraeg 2050
  • understanding how a whole-school approach to health and wellbeing, including the whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing can support learners’ wellbeing and enable and support their progress

This section sets out a summary of the mandatory requirements on a curriculum for schools, non-maintained nursey settings that provide education, and pupil referral units (PRUs). This is a summary to help understand what is required of a curriculum in preparation for roll-out. This is not meant to be comprehensive. For further detail, see the guidance on legislative requirements, which will be updated on Hwb in due course.

What schools need to do

Before roll-out

  1. Schools must design a curriculum for the school’s learners. This curriculum must:
  • enable learners to develop in the way described in the four purposes
  • provide for appropriate progression and accord with the principles of progression set out in the ‘Progression Code’
  • be suitable for leaners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
  • be broad and balanced
  • encompass the concepts set out in the statements of what matters in the ‘Statements of What Matters Code’
  • provide for learning and teaching that encompasses each of the Areas for those aged 3 to 16, include the mandatory elements as appropriate to the school or setting (Welsh; English; religion, values and ethics (RVE); relationships and sexuality education (RSE)), accord with the ‘RSE Code’ from 3 to 16, and include the cross-curricular skills (literacy, numeracy and digital competence) from 3 to 16
  • offer choice of learning and teaching within each Area for Years 10 and above (those learners aged 14 to 16)
  1. Schools must make appropriate assessment arrangements to support learner progression. We are consulting on legislation that will require headteachers to make assessment arrangements, as they design their curriculum, to support learners to make progress in relation to the school curriculum. These arrangements must assess the progress made by learners in respect of the adopted curriculum, assess the next steps in learners’ progression, and assess the learning and teaching needed to make that progress
  2. Schools must adopt the curriculum and publish a summary of it. This requires the headteacher and the governing body to adopt the curriculum. Schools should use their time to engage effectively with parents, carers and the wider community in their curriculum development. This summary may, therefore, be broad and high-level – it is not intended to be a detailed map of everything the curriculum offers.

From roll-out

  1. Schools must ensure the curriculum is implemented in a way that:
  • enables each learner to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
  • secures learning and teaching that offers appropriate progression for each learner
  • is suitable for each learner’s age, ability and aptitude
  • takes account of each learner’s additional learning needs (if any)
  • secures broad and balanced learning and teaching for each learner
  • for each learner encompasses the Areas, the mandatory curriculum elements of English and Welsh, the cross-curricular skills of literacy, numeracy and digital competence, RSE (which must be suitable for a learner’s stage of development), and RVE
  • includes learning and teaching chosen by learners within each Area for Years 10 and above
  • makes provision for learners who do not have additional learning needs but for who (for whatever reason) it would not be appropriate to apply all the curriculum requirements specified above, to be temporarily excepted from some or all of them
  1. With the governing body, schools must keep the adopted curriculum under review and revise it as appropriate at any time if it no longer meets the design requirements in point 1. If the curriculum is revised, an updated summary must be published.
  2. Schools must deliver assessment arrangements to support learner progression. Assessment arrangements must be embedded in day-to-day practice and be appropriate for all learners, with due regard given to ‘Supporting learner progression: assessment guidance’.

As part of the assessment arrangements, to support learner progression we are consulting on legislation that would require headteachers to:

  • conduct an on-entry assessment when a learner begins at the school (not including when a learner transitions from primary to secondary school)
  • put arrangements in place to promote and maintain a shared understanding of progression within and across schools
  • develop plans to support transition from primary to secondary school, taking account of continuity of learning across school curriculum, supporting learner progression as well as their mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • provide information to parents/carers/adult learners that communicates the progression an individual learner is making, including their future progression needs and how these can be supported

Additional information

RVE

Aspects of the curriculum and learning and teaching relating to RVE must accord with the locally agreed syllabus in schools without a religious character. There are additional requirements for RVE for foundation, voluntary-controlled and voluntary-aided schools that have a religious character. These requirements are set out in the RVE guidance, on which a public consultation has been carried out. You should refer to that guidance in order to fully understand the requirements for schools in respect of RVE.

What non-maintained nursery education settings need to do

The Welsh Government will publish a curriculum that they consider suitable for learners for whom funded non-maintained nursery education is provided. This curriculum is being co-constructed with key early education partners and will be published in December 2021.

A provider of funded non-maintained nursery education must adopt the curriculum published by the Welsh Government or another curriculum they consider suitable (which must comply with the legal requirements of Curriculum for Wales).

Before roll-out

  1. Settings must adopt a curriculum that complies with the design requirements and publish a summary of it. Settings that choose to adopt the curriculum published by the Welsh Government will need to publish a summary of the curriculum they have adopted. Further guidance on this will be provided to those settings in due course. For those that choose to adopt another curriculum, and not use the curriculum published by the Welsh Government, this designed curriculum must:
  • enable learners to develop in the way described in the four purposes
  • be broad and balanced
  • be suitable for learners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
  • provide for appropriate progression for learners and include a range of provision to ensure this (linked to ages, abilities and aptitudes)
  • provide for learning that covers the 6 Areas, encompass the statements of what matters, reflect the principles of progression set out in the ‘Progression Code’, include the mandatory curriculum elements, and encompass the mandatory cross-curricular skills

The requirements for publishing a summary are detailed under step 3 for schools.

  1. Settings must make appropriate assessment arrangements to support learner progression. Providers may implement the assessment arrangements published by the Welsh Government, design their own, or work with others to design these. For those that choose to design their own arrangements the requirements for making and implementing assessment arrangements, and then for reviewing and revising them, are detailed under step 3 for schools.

From roll-out

  1. The adopted curriculum must be implemented in a way that:
  • enables each learner to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
  • secures learning and teaching that offers appropriate progression for each learner
  • is suitable for each learner’s age, ability and aptitude
  • takes account of each learner’s additional learning needs (if any)
  • secures broad and balanced learning and teaching for each learner
  • secures learning and teaching for each learner in a way that encompasses the Areas, including the mandatory curriculum elements (RSE must be suitable for the learner’s stage of development), and develops the cross-curricular skills
  1. Settings must keep the adopted curriculum under review and revise it as appropriate at any time if it no longer meets the design requirements in point 1. If the curriculum is revised, an updated summary must be published.
  2. Settings must deliver assessment arrangements to support learner progression. We are consulting on legislation that would require funded non-maintained nursery settings that provide education to conduct an on-entry assessment when a learner enters a funded non-maintained setting, whether for the first time or from another setting.

What PRUs need to do

Before roll-out

  1. PRUs must ensure the curriculum:
  • enables learners to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
  • provides for appropriate progression for learners
  • is suitable for learners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
  • is broad and balanced, so far as is appropriate for learners
  • makes provision for learning and teaching that encompasses the Health and Well-being Area as well as RSE that is developmentally appropriate, and develops the cross-curricular skills
  • makes provision, if reasonably possible and appropriate, for learning and teaching in other Areas and in the mandatory elements English, Welsh and RVE
  1. PRUs must publish a summary of the curriculum, or arrange for it to be published.
  2. PRUs must make and implement appropriate assessment arrangements to support learner progression. The requirements for making and implementing assessment arrangements, and then reviewing and revising them, are detailed under step 3 for schools. These requirements will be placed on the local authority, management committee (where there is one) and the teacher in charge of a PRU.

From roll-out

  1. Teachers in charge of a PRU must ensure the curriculum is implemented in a way that:
  • enables each learner to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
  • secures learning and teaching that offers appropriate progression for each learner
  • is suitable for each learner’s age, ability and aptitude
  • takes account of each learner’s additional learning needs (if any)
  • secures broad and balanced learning and teaching for each learner
  • secures learning and teaching for each learner in a way that encompasses the Health and Well-being Area as well as RSE that is developmentally appropriate, and develops the cross-curricular skills
  1. The local authority, the management committee and the teacher in charge of a PRU must keep the adopted curriculum under review and revise it as appropriate at any time if it no longer meets the design requirements in point. If the curriculum is revised, an updated summary must be published
  2. PRUs must deliver assessment arrangements that support learner progression. We are consulting on legislation that would require the teacher in charge of a PRU to:
  • conduct an on-entry assessment when a learner is first registered at the PRU
  • with the management committee (if there is one), put arrangements in place to enable practitioners from across PRUs to engage in professional dialogue to support a shared understanding of progression, and also engage with any relevant primary/secondary schools for this purpose

What non-PRU education other than at school (EOTAS) settings need to do

  1. The learners that will be provided with this form of education often have needs that are unique to them. For these learners the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 requires they each be provided with a bespoke curriculum that meets the requirements set out in the Act. Non-PRU EOTAS settings must ensure the curriculum:
  • enables learners to develop in the ways described in the four purposes
  • provides for appropriate progression for learners
  • is suitable for learners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
  • is broad and balanced, so far as is appropriate for learners
  • makes provision for learning and teaching that encompasses the Health and Well-being Area as well as RSE that is suitable for the learner’s stage of development, and develops the cross-curricular skills
  • makes provision, if reasonably possible and appropriate, for learning and teaching in other Areas, and in English, Welsh and RVE
  1. The local authority that makes arrangements under section 19A of the Education Act 1996 (c. 56) to provide education for a learner otherwise than at a PRU must keep the adopted curriculum under review and revise it as appropriate at any time if it no longer meets the design requirements in point 1. If the curriculum is revised, an updated summary must be published.

What to do if a learner is part-time or registered in more than one setting

Regulations will be issued in advance of September 2022 in relation to curriculum requirement for these learners. Schools and settings will be required to ensure that where possible the appropriate curriculum will be available to them. The appropriate curriculum and assessment requirements are likely to depend on the type of setting at which the learner is registered.

This section sets out the process for schools and settings who are considering proceeding with roll-out of their curriculum for Year 7 in September 2022. It will be relevant for secondary schools, 3 to 16 schools, special schools, PRUs and EOTAS. Under the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021, they will not be required to roll out their curriculum until 2023. This flexibility has been provided to recognise the impact of specific challenges on secondary schools and that this may have affected their readiness for the roll-out of the curriculum. Schools and settings who wish to proceed with their current plans in 2022 are encouraged to take those plans forward.

Regardless of whether schools and settings choose to roll out their curriculum in 2022 or 2023, the broader expectations will be the same.

  • All schools and settings should be undertaking work to prepare for curriculum roll-out in 2021 to 2022, in line with the expectations in this document. If schools do not proceed with Year 7 roll-out in 2022, they should nevertheless be undertaking preparations, trials and innovations in advance of roll-out.
  • By 2023, all schools and settings will be required to have rolled out their curriculum for Years 7 and 8 – the overall timeline for reform has not changed.

The decision about whether to proceed with planned roll-out in 2022 is a question about the school’s readiness and confidence in its ability to roll out the curriculum for Year 7 in 2022. This is a reflection on the impact of the disruption caused by COVID-19. It is not a reflection on the performance of the school or setting and will not be used as a judgement on the school by the Welsh Government or partners. Schools and settings should therefore use the additional flexibility it they determine they need it and should not feel rushed into adopting their curriculum in 2022 for Year 7 learners.

It is critical that any decision is supported and informed by discussion with the regional consortium (or local authority where appropriate). They should be kept informed of the school’s or setting’s thinking and be able to provide important sense-checking about the school’s readiness. For schools and PRUs, while the decision is one for the school or setting itself, it is expected that this would be supported by the relevant regional consortium or local authority.

Essential information

It is critical that schools and settings keep in mind that:

  • if they wish to continue with their plans for 2022, they will need to choose to do this following the process below. This will ensure that they are subject to the duties of Curriculum for Wales and not the national curriculum.
  • the decision to proceed with roll-out for Year 7 in 2022 must be taken jointly by the headteacher and governing body.
  • once a school or setting has undertaken the process below,, they must then comply with the Curriculum for Wales framework for Year 7 – they cannot return to delivering the national curriculum for that year group.
  • any school or setting that does not go through the process set out below, including formal notification of their improvement service, will remain subject to the national curriculum for Year 7 in 2022.

Making the decision

Autumn term 2021

Headteachers and governing bodies of maintained schools should hold discussions within the school and with school improvement services to consider their readiness and confidence for roll-out of Year 7 in 2022. In particular, this should consider the shared expectations above and the summary of requirements for roll-out, as well as whether the school is prepared to undertake these in the required timescale.

Similarly, leaders of EOTAS should hold discussions within the setting where appropriate and with the relevant local authority and, if appropriate, the regional consortia.

Spring term 2022

Headteachers and governing bodies of maintained schools must decide together whether to proceed with current plans. They must then inform the Welsh Government and their school improvement service. This will be recorded though a specific form that will be made available closer to the time. Both the headteacher and the governing body must agree to the decision for the roll-out of Year 7 in 2022. While the decision is a matter for the headteacher and governing body, we would also expect this to have the support of school improvement services.

Teachers in charge of PRUs, their management committee and their local authority must decide together whether to proceed with plans to roll out the curriculum for Year 7 learners in 2022. They must then inform their local authority, or if relevant, their regional consortium. For other EOTAS, the local authority will make the decision regarding implementation. This decision should be formally recorded internally following the usual governance procedures and registered with the local authority.

Similarly, the decision to proceed with current plans must be registered with the Welsh Government and the regional consortium or local authority by 8 April.

For clarity, the Welsh Government will hold and publish a list of those providers notifying them.

In addition to the support outlined above from school improvement services, this section outlines other support schools and settings should consider drawing on.

The National Network

The National Network will bring together teaching professionals, experts, stakeholders, policy makers and enabling partners, including regional consortia and Estyn to identify and address the barriers to, and opportunities for, the implementation of Curriculum for Wales.

It is intended that all schools and, as appropriate, settings in Wales will be able to participate in these conversations and be supported by regional consortia to engage with these issues through funding to free up time and space.

What is the National Network?

This will be an open platform, with opportunities available for all interested practitioners in Wales to get involved in national co-construction to address our shared challenges and opportunities. The National Network will:

  • gather and share understanding – bringing together different views, perspectives and expertise nationally to understand how we are progressing, what the challenges are, and how people are responding to these
  • co-construct approaches – together, we will work out what teaching professionals, stakeholders, enabling partners and government can do to overcome these challenges
  • connect people – allowing them to network and develop relationships with teaching professionals, education experts and stakeholders who can help schools and settings directly
  • drive change– conversations will help support and drive implementation at all levels

The National Network will explore key issues around implementing the curriculum through ‘Conversations’. These Conversations will be held at a national level as well as through existing regional/local networks, in partnership with the Welsh Government and regional consortia and, as appropriate, local authorities. These Conversations will build on professional learning at a regional level, bringing practitioners together across Wales to develop approaches to national implementation issues and to consider opportunities for Curriculum for Wales.

Topics for conversation

In the autumn term, the National Network will discuss:

  • preparing for curriculum roll-out
  • progression and assessment
  • resources and supporting materials for Curriculum for Wales

Planning for these Conversations by volunteer practitioners begins in September, with the conversations beginning in October.

As we move into the spring and summer terms in the 2021 to 22 academic year, there will be further network Conversations in response to needs identified by practitioners.

Each National Network Conversation will be supported by a pack of resources and inputs, including case studies, guidance, and video materials from experts. These will also help to inform work at the local and regional levels.

Outputs

Through these conversations and working with a range of partners, practitioners participating will be supported to co-construct key outputs that will be shared nationally and continue to inform curriculum design in schools. This will include:

  • approaches and ideas that practitioners can take back to inform curriculum design and implementation in their schools, settings and communities
  • recommendations for the commissioning and development of specific resources to support schools and settings with their curricula
  • recommendations to shape professional learning to support curriculum implementation

The National Network will also support in the co-construction of approaches to designing curricula at the Area level, ensuring detailed Conversations can bring together the best approaches to the detail of curriculum design. These will also help to develop resources and supporting materials that practitioners can use to help inform their planning.

Getting involved

The funding guidance below details that funding is available to give schools space to engage with the network Conversations and to consider questions, opportunities and issues in school. As part of this space, it is expected schools will allow a representative to attend each network Conversation, either through the national Conversations or through existing regional networks.

Further information on how to get involved with network Conversations will be detailed on the National Network for Curriculum Implementation page. Follow Education Wales on Twitter for more news.

As well as taking part in these Conversations, some practitioners will play a role in planning and facilitating Conversations on shared issues. Following the initial expression of interest process held in the summer term 2021, there will be further opportunities for practitioners to get involved in this side of the network.

Learner’s progression is critical to the development of curriculum and assessment arrangements. To support schools, settings and practitioners to enable learners to progress, we will be launching 2 projects in the autumn aimed at developing understanding and approaches to progression and assessment.

A progression project will bring together practitioners and the middle tier to develop approaches to progression and build understanding of how this should be embedded in a school’s curriculum.

Also, a project to develop an interactive toolkit for assessment will support understanding and implementation of assessment for the purpose of supporting learner progression. The first phase will develop an approach to exploring approaches to assessment with practitioners to develop engagement with, and understanding of, assessment principles and arrangements and how these can be used to support learner progression.

Both projects are based on a collaborative working model, with an emphasis on collective learning to promote the exchange of information. Involvement with both projects will be available through the National Network.

Professional learning

Practitioners should engage with professional learning opportunities to support them in the development of their curriculum. Resources on the range of professional learning opportunities available include:

  • the National Approach to Professional Learning, launched in 2018, aligns with the new professional standards, the SLO approach and professional learning model, to create a vision fit for the evolving education system in Wales
  • nationally available opportunities such as the National Professional Enquiry Programme, SLO, the professional learning journey and the National Pedagogy Project
  • the local professional learning offer for your school found on your regional consortium’s website

Non-maintained settings

The Welsh Government is working with key partners to understand the particular needs of the non-maintained sector to ensure effective implementation of Curriculum for Wales. This includes not only understanding the immediate professional learning needs of practitioners in terms of delivery, but also the ongoing needs of the sector to ensure effective implementation of the new arrangements over the longer term. This will also include consideration of how the sector might best participate and benefit from the arrangements being established to deliver the Network. More information will be made available to the sector in due course.

Qualifications

Qualifications Wales is working to co-construct a coherent and inclusive choice of bilingual qualifications for schools that supports their curriculum and meets the needs of all learners. These qualifications will support Curriculum for Wales, be available bilingually and offer something for all learners.

The aims of the next phase of work are to:

  • reimagine a new generation of GCSE qualifications
  • reshape the wider 14 to 16 qualifications offer

There will be opportunities for all those involved in education to have their say on which qualifications should be available to support Curriculum for Wales, and to help redefine the aims, content and assessment for a whole new generation of GCSEs.

Reimagining GCSEs

We will be giving all practitioners opportunities to get involved with the work to rethink how new GCSE qualifications can be designed to:

  • help learners to realise the four purposes of the Curriculum for Wales
  • be as engaging as possible for learners and support their mental health and wellbeing
  • give schools more flexibility to reflect their local curriculum and offer their learners a positive learning and teaching experience
  • make better use of digital technology to enhance assessment experiences for learners and build more resilience in how qualifications are delivered

There will also be opportunities to identify the requirements for learning and teaching resources, professional development and training for new teachers.

Shaping the wider 14 to 16 qualifications offer

Qualifications Wales is interested in all qualifications available to learners aged 14 to 16, from entry level and up, and across all subject areas – including those related to the world of work. The review of this range of qualifications will be guided by learners’ and centres’ needs as well as by the views of other stakeholders. There is likely to be a mix of existing and new qualifications – some will be 'made-for-Wales' qualifications, and some will be UK-wide qualifications.

Qualifications Wales will engage extensively with teaching practitioners in the academic year 2021 to 2022 to identify the key components of this wider qualifications offer. This will include opportunities to get involved through the National Network. It will consult, in the autumn of 2022, on proposals for reshaping the offer and will then work with awarding bodies to implement the full range of qualifications by September 2027.

Schools will have access to direct funding during the 2021 to 2022 financial year via their regional consortia (or in some instances local authority) to:

  • support their work on Curriculum for Wales
  • ensure learners make progress in response to the pandemic

This section sets out principles to support use of this funding. Much of this funding will already have been allocated via school improvement services and this guidance is intended to support and build on the expectations of school improvement services.

This guidance brings these 2 aspects together, recognising that the fundamentals for learning are the same for both and to ensure that these are not seen as 2 competing, conflicting pressures. The principles are designed to support schools to bring these together in an integrated way.

Ways of working

In developing approaches, co-construction is critical. This is highlighted through the ways of working set out in the Curriculum for Wales: Implementation plan. Schools should use and build on the ways of working in using this funding.

Support to meet priorities

Funding will be allocated via school improvement services to support each school to meet their identified priorities and needs. This may mean providing access to additional support where this is required.

Funding will be made available through pre-existing processes wherever possible. Schools should work closely with their regional (or local) school improvement advisors to agree the focus for this provision, in line with the school’s vision for the curriculum and its school development plan.

Curriculum reform programme: realising Curriculum for Wales

Aims

Curriculum reform funding has been allocated to schools via school improvement services to:

  • drive shared understanding, co-construction and curriculum reform
  • help schools tackle barriers to successful curriculum implementation

Purpose

The purpose of this funding is to provide a flexible resource for schools to directly support their curriculum and assessment reform. In taking forward the ways of working and programme aims, it is that expected schools will use this funding to:

  • create time and space to design, develop and plan their curriculum and assessment arrangements for the roll-out of Curriculum for Wales
  • facilitate the development of their own sustainable curriculum processes
  • work collaboratively with other schools in the development process, including on a shared understanding of progression
  • help address diversity in their curriculum.

Principles for use of funding

As well as the ways of working, which should now guide all aspects of education reforms across Wales, there are some specific principles that schools may find helpful when considering decisions on the use of their funding.

Draw on regional consortia (or local authority) support

The middle tier is being funded to provide a range of curriculum reform-related support services to maintained schools in their areas. This support is available at zero cost to the school, though funding may enable schools to engage with this, for example by providing staff, and should be the first port of call when looking at addressing needs. No school curriculum reform funding should be used to procure activities or support that is already being made available. While the national school categorisation system is currently suspended, schools should continue to discuss their support needs and plans with their school improvement advisor in the first instance.

Use of expertise

The ‘Curriculum for Wales guidance’ includes a section on using evidence and expertise which should inform funding used for expertise.

Working with individuals and organisations identified for their specific expertise, such as from higher education and the third sector, can support schools in the process of curriculum design and development. This includes both the overall approach of developing a curriculum and in specific aspects of the curriculum planning. However, it is critical that this support is consistent with Curriculum for Wales principles and guidance, most notably that set out in the ‘Designing your curriculum’ section.

When considering external expertise, and in addition to a cost–benefit analysis, schools should critically assess their:

  • understanding of Curriculum for Wales
  • understanding and expertise in curriculum development
  • understanding of the needs of learners at the school and their communities
  • specialist knowledge
Avoid procured ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions

While schools may seek support to facilitate the development of their own curriculum and assessment approaches, this funding is intended to develop schools’ own capacity to develop and implement a curriculum. It is not intended to support ‘quick fix’ procurement of curriculum and assessment models or approaches.

It is essential that schools make sense of the key aspects of the curriculum purposes, vision and the development and planning process for themselves. Thinking meaningfully about why certain things are taught and how they support learners to progress towards the four purposes and key concepts set out in the 27 statements of what matters, is a key aspect of curriculum reform. Without this thinking, practitioners will not be as empowered and supported in developing their agency and in realising the flexibilities that Curriculum for Wales affords. ‘Off-the-shelf’ solutions bypass this thinking.

Without that first-hand experience, there is a real risk that misconceptions will grow and result in the need for a school to step back, or restart, before moving forward. Equally, there is no guarantee that procured third-party models are fit for purpose and fully reflect the breadth of the Curriculum for Wales framework.

Pool resources and curriculum development work

There is an expectation set out in the Curriculum for Wales guidance that design and development of the 3 to 16 learning continuum cannot happen in isolation. Therefore, it would be logical for schools to consider how they can pool financial resources to maximise the efficacy of funding across local school clusters/structured networks.

Address key considerations/needs through the National Network

The National Network brings together teaching professionals, experts, stakeholders, policy makers and enabling partners to identify and address the barriers to, and opportunities for curriculum implementation. National Conversations bring perspectives together and co-construct approaches, placing the profession at the heart of ongoing national policy development. These Conversations involve national events as well as regional networks, and schools will have the choice to engage through either or both as they see fit.

National Network engagement

A key part of the funding is to enable schools to engage with issues raised by the National Network. Network Conversations, both nationally and through regional or local authority networks, will be key in supporting schools to address key aspects of curriculum implementation. There is an expectation, therefore, that all schools will engage in National Network Conversations in some way, drawing from that engagement to inform their own school curriculum realisation plans.

It is expected schools will use this funding to:

  • make space in school to consider, share and embed learning from Network Conversations – for example by supporting in part space for a dedicated network representative from the school to engage with Network Conversations and disseminate learning across the school
  • allow a representative to attend Network Conversations at national and/or regional conversation events – for example by covering the release of staff to attend National Network Conversations at national and regional levels, to discuss and engage with issues in school, and to embed learning in planning and design

A school’s National Network representative should be chosen to reflect the ways of working, providing equity in co-construction and leadership at all levels. The role could involve actively participating in and facilitating national conversations and/or regional network Conversations, while also leading parallel discussions at their own school and feeding back from school-level Conversations.

Guidance has been provided to regional consortia (and in some instances local authorities) nationally to ensure consistency in support to schools for National Network engagement. As part of this, we expect all schools to receive sufficient funding to facilitate their representation for the equivalent of up to 10 days during the school year at national or regional-level Network Conversations. Funding for such National Network-related engagement will be consistently applied across Wales at a rate of £200 per day.

In addition, those schools providing greater levels of practitioner support to plan, facilitate and review National Network Conversations will be compensated accordingly, again using the £200 per day rate. Beyond this, regional consortia (and in some instances local authorities) will have a degree of flexibility in how they distribute remaining Curriculum Reform programme funding to their schools, to best reflect the needs of their schools in their areas taking into account school size and stage of development. That scope to target some of the funding to schools is essential in ensuring that all schools are supported and maintain momentum on their reform journey. Discussion on the detail of curriculum reform funding should be taken up with the relevant consortium (or in some instances local authority).

Renew and Reform programme: supporting learners’ progression

Aim

Our collective aim is to ensure learners progress to their full potential, no matter where they are right now. We cannot base our recovery from the pandemic on a ‘deficit’ model. Instead, we need to reignite a passion for learning, and make sure all learners – in particular those most adversely affected – feel supported every step of the way. This funding was announced as part of the Renew and reform plan, published on 16 June.

Purpose

This guidance supports schools to use funding allocated to them to support learners’ progression as part of the Renew and Reform plan.

To address the impact of the disruption to learning, it is critical that learners are supported to progress and are enabled to make the next steps in their education journey. This means focusing on what it means for learners to progress, rather than seeking to ‘catch up’ on all content. This funding is intended to provide capacity to support all teachers and schools to develop their learners and enable them to progress.

Principles

In addition to the principles above, which will support learners, there are some specific principles that schools may find helpful when considering decisions on the use of their funding.

Planning for renewal and curriculum reform together

Ensuring all learners are supported to make progress in their knowledge, skills and understanding as they develop towards the four purposes is critical to both renewal and reform. In addition to the preparations before the pandemic, there is much that schools and practitioners have learned and developed over this period that has brought learning and teaching closer to what is expressed in Curriculum for Wales.

Engaging with wider expertise on progression

This funding may also support schools to engage with wider expertise on progression in planning, developing and embedding progression in the curriculum, learning and teaching. This may include freeing schools to engage both internally and within networks with the ‘All-Wales Progression Project’ announced by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, which will get under way later in the autumn term.

Linking with wider reforms

Schools should consider how work to support learners’ progression in response to COVID-19 can be supported by wider education reforms, including additional learning needs, equity and leadership. They should also consider how supporting progression supports these wider reforms. Making links with aspects of reform also ensures a joined-up approach, avoiding duplication or competing demands.

Supporting wellbeing

While the aim here is to support learners to progress, any approach should recognise the critical importance of wellbeing as an enabler of learning and progression.

Focusing support

In response to the disruption caused by the pandemic, use of this funding may include:

  • developing practitioner understanding of progression
  • working with experts in progression to build capacity
  • creating space to provide practitioners time to develop approaches to learners’ progression
  • addressing specific progression needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic

Funding will be distributed to schools via regional consortia (and relevant local authorities). While all maintained schools will receive funding to support curriculum reform, the precise amount may differ depending on relevant factors, including the school’s size and the need for targeted support.