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Area of learning and experience Languages, Literacy and Communication

Get to know Languages, Literacy and Communication

This overview should be read together with A guide to Curriculum for Wales 2022

Languages, Literacy and Communication enable us to analyse and understand the world around us.

By being supported to become successful in this area of learning and experience, learners are therefore also supported to succeed across the whole curriculum.

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience will enable all learners to gain knowledge and skills in Welsh, English and international languages as well as in literature. Where applicable, its provision will include opportunities to learn Welsh and English as additional languages (WAL/EAL) and to learn other home or community languages too. In all cases, it will encourage learners to be aware of the links between languages as they develop an appreciation of the origins of words and an interest in language patterns. They will be encouraged to transfer what they have learned about how languages work in, for example, Welsh and English to learning and using international languages. This multilingual approach will ignite learners’ enthusiasm and provide them with a firm foundation for a lifelong interest in learning subsequent languages and in literature from Wales and the world.

A transformational curriculum

The White Paper Our National Mission: A Transformational Curriculum set out the detailed legislative proposals for Curriculum for Wales 2022.

The proposal is that funded non-maintained settings and schools will be required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the four purposes of the curriculum, and comprises the six areas of learning and experience. There will be statutory duties to teach Welsh, English, religious education, relationships and sexuality education, and the three cross-curricular responsibilities of literacy, numeracy and digital competence. Further information on how the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience can support this is provided in the ‘Developing a broad and balanced curriculum’ section of this document.

Funded non-maintained settings and schools will have discretion as to how they design their school-level curriculum to meet their curriculum duties. However, in considering the exercise of that discretion, they must have regard to statutory guidance issued by Welsh Ministers. In practice, that means they should follow the statutory guidance unless they have good reason not to.

This statutory guidance for the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience, which forms part of the wider Curriculum for Wales 2022 statutory guidance, is intended to provide a national framework that funded non-maintained settings and schools can build on to develop their own curriculum. It is not intended to be a comprehensive or exhaustive syllabus, nor a guide for organising timetables. It sets out:

  • what funded non-maintained settings and schools should take into account in designing their curriculum and how it could be structured
  • the broad expectations for learners for the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience at each progression step.

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience will provide learners with opportunities both within individual languages and across multiple languages to develop knowledge and skills in listening and reading, speaking and writing, and in literature. It has a focus on culture as it recognises the link between culture and language and understands how this link is fundamental to our sense of identity and of our place and voice in society. For this reason this area of learning and experience lends importance to encouraging the learning of multiple languages as a way of learning about cultures beyond our own and of broadening our horizons. It also recognises languages as important tools through which we can express our empathy and creativity.

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience will contribute to developing ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives by enabling them to communicate effectively across a variety of media using Welsh, English and international languages. Good language competence not only helps learners to make sense of concepts but also enables them to articulate their reasoning when solving problems and analysing data and information. Good multiple language competence further enables learners to respond to different contexts. Together, these skills build learners’ confidence to grasp new opportunities and adapt skilfully to different roles and hence enhance their employability.

By providing meaningful contexts, this area of learning and experience will stimulate learners both to acquire and to apply language skills, knowledge and understanding which in turn will develop in them positive attitudes towards learning and using languages. A key aspect of effective language learning is the willingness to take risks in trying out new sounds and patterns; thus the skills developed through the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience will empower learners to become independent and resilient when facing challenges, as well as to become enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work.

Engaging critically with languages and literature across a range of genres and media develops learners’ sense of identity and allows them to understand their culture and community, nurturing a sense of the responsibilities they have to themselves, to others around them and to the wider world. In this sense, the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience contributes to developing ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world as learners gain the knowledge and skills they need to participate confidently and empathetically in society.

Furthermore, Languages, Literacy and Communication skills are key to enabling learners to express themselves effectively, and learners who are able to articulate their feelings and interpret those of others are better equipped to develop positive relationships and thus to become healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society, able to keep themselves and others safe, both offline and online.

Finally, this area of learning and experience will place emphasis on the joy not only of language learning but also of literature, experienced either as consumers or creators. This enjoyment makes a positive contribution to many aspects of the learner’s journey, including their health and well-being and their development as creative individuals.

The four areas identified as what matters in Languages, Literacy and Communication are highly interconnected.

Listening and reading as well as speaking and writing exist in relation to each other and not separately. The following what matters statements must be considered side by side.

  • Learners who listen and read effectively are prepared to learn throughout their lives.
  • Learners who speak and write effectively are prepared to play a full part in life and work.

The other two what matters statements can be seen woven throughout everything we do in Languages, Literacy and Communication.

  • Learning about identity and culture through languages prepares us to be citizens of Wales and the world.
  • Literature fires imagination and inspires creativity.

We see language skills and understanding of identity and culture developed through literature; identity and culture provide a context for learning languages.

The Languages, Literacy and Communication achievement outcomes recognise that not all learners will move forward at the same pace or with the same degree of depth.

The achievement outcomes for ‘Learning about identity and culture through languages prepares us to be citizens of Wales and the world’ are the same for all learners in all schools.

For the other what matters statements in Languages, Literacy and Communication, there are achievement outcomes for Welsh/English, for Welsh in English-medium settings/schools/streams and for international languages. The expectations for Welsh in English-medium settings/schools/streams will be reviewed and increased over time as the first cohorts learn through Curriculum for Wales 2022 and as professional learning increases capacity.

The achievement outcomes have been developed based on a continuum or framework of progression in languages, starting with little or no language and working towards fluency. Language knowledge and skills in one language should support development of knowledge and skills in other languages, no matter which is acquired or learned first.

Settings and schools will need to plan for learners’ progression in both Welsh and English, and in international languages. Schools will need to consider the Welsh achievement outcomes most suited to their learners. As well as Welsh‑medium schools, the progression in Welsh shown in the Welsh/English achievement outcomes may also be the most suitable for some learners in English‑medium schools who, for example, have attended cylch meithrin or have transferred from a Welsh‑medium school to an English‑medium school. Bilingual schools may also need to consider both the Welsh/English achievement outcomes and the achievement outcomes for Welsh in English‑medium settings/schools/streams.

Achievement outcomes for international languages show progression from Progression step 3. Learners will develop an awareness of the languages around them from an early age and should experience increasing exposure to a variety of languages.

Within these progression routes, learners’ pathways will vary and the process will not be linear. It is essential, for example, to recognise that second language learners may use formulaic language with few mistakes initially and as they progress, when being more ambitious and spontaneous in their use of language, they may appear to make more mistakes. Learners must be encouraged to be ambitious in their use of languages and to embrace this as an intrinsic part of successful language learning which can lead to becoming more fluent and accurate language users. Progression will also be seen through the application of the same skill in increasingly challenging contexts.

The Five Stage Model for English/Welsh as an additional language (EAL/WAL) and support materials should be referenced when considering progression of EAL learners in English-medium schools and WAL learners in Welsh-medium schools.

The Language acquisition needs assessment survey toolkit for primary and secondary teachers are available online on Hwb:

Primary: Language acquisition needs assessment survey toolkit

Secondary: Language acquisition needs assessment survey toolkit

Schools will ensure highly effective pedagogical approaches and collaboration with relevant partners to ensure all learners have fair equitable access to the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience. This process begins with the school recognising its own linguistic landscape, including the strengths and challenges of its learners with additional learning needs (ALN). With this knowledge schools will be equipped to plan relevant pathways for all learners including consideration of the learning environment, refinement/differentiation of teaching and appropriate collaboration with relevant partners. A learner with highly complex physical needs can make very good progress in their development in all aspects of the what matters statements in Languages, Literacy and Communication via their individual pathway, e.g. through using technology to communicate, read and write with the support of partners in health, advisory services and other specialist groups.

It is recognised that some of our youngest learners may come to school with a language delay. Schools will need to plan in their particular context and with specialist support where appropriate so that developmental, physiological, pragmatic and other additional learning needs can be assessed and supported. Any additional support with the physical aspects of writing, e.g. the specific requirements of left-handed learners, should be planned for. In all circumstances professionals should be encouraged to plan for and support young children’s linguistic development in line with child development, recognising, for example, the importance of young learners developing their speaking skills well enough before focusing on writing.

Literacy, numeracy and digital competence

The cross-curricular responsibilities of literacy, numeracy and digital competence support almost all learning and are essential for learners to be able to participate successfully and confidently in the modern world.

Literacy

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience by definition has literacy at its heart. Literacy skills will be explicitly taught through this area of learning and experience. Other areas of learning and experience will facilitate the application and development of these skills in authentic contexts and allow these skills to be consolidated.

Oracy and writing should be viewed as the tools through which learners express themselves, which includes demonstrating their understanding of a range of contexts and skills. Reading skills should be developed to support learning, e.g. to extract relevant information and data from tables, charts, graphs and text in order to support their decision‑making. The development of writing skills will support learners to articulate meaning and purposes across a range of areas.

Numeracy

There are elements of numeracy which will have clear overlaps with this area of learning and experience, such as drawing key information from a variety of sources or using reasoning skills to make decisions.

Learners’ first experiences and application of numeracy may be through activities such as number rhymes, as they begin to respond and analyse texts, and further progress and develop to comment on different interpretations of issues and ideas, using texts to support opinions.

As learners use numbers in other languages this in turn will consolidate learning and reinforce learners’ mental and written numeracy skills. As they begin to be immersed in rich and varied language experiences, concepts such as chronological awareness will naturally occur and be developed.

Digital competence

Digital skills are recognised as having increasing importance in developing learners’ literacy, languages and wider communication skills. It is ever more important to be able to use digital technology appropriately and operate across a variety of digital environments and media, working collaboratively, creatively and critically. Digital rights, licensing and ownership can be discussed as learners work independently or collaborate on projects.

As learners explore methods of communication for a given situation, they can learn how to compose clear and appropriate messages tailored for particular audiences, sharing, editing and adapting as required. They can also be given the opportunity to understand and develop an awareness of how to store data appropriately, and to be mindful of the implications of data laws, including the use of copyright.

Literature can be accessed through technology as well as further information about themes encountered through literature, or differing responses to it.

The digital environment also facilitates increased awareness and understanding of different cultures, enables communication with learners both in this country and other countries, and provides a wealth of tools for learning and experiencing languages.

Welsh dimension and international perspective

Through the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience, learners develop a strong sense of identity as citizens in their local community, Wales, the United Kingdom and the wider world, acknowledging the cultural and linguistic diversity of each context. Learners’ journeys start with their own language(s) and culture(s) in their homes, communities and within Wales. This provides a foundation as they broaden their understanding of national and global contexts while continuing to reflect on their personal and local perspective. This is particularly the case with the following what matters statements in the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience.

  • Learning about identity and culture through languages prepares us to be citizens of Wales and the world.
  • Literature fires imagination and inspires creativity.

For these what matters statements the Welsh dimension and international perspective forms a key part. For example, learners will have opportunities to build on connections, commonalities and distinctions between their own language(s) and culture(s) and those of their local and wider community.

Access through the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience to a range of literature enables learners to embrace their place in the world, and opens their minds to a variety of viewpoints, perspectives and ideas. They will experience Welsh literature, Welsh literature in English, English literature, literature from other cultures and literature written in international languages, including work in translation. It is important that learners are given opportunities to celebrate literature from their own culture(s) and that they are introduced to the other cultures around them. Languages play an important part in realising the four purposes of the curriculum, supporting learners in becoming global citizens who are able to communicate effectively and who are able to appreciate other cultures, while celebrating their own.

Wider skills

The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience provides ample opportunities for learners to develop all four of the wider skills.

Critical thinking and problem‑solving

The skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing are intrinsic to the development of critical thinking and problem‑solving. We listen and read in order to analyse and understand situations and develop responses and solutions through speaking and writing. Learners also develop their critical‑thinking skills through engaging with literature and their problem-solving skills through deconstructing and using their languages.

Planning and organising

As learners develop their skills in listening and reading, speaking and writing, they will also develop the skills of planning and organising, deciding how best to present their ideas and creative works, and reflecting on their work and planning and implementing further improvements.

Creativity and innovation

Literature inspires creativity, and skills in listening, reading, speaking and writing are essential for exploring ideas and expressing opinions in Welsh, English and international languages. Understanding their own identity and culture through languages, and developing an openness to others, give learners the courage to take risks, experiment and use languages creatively.

Personal effectiveness

Reflecting on and understanding their own and others’ cultures and identities through languages is an important aspect of the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience. Through listening, viewing and reading, learners develop their understanding of effective and appropriate communication which they further develop through their own speaking and writing. Learners will develop their personal effectiveness and self-awareness when using languages which will in turn support learning across the whole curriculum.

Careers and work-related experiences

Learning from careers and labour market information

It is vital for learners to access high-quality careers and labour market information and have an understanding of what this means to them, in order to make well-informed, sustainable career decisions.

The benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism are well documented. Speaking more than one language is a skill which will increase learners’ marketability and many universities and employers favour those who are able to speak more than one language.

Skills in international languages are essential for Wales to thrive as an international trading nation. International languages open up a vast array of career pathways for learners, from working with MI5 to working in marketing for an international company, from cabin crew to event management. There are opportunities in Wales, in the United Kingdom and globally for linguists.

There are many careers that link directly to Languages, Literacy and Communication. However, the skills developed, such as the ability to read and write clearly, to undertake research, to give a presentation, to communicate clearly and to have attention to detail, are valued by a wide range of employers, providing a wide range of opportunities for learners.

Linking the area of learning and experience to careers and work-related experiences

The career management and planning skills of motivation, self-awareness, opportunity awareness, decision‑making, application and resilience are all key components of the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience. Communication and literacy are essential to career readiness, as are social competencies such as critical thinking, persuasive argument and confident presentation. Learners should understand and be able to explain the links between Languages, Literacy and Communication and the career paths that these open up to them.

Bilingual skills are useful for any job but especially those involving communicating with people. Areas where the demand for people with bilingual skills is increasing include education, health, child care, social care, business and information technology, tourism and leisure, media and performing arts, linguistics, computational linguistics and agriculture.

Importantly, the transferable skills which sit at the heart of the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience contribute to the preparation of a workforce for professions and jobs that are not yet in existence, to meet the needs of new and emerging careers.

The Welsh language can also open doors in the world of work, providing an advantage in the jobs market in Wales and an opportunity to gain valuable experience in competitive industries which can lead to further opportunities both within and beyond Wales. Public services in Wales must not treat the Welsh language less favourably than English. This has meant a rise in demand for people who can communicate well in both languages. More people now feel able to use their Welsh when using services and, as a result, research shows that demand from employers for staff with Welsh language skills is increasing. The Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience helps learners to understand diversity and challenge stereotypes in order to raise learners’ aspirations and belief in their potential future.

Learner progression relating to careers and work-related experiences is part of a continuum of learning for learners aged 3 to 16. Success for a young primary school learner could include:

  • acting a variety of different jobs through role play
  • belief that they can do any job – tackling gender stereotyping
  • communicating with people in their community about the different jobs they do and the rewards that a job can bring.

By progressing learning, success for 16-year-old learners could include:

  • demonstrating and applying the skills learned in relation to the world of work
  • identifying interests, strengths and skills to make informed post-16 choices
  • understanding and demonstrating the behaviours an employer looks for in a good employee
  • evaluating risks when developing a business idea and exploring different methods of setting up and sustaining an enterprise.

Work-related experiences

Learners develop interests, strengths, knowledge, skills and aspirations through their educational experiences within and beyond school. A range of partners support these exciting journeys through co-design and co-delivery and together they shape learners’ decisions about their future and the pathways they follow. Opportunities such as visits, guest speakers and practical activities can help to enhance and contextualise learning.

Collaboration and access to individuals and employers, e.g. in local government, hospitality, public relations, advertising, teaching, retail, computing, tourism and social work, can provide learners with opportunities to learn about work, employment and the skills valued in the workplace.

Learners can use the knowledge and skills gained in taking part in work‑related experiences to develop successful enterprise activities. These can provide an authentic learning experience which leads to sustainability for this area of learning and experience, developing learners as creative, enterprising contributors, forming links to the world of work.

Understanding post-16 and higher education opportunities

It is essential for learners to be aware of all opportunities available to them post-16. Therefore, as well as understanding about employment, training and apprenticeships, learners should be provided with information and the opportunity to engage with a range of learning providers. Opportunities for engagement should include attending careers and skills fairs, talks from and visits to further and higher education providers, as well as presentations from students in further or higher education. Learners should be directed to online research tools that provide course and progression information to support their understanding of the range of learning opportunities available, to help raise their aspirations and form a basis on which informed decisions can be made.

Relationships and sexuality education

Languages, Literacy and Communication offers learners authentic opportunities to critically engage with contemporary global challenges, social norms and attitudes to support relationships and sexuality education.

Relationships

Learners will explore relationships in a range of contexts through literature and language learning. Learners will be exposed to a range of models of relationships, cultural norms and values, developing methods of analysis and evaluation to assess and reach judgements on forming safe and healthy relationships. Learners can:

  • explore and articulate factors that influence healthy relationships
  • explore and articulate the feelings associated with developing healthy relationships
  • develop the skills for forming successful interpersonal relationships, including opportunities to collaborate in discussion and debate key concepts
  • analyse and evaluate the way in which relationships are created and presented through literature
  • analyse and evaluate the diversity of relationships among a range of cultures
  • develop listening skills that enable the creation of positive relationships.

Values, rights, culture and sexuality

Learners can:

  • explore and articulate factors that influence social and cultural values
  • evaluate the ways in which concepts are created and presented to develop a considered view of society and the challenges it faces
  • develop the disposition and motivation required as an active global citizen and to develop as an empathetic, knowledgeable and valued member of society
  • explore and debate the use of suitable terminology to articulate themselves accurately with tolerance and respect.

Understanding gender

Learners can:

  • explore factors that influence power dynamics and the use of gender language
  • experience positive and informative literature to develop self-identity, emotional intelligence and positive well-being
  • identify gender bias in language to make inferences around meaning and context
  • explore themes in literature and media around stereotyping and gender bias
  • explore and articulate appropriate language and register to develop gender equality and equity in language and literature.

Violence and staying safe

Learners can:

  • analyse and evaluate the ways in which aspects of bullying, violence and consent are presented and interpreted through language development and context
  • interpret and evaluate themes in literature that explore issues such as bullying, violence and consent
  • identify bias and intent in language and literature in order to make safe decisions in sharing of information
  • develop the language skills required to articulate themselves clearly in order to keep themselves safe and employ safe privacy practises
  • analyse and evaluate the ways in which bodily integrity is developed through language and literature to develop respectful attitudes to self and others.

Skills for health and well-being

Learners can:

  • develop language skills that allow for engagement and effective articulation of emotions and feelings
  • identify bias in language and literature to discuss and debate attitudes towards positive health and well-being in order to inform decisions that permit a healthy lifestyle
  • develop a positive attitude towards learning languages to engage effectively with others and improve mental health
  • exploit the health benefits associated with literature.

The human body and development

Learners can:

  • identify connections between and across languages that explore elements of the human body and development
  • develop language skills that allow for engagement and effective articulation of emotions and feelings that influence body image
  • analyse and evaluate the way in which elements of the human body and its development is created and presented through literature.

Enrichment and experiences

Providing authentic opportunities to listen, read, speak and write, both in Welsh and English and in international languages, is essential for learners. In English-medium and bilingual schools it is important to consider and plan opportunities to use Welsh across the curriculum and in activities beyond the classroom as a means of enriching language development and extending the use of Welsh. Learning and using Welsh beyond the classroom provides all learners with valuable, authentic learning contexts. This is the principle also at the heart of the Welsh Language Charter which provides a framework for enabling learners’ wider use of Welsh.

All learners should have access to literature which interests and excites them. Engaging with writers and hearing them read is a powerful motivator. Writers/poets/performers from the local area can provide important and relevant role models. Performance brings a text alive, whether a learner observes or takes part. Experiences such as those found through storytelling and drama workshops, the Writers on Tour scheme, school eisteddfodau and the Urdd eisteddfod, literature festivals, spoken word and poetry slam competitions, etc., have a significant role in providing valuable applied learning for learners.

Learners need something to speak and write about, and incorporating play and the outdoor environment where possible provides a means of developing imagination and stimuli for expressing themselves.

Acknowledging, celebrating and making the most of the cultural and linguistic diversity of Wales can enrich the lives of our learners, and facilitate social cohesion. Experiential learning generates motivation and an appetite for learning and using languages.

Language learning and learning about different cultures can be enriched by engaging with people in the local and wider community and by connecting digitally. Schools should make the most of opportunities to involve parents, carers and the wider community.

The four areas identified as what matters in Languages Literacy and Communication are highly interconnected. Listening and reading as well as speaking and writing exist in relation to each other and not separately. Rich experiences in each of these four elements will support the development of the other three, and school-level curriculum planning should reflect this.

Similarly, planning should reflect how this area of learning and experience recognises the links between languages and that learning skills in one language strengthens the learning of those skills in second and subsequent languages. In this respect, the area of learning and experience addresses the vision expressed in one of the four purposes of the curriculum, namely that in Wales’ bilingual context, both the Welsh language and the English language belong to all the people of Wales and that ‘All our children and young people will be ambitious and capable learners who can communicate effectively in different forms and settings, using both Welsh and English’.

Furthermore, this area of learning and experience recognises how languages are a key to social inclusion and can promote better local, national and global understanding. Following from this, the area of learning and experience has been designed to enable learners to build on their knowledge of Welsh and English to learn at least one international language at school and, where learners bring other languages with them to school from home and from their communities, to celebrate these languages and to support literacy development in these languages as far as possible.

Learners’ experiences of literature will influence their ability to use language creatively to express themselves. Access to and immersion in literature at all stages will help facilitate language learning, as well as inspire more creative language use and help learners to reflect on personal and social experiences. In addition, literature offers a valuable context for the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience in general, as well as for other areas of learning and experience.

In addition, literature, as well as opportunities to explore identity and culture, offers a valuable context for the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience and the wider curriculum.

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  • First published 30 April 2019
  • Last updated 30 April 2019