The national school curriculum is changing in Wales, do you know what you should be doing to prepare? In April 2019, Welsh Government will publish the new curriculum documents in draft format. All schools will be expected to use these documents to prepare for their statutory introduction in September 2022.
To help you prepare we’ve put together the 4 most important things you could be doing to make sure you and your school are ready.
- Use the 4 Purposes – In the 4 purposes, Professor Donaldson set out exactly what should drive teachers’ choices when thinking about content, learning experiences and the skills that pupils need. Many schools are already using the 4 purposes statements from Successful Futures as an audit tool of what they are already doing, but they should be doing more. The 4 purposes are not a tick box for completion after planning, they are a set of choices that schools and teachers should be making before they create the learning their pupils need. Start with – do all your staff have a shared understanding of the type of learning the 4 purpose statements demand?
- Support your teachers to improve – “A bad curriculum well taught is invariably a better experience for students than a good curriculum badly taught: pedagogy trumps curriculum” – Dylan Wiliam.* Your teachers need the skills to teach the new curriculum well. Chapter 5 of ‘Successful Futures’ describes in detail 12 Pedagogical Principles that underpin the new curriculum. Start with – Survey your teachers, check how confident they are with each principle, if they need more help, create effective, research-informed training that supports them to develop their skills in the areas they feel weakest in.
- Get it right for Literacy, Numeracy & Digital skills – In the new curriculum there are 3 cross curricular responsibilities, Literacy, Numeracy & Digital Competence. These skills are also part of our current curriculum. With 114 skill pathways in the three frameworks, it is essential that you are teaching pupils to master the fundamentals in all three. If pupils lack a solid grounding they will never fully grasp the finer details of higher order skills. Start with – Use school data to identify key Literacy & Numeracy skills that pupils struggle with the most. Use technology developments to enhance learning for these skills.
- Evaluate the Impact – As you prepare for the new curriculum, you will no doubt try out lots of new strategies, tools and approaches. Make sure for everything that you do, you know what impact it has had. Have pupils’ skills and results progressed? Has pupils’ confidence & independence increased? Has teachers’ workload increased? You need to know, definitively, is what we are doing, working? Start with – start small and scale up. For every short trial, identify key quantitative and qualitative data that will help you decide if it is worth repeating.
*Dylan Ap Rhys Wiliam is a British educationalist and Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education and lives in Bradford County, Florida.