A New Curriculum for Wales: Let’s #TalkCurriculum

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New Curriculum #TalkCurriculum

As a key training provider to the Welsh education sector, we are excited about the initial plans for the new curriculum for Wales, which looks to be the biggest Welsh education reform for generations. The new curriculum is currently in a consultation phase and will be developed further before being brought into action from September 2022. The goal of the new curriculum is to raise standards of education in Wales, reducing the attainment gap and implementing an education system that we are confident and proud of as a nation.

Why do we need a new curriculum in Wales?

The national curriculum was first introduced in 1988 and since then, society has transformed with the introduction of new technology. Young people now require a different skill set – digital skills, adaptability and creativity – to thrive and be prepared for their futures. The new curriculum for Wales is designed to deliver against the changing requirements of today’s society. It is being developed specifically for schools in Wales, using expertise, ideas and best practice from around the world to meet the demands of the future.

Gary Williams from New Directions is optimistic about the new curriculum for Wales and the opportunities it might bring.  He explains that “New Directions Education prides itself on providing up to date and relevant Continuing Professional Development for thousands of education workers. Therefore, we are looking forward to the introduction of the new curriculum and ensuring that all of our training programmes adapt to changing requirements and provide continuity for our workers and clients alike.”

What does the new curriculum for Wales look like?

Placing more focus on physical and mental wellbeing, alongside improvements in supporting children with additional learning needs, the four purposes of the new curriculum are designed to develop children to become:

  • ambitious, capable learners
  • enterprising, creative contributors
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • and healthy, confident individuals.

To achieve these four purposes, the curriculum recommends moving away from defined traditional subjects taught in isolation and towards a more fluid approach to teaching. There are three proposed cross-curricular responsibilities (literacy, numeracy and digital competence) which will be intertwined across six suggested Areas of Learning and Experience (AOLE). These six areas will incorporate traditional subjects and provide a more holistic, flexible and creative approach to teaching. Young people will be encouraged to acquire knowledge, experiences and skills in each area, preparing to thrive as members of modern society. The 6 AOLEs include:

  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Humanities
  • Languages, Literacy and Communication
  • Mathematics and Numeracy
  • Science and Technology

What do the Areas of Learning and Experience mean?

new curriculum for Wales

‘Expressive Arts’ includes subjects like Art, Dance, Drama, Film and Digital Media, and Music; developing creative, artistic and performance skills, while learning about culture and society. With opportunities for enriched learning experiences, such as visits to theatres or bringing external practitioners into the classroom, this area would help young people to appreciate creative talents, fostering critical thinking and enabling them to become enterprising creative contributors.

‘Health and Wellbeing’ offers holistic teaching around the physical, psychological, emotional and social aspects of our lives. It aims to educate young people to develop and maintain their physical health, mental health, emotional wellbeing and positive relationships; while understanding the factors that affect them and empowering them to make positive choices to become healthy and confident individuals.

‘Humanities’ involves studying past and present human experiences at local, national and global levels. It encourages contribution to the community and an understanding of cultural and ethnic diversity by contemplating different perspectives. Young people would learn about their heritage and how the people of Wales interrelate with the rest of the world, seeing their personal story as part of the wider picture, and engaging with issues such as sustainability and social change, to become ethical, informed citizens.

‘Languages, Literacy and Communication’ explores the link between language and culture, with an emphasis on learning multiple languages. Focusing on Welsh, English and international languages and literature, learners would develop knowledge and skills in listening and reading, speaking and writing, enabling them to communicate efficiently. This AOLE would contribute towards the Welsh Government ambition of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050, creating informed citizens of Wales.

‘Mathematics and Numeracy’ is to be taught in more engaging, exciting and accessible ways, while still being challenging for learners. It draws on real-life examples from the local, national and international environment to help make tangible connections between the concrete and the abstract. Learners are encouraged to be creative through play, experimentation, risk-taking and flexibility in tackling mathematical problems, to help them become ambitious and capable learners.

‘Science and Technology’ encompasses Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design and Technology, and Physics. Emphasising the impact of science and technology on learners’ lives and the environment, this area focuses on enhancing our understanding of the physical and digital worlds through prediction, testing and questioning, and the development of theories and innovations to improve our lives. Outdoor learning enhances the teaching experience, encouraging curiosity and the search for answers as informed citizens.

What does this mean for New Directions?

new curriculum

At New Directions, we are embracing this suggested new curriculum with six inspiring AOLEs and we are excited about being involved in training staff in the education sector to enable them to deliver the new curriculum at the highest level in the future. We want to be involved in this new aspirational curriculum and are working to develop an innovative suite of training programmes that are to be launched when the consultation period has ended and the new curriculum has been defined.

We are proud to already offer a range of courses that complement this proposed new curriculum, with over 2,000 places available for attendees each year. We already have the following courses available which tie into the six AOLEs well:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) training – a course that increases the awareness of ACEs and the impact this can have on a young person’s wellbeing and future health
  • Assessment for Learning – a programme that develops the core skills of teaching to raise standards
  • British Sign Language (BSL) – an interactive session teaching the basics of British Sign Language
  • Creative Writing – a programme that gives learners numerous practical and innovative ideas to get children involved in, and enjoying, writing
  • Digital Competency Framework (DCF) – a course that supports non-ICT specialist primary teachers to gain a greater understanding of the DCF and develop skills and confidence using digital tools
  • First Aid – a practical and interactive session teaching the essential skills required to become an Emergency First Aider at Work
  • Impact Wales: Preparing for the New Curriculum – a session designed to give you an introduction to the proposed changes to the curriculum in Wales
  • Incidental Welsh – an interactive session to develop skills and confidence in using the Welsh language in a range of everyday contexts
  • Mental Health Awareness – an overview of the mental health problems facing young people today
  • Mindfulness and Wellbeing – a practical session offering techniques and exercises to help deal with everyday stress and take care of your mental health
  • Opening Up the Outdoors – an interactive course highlighting the opportunities for learning in the immediate outdoor area, school grounds and local environment
  • Protecting Rights in a Caring Environment (PRICE) – a programme designed to help those working with young people with challenging behaviour to develop the awareness and skills to promote dignity, choice and inclusion through individualised behaviour planning
  • Team Teach – an established certificated course teaching the essential skills required to negate difficult situations and reach positive conclusions.

Discover more about our range of training courses for staff working in education and find out more about the proposed new curriculum for Wales by visiting these useful links: