It’s being hailed as the biggest education reform for a generation which will see the curriculum in Wales replacing traditional subjects with six areas of ‘experience and learning’.
In addition, £44 million is being set aside for training teachers to deliver the curriculum.
The plans have been published by the Welsh government for a new school curriculum that will see pupils being taught under six broad areas of learning.
Teachers across Wales have helped to create the plans and the government says its new curriculum will ‘break down restrictions and barriers’ of traditional subjects.
Under the draft curriculum, there will be more flexibility for teaching subjects by teachers under the six areas which are:
- Literacy and communications
- Mathematics and numeracy
- Humanities and languages
- Science and technology
- Expressive arts
- Health and well-being.
All lessons being taught in Wales will be interlinked
The government says the biggest change will now see all lessons taught in Wales being interlinked, such as science and maths, under the new key areas.
The new curriculum will be taught to Year 7 pupils from 2022.
Kirsty Williams, the education minister, said the reforms are aimed at creating a curriculum that is ‘fit for the modern world’.
She explained: “The current curriculum was designed in 1998 before we were carrying computers in our pockets and it’s right we look again at the nature of education and what we are teaching our children in Wales.”
Ms Williams added: “This is a curriculum designed by teachers and built for children to ensure they’ll have the skills, knowledge and experiences that allow them to be successful individuals who are leaving the Welsh education system.”
The aim of the new system is to enable professionals to deliver as necessary, rather than following a rulebook and tailoring lessons to meet the needs of individual pupils.
Statutory lessons will including English and Welsh
For those up to the age of 16, statutory lessons will including English and Welsh, relationships and sex education as well as religious studies.
The government says there will also be changes introduced on how a child’s progress will be monitored.
Now, key stages are to be removed and replaced with ‘progression steps’ which will set out the expectations of what pupils aged five and eight and also 11, 14 and 16 should be achieving.
It’s these progression steps that will help inform the design of the curriculum in each school.
The government points out that GCSE exams will remain.
£44 million for the training of teachers
In addition, the government has also announced that it is setting aside £44 million for the training of teachers in their new curriculum.
However, Tim Pratt of the Association of School and College leaders, says the money is a fraction of what will be needed.
He explained: “Though £44 million sounds like a good amount, when you divide it down to the number of support workers and teachers in Wales, it comes in at £650 per person and this is to last for three years.
“That’s really not enough for ensuring a job is done properly.”
The curriculum has also been criticised by some teaching bodies who say it is ‘poorly defined’.
However, the government has defended its stance and says there’s a consultation progress until the middle of July and the first full draft will then contain more detail.