‘Clear appetite for fundamental curriculum change’ in Wales


The man behind the new proposals for the national curriculum for Wales has said he found “a clear appetite for fundamental change” among the teaching profession.

Professor Graham Donaldson made the comment in a guest blog for the newly launched Education Workforce Council (EWC), which this month replaced the General Teaching Council for Wales.

The EWC will now be the independent regulator in Wales for teachers in maintained schools, further education teachers, and learning support staff.

Prof Donaldson wrote that when he reviewed the curriculum and assessment arrangements he found “a clear appetite for fundamental change” to create the conditions for schools to focus more directly on teaching and learning.

He added: “The review also considered the extent to which the curriculum was well placed to meet the needs and pressures arising from far-reaching changes in society and the economy. 

“Changes in how we live and work increasingly demand the capacity to learn throughout life and to connect and apply that learning creatively in unpredictable real-life situations.”

He said that in the past excellent practice “often seemed to be happening despite and not because of the curriculum”.

Prof Donaldson’s report, entitled Successful Futures, made a total of 68 recommendations and has been previously reported in SecEd, (Welcome for ‘radical’ review of the Welsh curriculum, SecEd 407, March 5, 2015). 

The professor said the recommendations were designed to promote better learning and higher standards.

Writing in detail about the review for the EWC, he said: “It is my view that the entire period of statutory schooling (at least) should be seen as one coherent and progressive whole.

“The current structure of phases and key stages has over time become disjointed and created unnecessary additional points of transition. I am therefore proposing a stronger focus on depth and progression in learning through the creation of Progression Steps, spaced at three-yearly intervals, within each Area of Learning and Experience.”

He acknowledged that his recommendations have major implications for the professional development of teachers. 

“The Welsh government’s New Deal for the Education Workforce and the recommendations in Professor John Furlong’s report on teacher training are well timed to address many of these issues.”

He continued: “In addition, there will also be a need for more immediate action to build the confidence and capacity of teachers and school leaders in taking forward the review’s recommendations.”

The first stage of the Welsh government’s consultation on the review – the Great Debate – comes to a close on Friday, May 8.

Prof Donaldson added: “I would urge you, your colleagues, your pupils, your parents and others to continue your involvement in the review by engaging in this debate.

“These responses will inform the Welsh government’s formal response to the report which will be published in the summer – so it is important that you participate.”

For more on the Great Debate and for details on how to contribute, visit http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/great-debate/



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