Dr Philip Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru, made the comments as the first phase of the “Great Debate” on the Donaldson curriculum review came to an end.
Dr Dixon said all too often the Welsh government failed to properly implement good ideas and this review was too important to get wrong.
The public consultation – dubbed the “Great Debate” – ran for the last 10 weeks in Wales with events taking place across the country to discuss the 68 proposals set out by Professor Graham Donaldson in the Successful Futures document.
Dr Dixon said: “The Donaldson Report has had a very warm reception. Most teachers will welcome the relaxing of the national curriculum corset and the fact that much greater trust is to be put in their judgement and expertise.
The report offers us a chance to build a curriculum fit for the 21st century. We have to see the report, though, as the start of a process and not its end.
“The Finns, of course, took nearly a decade to discuss fundamental changes to their education system and we needn’t rush to implementation. In fact we should not. Implementation has always been the Welsh government’s Achilles heel – good ideas have been all too frequently botched or half-baked by the Department for Education and Skills.
“We need an on-going debate as to the why, what, how and when of these proposed changes with some real listening by ministers and officials.”
Education minister Huw Lewis is due to formally respond to the report later in the summer. He said: “I am pleased that people across Wales have engaged in the Great Debate with such enthusiasm. All views expressed are being taken on board and will help inform our final response.
“This is not a one-off exercise, however. To get this right everyone must play their part in building our new school system. I will continue to consult with interested parties, and test and refine our proposals to make sure that Welsh education is seen as leading the way.”
For more on the Great Debate, visit http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/great-debate/