New minister mindful of burden on teachers

Written by: Moira Sharkey | Published:

Wales’ new education secretary has set out her vision for the curriculum but added she was mindful teachers felt “over-burdened” by years of policy change.

Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Assembly’s sole Liberal Democrat, gained the cabinet secretary job last month. She struck a deal with first minister Carwyn Jones after no party gained a clear majority in the recent assembly elections.

Looking to the future she said she wants to see Wales fulfil its ambition of developing a world-leading curriculum. She said there is no doubt that there is good practice in Wales but too often it is not shared and there are too many variables in schools, even in the same local authority.

Having agreed a shared vision for education policy with the Labour party she said standards can only be raised by working closely with teachers, parents and pupils.

She added that while she supports the current plans for a shake-up of the curriculum in Wales set out by Professor Donaldson last year, she recognises that teachers “often feel over-burdened by new policies and initiatives”.

She said: “Therefore, my focus will be to make sure that the education reform programme is implemented well. This includes making sure the workforce are at the heart of these developments and have the support they need to be able to realise the full potential of the new curriculum within their own schools.

“I want to get the basics right and let teachers get on with teaching and enable leaders to lead. I want to work closely with the profession to help teachers and practitioners be the best they can be, while raising the standard of teaching and importantly raising the standing of the profession as a whole. Without enthused, valued and skilled teachers and practitioners we can’t achieve anything.

“I also want to hear the voice of parents and children as we develop our new curriculum. The wishes of government and concerns of the profession often dominate the public debate about our education system, but I want to hear from as many parents and children as possible so their ambitions inform my agenda.”

She concluded: “My resolve is to fulfil our ambition of developing a world-leading curriculum.

“This is a rigorous agenda. It is about better learning and higher standards; our children, young people and nation deserve nothing less.”


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