Pa gynlluniau wrth gefn sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru ar waith i gefnogi ysgolion sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd gweithredu'r Cwricwlwm i Gymru o fis Medi 2022 ymlaen?
I am committed to supporting every school and setting to make the Curriculum for Wales a success. The Curriculum provides a national approach which helps secure consistency across the country. In addition to the flexibilities I am offering secondary providers regarding September 2023, on 17 February at an event with Headteachers from across Wales I set out a programme of enhanced support for curriculum reform, including for those who have furthest to travel. That means ensuring schools have the right tools to do the job; making sure the system is working with them; and promoting the collaborative spirit we need to see each other through. At that event, I also provided all schools with materials tailored to help them to take the next steps, to identify what information, guidance and resources they need to find and where they are.
In my regular discussions with schools since becoming Minister for Education and Welsh Language, as well as in feedback reports, it has been clear that a key area where greater support is required is around progression and assessment. That is why we are working on a new programme of national support in this area including “assessing for the future”. This is a series of professional development workshops being led by Camau (a Higher Education collaboration with expertise in this field) to help deepen understanding of assessment, develop assessment practice within the classroom and to help practitioners turn curriculum assessment guidance into reality for their learners. As part of this programme we are working with schools to develop resources, underpinned by academic research. These will be made easily accessible via Hwb to any teacher and will start to become available from the summer term.
On 17 February, I launched “Camau I’r Dyfodol – Steps into the Future” as a long-term project being carried out by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the University of Glasgow, to support the understanding and application of learning progression in the new curriculum. Camau I’r Dyfodol will bring together the expertise and experiences of practitioners and education partners to co-develop a shared understating of progression for all learners that is meaningful, manageable and sustainable. It will be delivered through the National Network and all schools will have the opportunity to build on their current experience of learning progression, and contribute to a shared, national understanding of what is important.
What this means in practice is that schools, practitioners and education partners will contribute to a growing body of evidence, supporting materials, and activities that will be available to feed directly back into the system and support the development of progression-based curricula at the local level. It will also bring to bear expertise from our universities, as well as international evidence.
I want to ensure that practitioners continue to have a voice in the direction of the curriculum as we move through implementation. National Network conversations are, therefore, open to all schools and settings in Wales to participate, with funding to support this, allowing practitioners to gather and share understanding, collaborate on approaches to curriculum issues, and participate in national co-construction. This is a critical to our approach: ensuring practitioners are empowered to be part of national decisions.
In September, I published Curriculum for Wales: The Journey to Curriculum Rollout. It was co-constructed with partners across education to provide a clear and simple set of expectations for schools on the journey to the new curriculum – to September 2022 and beyond. This is about helping schools to focus on the “how” of curriculum reform – providing a clear national framework to guide planning, while maintaining that crucial practitioner innovation and creativity which is at the heart of Curriculum for Wales.
We are in the process of developing a National Entitlement that brings together a package of professional learning support that everyone will be entitled to and benefit from. A truly national offer that will be easier to navigate. In practice this means schools will have a core package of professional learning, together with a range of additional resources which they can access online via Hwb and school improvement services. By the end of this term, we will have set out what this entitlement will look like and more detail for schools and settings on where to get things that matter.
Recognition of the need for ongoing support for schools and settings is why I have prioritised ongoing investment over the three years of our draft budget. In the coming financial year we plan to invest over £35 million directly in support of our curriculum reforms. For schools that means they will receive £21.6 million, £21.3 million and £18.4 million over the next 3 years to support their work on the new curriculum and related professional learning.