Annual report on implementation of the recommendations from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group report
This annual report sets out the progress made to date in implementing these recommendations to reinforce the importance of teaching past and present experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities as part of the story of Wales across the curriculum.
In this page
My vision is that all young people will understand how Welsh history, and culture in all its diversity has shaped Wales to become the proud and unique nation it is today.
By making it explicit and mandatory to include the teaching of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories as part of the history of Wales and the world, the Curriculum for Wales seeks to engender in teachers and learners a sense of belonging and pride, celebrating the diverse culture of modern Wales. In supporting a child to make strong connections with their home and community, and embracing past and present experiences, teachers can support learners to develop an appreciation of the extent to which they are part of a wider international community, fostering a sense of belonging that can encourage them to contribute positively to their communities and confront racism. The history of Wales is diverse, and comprises a variety of diverse and rich histories of the many communities, races, religions and individuals in our country. I am firmly committed to ensure this enables our learners to develop a common understanding of the diverse history, cultural heritage, ethnic diversity, identities, experiences and perspectives of their local area, Wales and the wider world and how they themselves and their families and communities have contributed to our history.
Following the publication of Professor Charlotte Williams OBE’s Working Group’s final report in March 2021, the Welsh Government has worked closely with Professor Williams to take forward the recommendations that reinforce the importance of teaching diverse experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic peoples and communities across the Curriculum for Wales.
Over the past 12 months I am pleased that a number of the recommendations have been implemented and this report highlights the successes to date. However, we still have work to do to ensure the education system in Wales supports and reflects the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities past and present.
I am also keen to ensure that the progress we have made to date is sustainable and contributes towards wider change in society through the Welsh Government’s Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan. The Education section of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan provides a holistic approach to developing a culture of anti-racism within schools, further education and higher education.
I would like to express my thanks to Professor Williams, who has continued to play a pivotal role in supporting the Welsh Government in taking forward the recommendations.
In July 2020, the Welsh Government appointed Professor Charlotte Williams OBE to chair the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group. Professor Williams’ Working Group was asked to identify ways to improve the teaching of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Wales. Professor Williams’ Working Group’s final report was presented to the Welsh Government on 19 March 2021 and all recommendations were accepted.
This annual report sets out the progress made to date in implementing these recommendations to reinforce the importance of teaching past and present experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities as part of the story of Wales across the curriculum.
The developments detailed in this report are being taken forward through consistent engagement with a range of key stakeholders, including Estyn, the regional consortia and partnerships, Qualifications Wales and Education Workforce Council. Strong links have also been maintained with the Welsh Government’s Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan (previously known as the Race Equality Action Plan) and Professor Williams, who is supporting the Welsh Government’s implementation of the recommendations in an advisory capacity.
The Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan sets out the vision of a Wales that is ‘anti-racist by 2030’ and includes actions to tackle racism and make ‘meaningful and measurable changes’ to the lives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic peoples. It aims to take an approach to policy making which is transparent and rights-based, and one which is driven by lived experience. The Plan underlines the importance of learners in Wales engaging with different historical, racial, ethnic and cultural experiences. These core values align with the findings and recommendations of the Working Group’s final report, which are crucial in helping the Welsh Government to realise its aims of an anti-racist Wales by 2030.
Progress to date
The Curriculum for Wales
The teaching of diversity across the Curriculum for Wales ensures that all learners are able to see themselves and that their experiences represented in what they are taught.
Following consultation on a set of revised statements of what matters codes for Humanities in autumn 2021, Wales became the first part of the UK to make it mandatory to teach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and experiences in the Curriculum for Wales, which is being rolled out in September 2022.
Taking on board the collective views and advice from experts, the statements of what matters for Humanities now state:
“Through consistent exposure to the story of their locality and the story of Wales, as well as to the story of the wider world, learners can develop an understanding of the complex, pluralistic and diverse nature of societies, past and present. These stories are diverse, spanning different communities as well as in particular the stories of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. This also enables learners to develop a common understanding of the diverse history, cultural heritage, ethnic diversity, identities, experiences and perspectives of their local area, Wales and the wider world.”
This means that the study of Welsh history in all its diversity and complexity is both explicit and compulsory for schools and settings in Wales from September 2022. This is not about compartmentalising Wales and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories into one part of the curriculum; it is about embedding an understanding of Wales, its culture and histories across learning in all areas.
The Welsh Government’s Equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Board worked closely with Professor Williams during her research and has sought to bring its recommendations to the Equality in STEM Education sub-group to ensure a cohesive approach to common goals. Since the publication of Professor Williams’ Working Group’s final report, the Equality in STEM Education sub-group invited Dr Shehla Khan, a member of Working Group, to participate in the sub-group to ensure continuity of approach. The sub-group has also initiated several pieces of work, including working with the Royal Academy of Engineering on the findings and recommendations of The Hamilton Commission Report, “Accelerating Change – Improving representation of Black people in UK Motorsport”. The sub-group has also undertaken a survey with learners in years 10-13 to establish the influences that lead learners choosing to study STEM (or not), and to find out in particular about the influences on girls from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
With the support of Professor Williams’ Working Group, the Arts Council of Wales developed a project aimed at reducing the manifestations of racism in schools and society by allowing learners to gain a fuller understanding of the identities, communities and histories that come together to form their cynefin. 'Cynefin: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Wales' draws upon the power of creative learning approaches used within the Lead Creative Schools scheme that has enabled schools to explore new ideas and approaches to teaching and learning. The initial Cynefin offer was launched to schools in January 2021. To date (May 2022), 43 schools, over 1,200 learners and 22 creative practitioners have been directly involved (with an additional 15 creative professionals augmenting this). The project gave the opportunity to explore identity in relation to growing up in contemporary Wales, understand the history and development of Wales as a culturally diverse society, and work alongside Creative Practitioners in a learning environment to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, amongst other things. The learning and experience that has emerged from this work has been profound. A third round of Cynefin will be launched in autumn 2022, reflecting on, and informed by the learning from the initial phase.
Within the Curriculum for Wales, learners should be introduced to literature which reflects diversity and cultures in the locality, Wales as well as the wider world. In designing their curriculum, schools should create a positive reading culture which immerses learners in literature that reflects their interests and ignites their enthusiasm. Welsh Government funded literacy programmes such as the Book Council for Wales’ Schools Love Reading book gifting campaign will ensure that learners across Wales have access to a diverse range of appealing and quality literature. The literature provided through this campaign will provide insight into the culture, people and history of Wales as well as the wider world and an understanding of their own and other people’s experiences, beliefs and cultures. Earlier this year, a Book Trust Cymru conference was held for early years practitioners to explore equality and diversity within literature and reading for pleasure. The conference brought together high-profile voices to explore a number of themes, including the importance of all children being able to see themselves in the books they are exposed to from an early age, and the practical action that can be taken to ensure children and families have access to representative books.
Introducing international languages at primary school is an important step towards realising our ambitions for developing the learners of the future. The Welsh Government Global Futures programme supports multilingualism in our schools and increases the number of young learners studying languages at all levels. Projects such as the Cardiff University Mentoring project also offer targeted intervention to schools across Wales to raise awareness of the benefits of multilingualism and improve international language uptake at GCSE.
One of the four purposes of the curriculum is to support learners to become healthy, confident individuals and the characteristics of this include being able to build relationships based on mutual trust and respect and developing mental and emotional well-being by developing resilience and empathy. Future conversations will take place about health and well-being in the Curriculum for Wales and Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), with equality and inclusivity at the heart. There is a range of support and guidance available for schools, including the National Network.
Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan
The Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan brings together a number of curriculum and wider education actions to support long term change and impact. Aside from supporting the recommendations from Professor Williams’ Working Group, the Plan recommends the strengthening of the Welsh Government's 'Rights, respect, equality' anti-bullying guidance for schools, and the requirement to report racist incidents and harassment in schools through strengthened data collection, which takes into account how the incident was dealt with, the action taken in response and whether the incident was resolved successfully for the victim.
The Diversity and Anti-Racism Professional Learning (DARPL) project
The Diversity and Anti-Racism Professional Learning (DARPL) project was set up in response to the professional learning recommendations of the working group. The project is led by the BAMEed (Wales) Network at Cardiff Metropolitan University. DARPL aims to provide a national model for professional learning for those working in education to develop an understanding and development of anti-racist practice. Professional learning provision will take into consideration the different roles of those working in educational settings, including senior leaders, teachers/student teachers, teaching assistants, governors and wider school staff.
In March 2022, the DARPL team hosted a Welsh Government Policy Insight event with 70 live attendees. This event was designed to raise awareness of the DARPL project and the highly positive grassroots developments to date to support schools to tackle significant, sensitive and complex issues and changes to support the transition to an anti-racist environment in all our schools. A full recording of the event is available on Hwb. This recording was also streamed on the Wales channel during the World Education Summit held in March.
A fully funded doctorate is also underway and will run alongside the DARPL project to track initial impact. Discussions are ongoing to build on the existing DARPL project for schools to extend provision to other sectors.
A new Diversity and Anti-racism Professional Learning (DARPL) project virtual campus is in development providing a central hub for schools to promote forthcoming events, new research and resources, and to showcase partners involved in DARPL.
The Regional Consortia and partnerships have been key partners in the DARPL project, offering professional learning, advice and support, peer reviewing materials and supporting promotion of programmes.
The response of the DARPL group to date has been extraordinary in their energy, commitment and incisiveness. This initial project is the starting point on a challenging journey over the next 18 month to upskill educational professionals and learners across Wales, working towards REAP 2030.
National Network conversations focused on Welsh and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories were held with teachers in early April. This conversation marks the start of more conversations with teachers that will help us to further understand the professional learning support required. We also funded professional learning events arranged by Universities of Wales titled “Welsh History & Curriculum for Wales”. These workshops examined Wales’ contributions to the British Empire, slavery, the World War and industry from a diverse and inclusive outlook. In the coming months, we will be evaluating the feedback from teachers for these events to ensure that teachers are receiving the support they need to teach Welsh history that is truly diverse and accurately reflects all our communities.
As the National Network evolves, conversations will continue to focus on cross-cutting themes to support the development and implementation of the new curriculum for Wales. Over time, the focus of conversations will include Areas of Learning and Experience informed by the needs of teachers.
Initial Teacher Education
Professor Williams’ Working Group highlighted the importance of a more diverse ethnicity profile of the education workforce.
Increasing diversity in the workforce is a priority for the Welsh Government, not only in terms of representation in those areas with a higher ethnic minority demographic amongst learners but across all areas of Wales.
In October 2021, we published our plan to increase recruitment of people who are from ethnic minority backgrounds into Initial Teacher Education (ITE). This plan is the first step to recruit and retain more people from ethnic minority backgrounds into the Education workforce. It sets out an initial series of actions that can be taken by various stakeholders, including the Welsh Government and ITE Partnerships, to address the issues of recruitment of ethnic minorities into Initial Teacher Education. The wider strategy will need actions from across all areas in Education if we are to address fully the issues around racial inequality, and this is supported through the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan.
We have recruited Community Mentors with the relevant background and experiences to support ITE Partnerships in meeting their individual actions detailed within the recruitment plan. This work will strengthen recruitment processes and assist in retaining people from ethnic minority backgrounds into the teaching profession.
From September 2022, for the first time, we are introducing a financial incentive to attract entrants from ethnic minorities on to ITE courses. This will be in addition to our existing incentives and could offer an entrant up to £15,000 and up to £20,000 if they are studying to teach through the medium of Welsh.
New Professional Teaching Awards Cymru Category
Professor Williams’ Working Group recognised the importance of rewarding and showcasing exemplars at a national level to enable and encourage change.
On 22 October 2021, the Welsh Government launched a new Professional Teaching Award Cymru category, titled 'The Betty Campbell MBE award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities'.
This new award promotes and celebrates inclusion and recognises excellent awareness of the importance of an inclusive education as part of a society that confronts and addresses racism in all forms. The winner of the new category will be announced at the awards ceremony in July 2022.
Further details relating to the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru can be found Professional Teaching Awards Cymru.
School Governing Bodies
In discussions with school governors, Professor Williams’ Working Group noted the need for guidance, training and resources to empower governing bodies to support schools.
Reflecting the common principles agreed with third sector experts and the working group, a model role description for Equality and Diversity Champions was tested and evolved with governor support officers from local authorities and regional consortia. To demonstrate our commitment to this issue, school governing bodies have been surveyed to find out how it is being used in schools and we are collating good practice examples for sharing.
Separately, a working group of governor support officers has been established to review our school complaints guidance with a view to strengthening it in relation to complaints about discrimination.
Professor Williams participated in discussions with governor support officers to help establish a shared understanding of the need for action, their role, and establish what further support might be required. Some schools identified the need for further training and in response to the findings further support for governors has been included in the National Academy of Educational Leadership Remit Letter for 2022-26 to address the gap. The National Academy for Educational Leadership will lead on the development of resources to support the Equality and Diversity Champion role on school governing bodies, with the aim of leading to a whole-school approach to celebrating diversity in schools.
Professor Williams’ Working Group recommended that the Welsh Government engage with Unions to address issues facing staff, including experiences of discrimination, being over-burdened and lacking guidance towards progression.
Exploratory discussions have been undertaken with Education Workforce unions who are all keen to progress this commitment. All Education Workforce unions (covering headteachers, teachers and support staff) are currently taking forward the following two actions:
- All Teaching Unions to consider the types of cases that they deal with that are raised by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues. The intention here was to better understand the data already held and to see if any patterns were evident.
- All Teaching Unions to consider what specific support they currently provided against this objective for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff.
Once the overall picture has been established, the Welsh Government and Unions will continue to work together to consider the issues and identify specific actions towards achieving this recommendation.
In the last year, Professor Williams has presented the findings of the Working Group final report to a number of research groups across Wales, including the Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Diversity Research Group on the theme of Equality and Diversity through the Collaborative Research Networks and to Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) finalists in several programs across Wales.
The Welsh Government currently funds the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) Multi-Cohort Study (WMCS), which is a longitudinal study, based on detailed surveys of learners from selected comprehensive schools in Wales. We have worked with WISERD to ensure that the WMCS captures pupils’ perspectives on how their school promotes diversity and inclusion and tackles racism, under the heading “Belonging in a diverse Wales”. The findings from the survey will be shared with the Welsh Government so that action can be taken where required.
Officials have also been working with the Education Workforce Council to undertake research designed to support recruitment and retention of teachers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an analysis of statistical data held by the EWC and a rapid evidence assessment by policy officials indicated that more needed to be done to recruit and retain teachers and school leaders from minority ethnic backgrounds and attract them into the profession. This was an opportunity to commission research from our HEIs into the barriers that teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds faced.
The Working Group’s final report highlighted the importance of the role that Qualifications Wales could play in delivering an inclusive education for learners. Through working with Qualifications Wales, officials were tasked with considering appropriate ways to diversify qualification design.
Qualifications Wales’ is undertaking a review of existing qualifications and developing a new suite of general qualifications under the project banner of “Qualified for the Future”. As part of the co-construction process, the Welsh Government will put forward expectations for Wales’ new suite of qualifications, which will include a focus on multiculturalism and diversity, ensuring that these considerations are embedded in the design of new qualifications across all subject areas, not just in obvious ones such as history. Professor Williams was a member of the advisory group for the project and will continue to be involved as the work progresses. Qualifications Wales will ensure that they engage with groups representing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people as well as the latest research, including recent Lit in Colour report published by the Runnymede Trust, to help shape their thinking.
Qualifications Wales is also committed to exploring the potential to incorporate greater flexibility in qualification content and assessment to encourage schools to diversify their teaching and learning experiences, including around Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic perspectives and contributions. They have also provided working papers to groups co-constructing the design requirements for future GCSEs that include exploration of how qualifications can reflect Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority perspectives, experiences and contributions.
The Working Group found there was a lack of bilingual resources available on Hwb that reflected the contributions and representation Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. The development of a new suite of bilingual professional development resources that provide a detailed exploration of diversity in Wales in the past and present was recommended to support teachers to include the contributions of ethnic minority communities across all areas in the curriculum.
In March, we commissioned supporting materials that will support teachers to teach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and contributions as part of Welsh history in the Curriculum for Wales. These materials will be flexible in that they can easily be adapted to support teachers when they are considering how they can embed and teach these themes across the curriculum and not in isolation. The project is in its initial research phase and external organisations and teachers will be involved throughout.
We are also in the process of finalising two specifications for the development of a Welsh history timeline and a Welsh history interactive map. These resources will include the contributions of communities in Wales to support teachers and learners to explore the diverse histories of Wales, discover their heritage and understand the importance of the Welsh language, and develop their understanding of their cynefin.
In early 2022, a book on Welsh history, 'Hanes yn y Tir/History Grounded', was issued to all schools in Wales.
As well as funding new resources, the Welsh Government has also undertaken a series of initial steps to review existing resources on Hwb relating to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic perspectives, experiences and contributions. This review will take place as part of a wider effort to review resources on Hwb for the Curriculum for Wales.
Estyn’s updated inspection guidance ‘What we inspect’ includes references to equality and diversity and the experience of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. It includes inspection of how well different groups of pupils make progress across the school by finding out if pupils feel safe and secure, and free from physical and verbal abuse. Pupils must feel respected and treated fairly, and our inspectors look at how well pupils are developing as ethical, informed citizens. Inspectors consider how well providers help pupils to understand issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion and develop the values of respect, empathy, courage and compassion. They will also consider how the school develops its curriculum to reflect the cultural, linguistic, and diverse nature of Wales and the wider world. Inspectors evaluate how well schools plan for teaching pupils about the history and experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and LGBTQ+ people and of pupils with other protected characteristics.
In Estyn’s latest remit letter for 2022-2023 Welsh Government has indicated that one possible item required for 2023-24 will be a best practice review of the curriculum to address diversity. This allows schools time to develop practice and to follow up on 'Estyn’s thematic report on the teaching of Welsh and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic identity, culture and history', published on 7 October 2021. This review is likely to form a thematic report using evidence from a range of sources including visits to schools and inspection evidence.
Annex 1 – Useful links
- Interim report by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group.
- Final report by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group.
- Vision statement developed by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group and published in October 2021.
- Teacher prompt sheet developed by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group and published in October 2021.
- An infographic on Ethnic Diversity in Schools based on data from Education Workforce Council (EWC) and Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) developed by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group and published in December 2021.
- Initial Teacher Education Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Recruitment plan published in October 2021.
- Welsh Government statement on ‘Learning of Black, Asian and minority ethnic histories included in new Welsh Curriculum’, published 1 October, highlighting that Wales is the first nation in the UK to make Black, Asian and minority ethnic education mandatory in its curriculum.
- Ministerial statement on Written Statement to update on progress of the recommendations in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group, published in October 2021.
- A short documentary film by Arts Council of Wales exploring the process and impact of Cynefin: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Wales, including individual case studies.
- Publication of Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan – What we are going to do to make Wales anti-racist
- On 7 June 2022, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language made oral statement in the Senedd: Supporting an Anti-Racist education system.