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Ministerial foreword

We are well on our way to making our new curriculum a reality in schools and settings across Wales. September 2022 is a key milestone, but not the end of the journey. The Welsh Government and its enabling partners have been working closely with schools and settings to prepare for the Curriculum for Wales since well before the pandemic. Schools should feel confident and supported as they prepare to implement their new curriculum.

The pandemic has affected preparations, but there remains a strong commitment to reform throughout the sector, and a desire to maintain momentum. With the Curriculum for Wales being introduced from September, there is every reason to be positive about progress to date, whilst recognising there is more to do over the coming period.

Our new curriculum is designed for all learners. Our focus has been and always will be to raise the attainment of every learner, to ensure they can reach their potential. Meeting the needs of our disadvantaged and vulnerable learners has been an important consideration through the development of the Curriculum for Wales framework. The Curriculum specifically challenges every school and setting’s curriculum to raise the aspirations for all learners. Schools and settings are preparing their curriculum vision to demonstrate how their principles for curriculum and assessment design are meeting the needs of all learners within their setting. There are already many examples of how schools and settings are using the curriculum framework as a means to develop new approaches to addressing learner needs.

The four purposes of the curriculum are already becoming familiar to practitioners and learners across Wales, and will become familiar terms for parents and carers. For the first time, we have defined in law the purpose of education in Wales. At 16 we want all our young people to be ambitious, enterprising, ethical and healthy and confident citizens of Wales and the world. This means that schools do not just teach to the test but develop young people as well rounded, healthy individuals, with the skills and knowledge to face the future confidently. This is essential for learners to play an active part in their community and wider society, and to thrive in an increasingly complex world.

The independent Audit Wales report on the Curriculum for Wales published on 26 May recognised the integrated nature of the wider education reform agenda: the fundamental importance of professional learning and pedagogy, the work on school improvement, self-evaluation and accountability, the reform of qualifications, and the important role of parents and carers to this programme. It also recognised that, as we progress, the reform agenda is intended to improve educational standards across Wales and specifically to support learners who are disadvantaged or impacted by poverty. These remain key priories for our ongoing support for curriculum reform.

In the context of an education sector emerging from the pandemic, it is important to recognise that while effective preparation and planning are essential to support curriculum implementation, there will be an element of real learning and understanding that will only develop when settings have had the opportunity to begin to implement their Curriculum for Wales. While the support ecosystem for curriculum reform continues to evolve in response to need and continues to improve, we recognise that embedding practice in the implementation of the new curriculum for schools and settings will truly begin in earnest from September.

Jeremy Miles MS
Minister for Education and Welsh Language

Current position of reform

This section provides a summary of preparations underway for curriculum reform within schools and settings. This includes national level qualitative assessments of strengths and areas for further work. The information has been collated in real time during summer term 2022, using a variety of different methods across middle tier strategic partners (regional consortia and partnerships, Estyn and local authorities). Information has, for example, been sourced from:

  • supporting improvement advisers/school improvement partners/challenge advisers/curriculum team discussions and visits to schools by school improvement services
  • local authority assessments on the work of funded non-maintained nursery settings
  • primary pilot inspections
  • evaluations of professional learning and support
  • survey and focus group outcomes
  • regional/partnership meetings with headteachers and senior leaders
  • regional/partnership attendance at cluster meetings
  • informal and formal opportunities for feedback through networking, including via the National Network

Consequently, this section is presented to provide a helpful empirical system update on the substantial progress being made by schools and settings as they implement new curriculum and assessment arrangements. However, it is not the output of a single structured approach to data collection and analysis. It should, therefore, be viewed in that light. 

In summary, the developing picture includes the following:

  • an encouragingly positive picture of funded non-maintained nursery settings progress and an improving picture from the turn of the year
  • over more recent months, schools appear to be making faster progress towards designing their curriculum
  • nearly all schools and settings are identifying their own unique factors and how these contribute to the four purposes
  • nearly all are reviewing the vision, values and behaviours to support curriculum realisation
  • nearly all are developing understanding of curriculum design considerations, including mandatory elements and the school’s policy in relation to the Welsh language
  • most are reviewing curriculum design models and investigating the suitability for their use
  • most are considering the role of progression, assessment and pedagogy in their local curriculum and context
  • most are designing, planning and trialling their proposed curriculum model, evaluating initial designs and developing medium term plans
  • encouragingly, more schools are happy to discuss trialling approaches and then refine them if they do not work
  • almost half of secondary schools, as well as a number of special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs), are adopting the Curriculum for Wales for their Year 7 learners in September, a year earlier than required

With regard to those few schools making slower progress than expected, different schools will have different needs and priorities affecting their curriculum development work. Where schools are making slower progress, our partners report that this is very unlikely to be an issue that is isolated to the curriculum, but rather an aspect of wider, underlying challenges. For example, some are developing the quality and consistency of learning and teaching as a pre-requisite for meaningful curriculum development, whilst others are trialling different approaches to curriculum design. Unfortunately, as was the case prior to the pandemic and the programme of education reform, there are schools across Wales that are cause for concern.

All of these schools are in receipt of bespoke and intensive support.

Funded non-maintained nursery childcare settings

These settings continue to make an invaluable contribution to supporting the development needs of our youngest learners. Around 10,000 3 and 4-year-olds receive their early education in some 530 settings, and we have worked closely with the association of directors of education in Wales (ADEW) and local authorities to understand the progress that they are making to implement their Curriculum for Wales, a curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings (Hwb). The last 2 years have been challenging for the childcare sector, and their journey to curriculum implementation has to be seen sympathetically in that light.

The results of the latest review with local authorities in May shows an encouragingly positive picture of settings’ progress, and an improving picture from the turn of the year. Since January, the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in particular has enabled settings to normalise patterns of education and care, provide more comprehensive and enriching service to children, and to enable greater focus on preparations for curriculum implementation. We applaud the work of settings, local authorities and the national umbrella organisations which provide excellent support of the delivery of early education in the sector.

There is an increasing sense of momentum within the sector and all local authorities are actioning plans to improve curriculum understanding and ensure high-quality implementation. Self-evaluation and setting-informed action plans are key next steps. There remains a determination to create high-quality, developmental opportunities for learners accessing childcare and education in the non-maintained sector.

We continue to work with local authorities on the type of support required by settings, and will focus on the production of assessment arrangements and discrete resources specific to understanding the principles of the Curriculum for Wales and the implementation of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings. Practitioner support will continue to focus on consistent, high-quality implementation arrangements to ensure a deep understanding of child development and the pedagogy to ensure sustainable improvements in the delivery of early education, and on the production of resources to support parents' and carers' understanding of education in settings.

Some settings are continuing to feel the impact of the pandemic, and local authorities will continue to provide bespoke and targeted support to enable effective implementation of the curriculum.

Maintained schools

Schools that are preparing well for the Curriculum for Wales have engaged in wider cluster working, in a collaborative rather than competitive culture. The curricula being designed draw on local contexts, strengthening community relationships and engaging all stakeholders in a shared vision for learning and teaching. Learners are placed at the heart of curriculum planning developing a purpose-led curriculum, allowing opportunities for increased innovation and creativity.


We know from a number of research reports that there is significant support and momentum to implement the new curriculum in our primary schools from September. We have been clear that 2022 is an important milestone, and that we expect schools to continue to improve as they move forward in implementing the curriculum. We have created space for schools to prepare, including the lifting of Key Stage 2 and end of phase assessments and moderation.

Some key areas where schools are being supported to develop:

  • deepening understanding of the principles and progression, progression steps and all forms of assessment
  • tailored professional learning for teachers and support staff
  • sharing information about curriculum reform with all partners, including parents, carers and governing bodies
  • opportunities for effective immersion to support learners to speak Welsh in formal and informal situations, in Welsh-medium, bilingual and English-medium schools


Secondary providers were given the option of introducing their Curriculum for Wales for their Year 7 learners a year earlier than required from September this year. Or alternatively adopt their new curriculum from September 2023 for both Years 7 and 8. No pressure or expectation was placed on schools or settings regarding this option, and guidance was provided emphasising that informed decisions should be made locally, based on their particular circumstances and the needs of their learners. 

In total, 104 signed declarations to adopt the Curriculum for Wales for Year 7s from September 2022 were agreed, comprising 4 PRUs and 100 maintained schools. Of the 100 maintained schools that declared:

  • 13 were special schools
  • 6 were all-age/middle schools 
  • 9 were Welsh medium
  • 13 were bilingual (all categories) 

There are no notable patterns in terms of location or social disadvantage, with a spread across Wales broadly in line with population densities. The proportion of Welsh-medium and bilingual schools going forward in September 2022 is broadly comparable with the English-medium schools.

Reasons affecting decisions to implement the Curriculum for Wales early, or not, are varied, but include:

  • avoiding learners starting Year 7 in the 2022 to 2023 academic year experiencing a change in curriculum approaches in the 2023 to 2024 academic year
  • robust preparation and wishing to maintain momentum
  • more time to design, plan and trial approaches, as well as cluster and cross-school collaboration
  • the impact of the pandemic on capacity to engage with curriculum reform
  • prioritising support to learners sitting qualifications
  • post-inspection priorities for schools causing concern

Our actions to support realisation of reforms

All schools have access to comprehensive support, which includes a national, regional and local offer focused on the development of whole-school approaches, Area and subject discipline development where appropriate. These include pedagogy (building on the 12 principles from the curriculum framework), curriculum design and planning, assessment and progression, aligned to the phases set out in the journey to curriculum roll-out guidance to ensure that schools are equipped to improve the quality of learning and teaching and beginning implementation from September. To support this, there are a range of resources (provided synchronously and asynchronously) which are now shared on a national basis for all practitioners to access. Regular and ongoing communications with practitioners through networks remains a key priority to ensure open and equitable access for all.

Co-construction remains a core component of working across the education system, including in the provision of practical opportunities that support leaders and practitioners to understand better how they can design, adopt and implement their curriculum. As an integral part of this, there are robust evaluation processes in place to monitor the impact of support provided and refine the offer accordingly.

The focus of our immediate actions for this year and next year are to support schools and settings to prepare for and introduce their new curricula as well as to begin a process of learning and reflection collectively from the early lessons of implementation. This learning will be critical to ensuring a continuously improving approach to the Curriculum for Wales, at all levels.

Progression and assessment

Supporting learners to make progress in their learning, and effectively assessing that progress, is central to the successful realisation of Curriculum for Wales across all areas of learning and experience (Areas). This is one of the most fundamental changes offered by the Curriculum for Wales and is critical to raising standards and expectations for learners: ensuring they make continuing, meaningful, evidence-based progress in their learning. To support practitioners to develop their understanding and realisation of progression and assessment in the Curriculum for Wales, we have undertaken the following elements of support.

Curriculum design, assessment, and evaluating learner progress: supporting materials

We have developed and published a wide range of practical materials to support practitioners:

  • in the process of curriculum development and
  • to build clear links between the Curriculum for Wales and the new non-statutory school improvement guidance, which sets out the new national framework for evaluation, improvement, and accountability

These have been published in a new area of Hwb, bringing together existing supporting materials with new practical guides, including on developing a shared understanding of progression, designing a purpose-led curriculum, evaluating learner progress as part of school improvement processes, and developing assessment arrangements. These materials will continue to evolve in line with schools’ needs.

Camau: Assessing for the Future

The Assessing for the Future professional development workshops were run with a group of practitioners from across Wales, 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 the supporting learner progression: assessment section of Curriculum for Wales guidance into reality for their learners.

The resource developed as a result of these workshops is designed to engage practitioners in structured discussions to develop their understanding of learning progression and of the links between this and approaches to assessment. It takes the form of a series of 6 workshops, with support materials, designed to be used by groups of practitioners who will work as a community of enquiry to develop their understanding of progression across the curriculum and, thus, build their capacity in their own context to plan and use assessment approaches which support learning progression. It will be made available in the 2022 summer term.

Camau i’r Dyfodol

This 3-year project, being carried out in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the University of Glasgow, has been launched to support capacity-building and understanding of progression in the Curriculum for Wales. In doing so, it will build on the outputs of the Camau Assessing for the Future workshops.

The project is bringing together the expertise and experience of the education sector to co-develop a shared understanding of progression for all learners that is meaningful, manageable, and sustainable. This includes supporting the development of practice that can realise Curriculum for Wales’ ambitions, ensuring change is meaningful and manageable for schools and settings and is carried out in an inclusive, evidence-informed manner with equity, integrity and alignment between all parts of the system. It will provide an evolving evidence-base which can feed back into the system and provide practitioners with new knowledge about progression-based curricula, professional practice, and educational change.

The project has already delivered a series of National Network conversations on progression and assessment to discuss the principles of progression, share experiences and approaches, and develop the evidence base for further work.

Shared understanding of progression

A statutory Direction was published on 27 June to help enable practitioners to participate in professional dialogue for the purpose of developing and maintaining a shared understanding of learner progression. These discussions are key to helping ensure coherence, continuity and equity for learners in Wales. The materials published on 28 June also support schools and settings in these discussions. These discussions will also be supported by the Camau Assessing for the Future resource.

Legislative guidance

We have developed new guidance to sit alongside subordinate legislation to develop understanding and support implementation. Existing Curriculum for Wales guidance has been updated to clarify the current position, following the passage of legislation through the Senedd over the past 12 months.


Following the passage of the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 last spring, the significant package of subordinate legislation identified as necessary to support Curriculum for Wales implementation is now almost complete. Only one further statutory instrument is intended to be laid before the Senedd in July, making consequential amendments to secondary legislation.

This significant legislative programme has included the implementation of all three statutory codes (progression, relationships and sexuality education, and the statements of what matters), a statutory direction on supporting understanding of progression and a suite of new and updated regulations made to give full effect to the 2021 Act. This package of subordinate legislation has been underpinned by the development of statutory and non-statutory curriculum and assessment guidance.

Work will continue to ensure full implementation of the 2021 Act. We intend to continue collaborative work to support practitioners to promote knowledge and understanding of the UNCRC and UNCRPD among those providing teaching and learning. Further work will also be done to develop effective policy for applying the Curriculum for Wales to detained children, and strengthening the links between the Curriculum for Wales and Cymraeg 2050.

National Network for curriculum implementation

Launched by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language in September 2021, the National Network brings together teaching professionals, experts, stakeholders, policy makers and enabling partners (including regional consortia and local authority partnerships and Estyn) to identify and address the barriers to, and opportunities for, the implementation of Curriculum for Wales.

The National Network is an open platform, with opportunity for all practitioners in Wales to get involved in national co-construction to address our shared challenges and opportunities. It enables the:

  • developing of a national picture of the initial experiences of implementation, bringing together different views, perspectives and expertise nationally to understand how we are progressing, what the challenges are, and how people are responding to these
  • development of national policy to support implementation, to develop support to overcome challenges
  • continuing process of co-construction, bringing together policy and practice: teaching professionals, stakeholders, enabling partners and policy makers to inform and improve support

The National Network explores key issues around implementing the curriculum through conversations. During the 2021 to 2022 academic year conversations covered:

  • preparation for roll out, are we on the right track?
  • progression and assessment
  • resources and supporting materials
  • curriculum design 
  • Welsh history and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories
  • qualifications reform
  • oracy and reading (July 2022)

These conversations have allowed practitioners to share approaches, ideas, and challenges, and increase their confidence to take forward planning, designing, learning and teaching of the Curriculum for Wales in their own schools and settings. The conversations have also shaped and informed the Welsh Government and its partners’ work to support curriculum realisation. This includes:

  • short films by practitioners promoting the value of participating in conversation
  • shaping the development of the Curriculum for Wales Planning and Priorities Guide; supporting materials for curriculum, assessment, and evaluating learner progress; and the Assessing for the Future workshop resources
  • providing direct input on the development of the Resources and Supporting Materials Guide, to be published by the end of this term
  • informing the Camau i'r Dyfodol project, launched to support capacity-building and understanding of progression in the curriculum
  • informing the importance of a range of professional learning to support Welsh History teaching, including the delivery of twilight sessions which were extremely successful
  • informing Qualifications Wales’s next steps on qualifications reform

To support ongoing co-construction to achieve successful realisation of Curriculum for Wales, the conversation structure enables participants to facilitate conversations in their own schools, settings, and clusters.

The National Network is supported by a coherence group comprising practitioners and stakeholders, and is also informed by an expert reference group, consisting of key academics from a range of educational jurisdictions. Over the year ahead, these groups will continue to play an important role in the National Network. We will also extend the role of practitioners and stakeholders in the planning process to provide stronger focus on the needs of practitioners within identified areas of focus.

We will publish a plan of the National Network conversations for the academic year 2022 to 2023 in advance of conversations commencing. The National Network will continue to focus on national policies including using conversations to inform policy to practice, identify policy challenges and using evolving best practice to inform national policy. Conversation themes will remain responsive and continue to evolve to meet practitioner needs. In the autumn, conversations will continue to focus on overarching curriculum priorities, including progression, assessment and curriculum design. These conversations will be informed by our priorities, including cross-curricular skills and the Welsh Language Framework. From spring 2023 there will be more focus on priorities emerging through the areas of learning and experience. 

Resources and supporting materials

Work continues in the commissioning and publication of a wide range of resources and supporting materials in support of Curriculum for Wales implementation. A new Curriculum for Wales section on the resources page on Hwb has been created and is being further populated almost on a weekly basis. Following work with practitioners in the spring, new search taxonomy, filters and tagging that is appropriate to the Curriculum for Wales is now being applied.

Following co-construction with practitioners and partner organisations we have recently published a guide to support the development of resources and supporting materials under the Curriculum for Wales. The guide has been designed for all those looking to share resources across schools and settings, and sets out key principles alongside a series of development questions to guide development and publication. The guide is clear in emphasising the need for Welsh language considerations to be front and centre from the outset, and will be updated as the new resources company becomes operational from 2023.

Working with a group of practitioners, and drawing on the guide, we are also engaged in the lengthy process of reviewing over 5,000 bilingual curriculum resources already publicly available on Hwb. As those complete review, and are deemed suitable, they are being moved into the dedicated Curriculum for Wales resources section.

Engagement with parents and carers

Effective engagement with parents and carers, as well as children and young people, is an integral part of rolling out the Curriculum for Wales. Statutory curriculum guidance already includes expectations on schools and settings, which research has confirmed are a trusted source of information for parents and carers.

To aid schools and settings in their engagement and communications with parents and carers, we are therefore, already making available a range of support tools and information. This nationally developed information is updated monthly and is designed to be adapted by schools and settings for their use and personalisation in their communications.

The ongoing evaluation, and regular feedback on effectiveness of these approaches, is a feature of this programme of work. Wider evaluative work to consider the views of parents and carers, as well as children and young people, is also a feature of our evaluation and monitoring programme.

Supporting specific aspects of the curriculum

This section of the report sets out actions in respect of support and development in specific aspects of curriculum reform, including the six Areas and cross-curricula responsibilities.

Foundation learning

As we move into implementation of the Curriculum for Wales and following engagement with stakeholders, we have decided the term Foundation Phase will be replaced with Foundation Learning from September. This reflects the new curriculum is a 3 to 16 continuum without separate stages or phases. The new term does not directly replace the Foundation Phase curriculum. It is intended primarily to support practitioners in discussing and considering the needs of younger learners or those who have additional needs under the Curriculum for Wales.

We know provision of high-quality early education for our youngest learners is essential to children’s development. The experiences, knowledge and skills needed for lifelong learning, active citizenship and future employment begin in the early years, and for meaningful learning, early educational experiences need to align closely with the principles of child development. This ensures a positive lifelong disposition towards learning.

The enabling learning section of Curriculum for Wales framework guidance, developed in partnership with practitioners, was published in January to support schools and settings in the planning, design and implementation of a pedagogically appropriate curriculum for all learners. It will be of particular interest to those working with learners who are in the period of learning leading to progression step 1.

A curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings was also published in January to support early learning in non-maintained childcare settings. The curriculum was developed through co-construction by practitioners, for practitioners, drawing on expertise from across our non-maintained sector, including views of experts in child development and early education.

A range of support modules to help facilitate implementation of curriculum arrangements for early years have also been published, alongside training provided to local authorities and others on their use. These include child development, outdoor learning and play and play-based learning. Following engagement with the non-maintained sector, further discrete training modules are being developed specifically for funded non-maintained nursery settings. They will expand on the principles for the Curriculum for Wales and the principles of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings, leadership, and schematic development of a child.

To complement the curriculum for non-maintained nursery settings, we are also working with practitioners to co-construct assessment arrangements for funded non-maintained nursery settings. The arrangements will cover guidance to support settings to develop a shared understanding of progression, support the ongoing assessment of progression for learners and appropriate on-entry assessment arrangements and will be consulted on later in 2022.

Cross-curricular skills

Literacy, numeracy and digital competence are mandatory cross-curricular skills and are the essential building blocks that underpin all learning. These skills are critical for all: enabling learners to access the breadth of the curriculum and the wealth of opportunities and choices it offers, equipping them with lifelong skills and supporting the embodiment of the four purposes. Developing these skills is particularly important for disadvantaged learners, and consideration has been given across our literacy, numeracy and digital programmes as to how the impact and benefits for these learners can be maximised.

Curriculum support provided for cross-curricular skills includes:

  • updated versions of the literacy, numeracy and digital competence frameworks to support learning and teaching throughout the Curriculum for Wales
  • personalised assessments as flexible tools for practitioners to integrate with other approaches when assessing skills and progress in reading and numeracy
  • a range of literacy, numeracy and digital provision led by regional consortia and local authority partnerships
  • support, resources and initiatives for schools including:
    • Bookstart, Pori Drwy Stori, Letterbox Club, Big Welsh Rhyme Time delivered by BookTrust Cymru
    • the Summer Reading Challenge, Quick Reads and World Book Day delivered by Books Council for Wales

In November 2021, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language delivered an oral statement on oracy and reading. This introduced a focus on oracy and reading skills to continue progress towards promoting learning and reducing the attainment gap. An action plan has been agreed with partners across Wales to support high standards in speaking, listening and reading skills development. As part of this, we are providing a book for every child in Wales, extra books for every school in Wales, in addition to an enhanced scheme of reading support, focusing on early years and disadvantaged learners. These cohorts have been most impacted by COVID-19, so a focus on language development, oracy, learning confidence and skill development is essential.

National Network conversations on reading and oracy will take place during July to inform the future direction of support, guidance and resources on oracy and reading.

Expressive Arts

The National Music Service supports schools and settings in their realisation of the Curriculum for Wales. All 3 to 16-year-olds will have access to opportunities in a range of areas, including playing musical instruments or singing, progressing across a range of musical genres, and engaging in experiences of live musical performances.

The National Music Service was launched on 17 May, meeting a key Programme for Government commitment making sure that money is no barrier to young peoplelearning to play an instrument. We will ensure that every learner, no matter their background and family income, is able to benefit from music education. The plan follows an extensive engagement process, and supported by £13.5 million for local authorities over the next 3 years provides a sustainable future for music education in Wales.

Plans are underway to develop resources and guidance to support teachers in their teaching of music within the Expressive Arts Area. We anticipate these will be available by early next year, as well as similar resources for dance.

An additional £3 million is also being provided over the next 3 years to extend the successful creative learning through the arts programme. The Arts Council for Wales will match-fund the investment to £6 million. This programme, which has been in place since 2015, encourages and develops creative approaches to learning and teaching. The programme includes the lead creative schools strand, in which over 650 schools have engaged to date.

Health and well-being

This innovative new curriculum area is encouraging partners’ participation, and we are collaborating with colleagues across government in areas such as equalities, health and sport and with external stakeholders on related programmes, as well as on a review and development of new resources.

More specifically, the cross-cutting mandatory area of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) is being implemented within schools’ rollout of the curriculum after the co-constructed RSE Code was passed by the Senedd in December 2021. Schools and settings have an important role to play in creating safe and empowering environments in supporting learners’ rights to enjoy fulfilling, healthy and safe relationships throughout their lives. In the early years, RSE learning is focussed around developing inclusive, healthy relationships with family, friends and peers, gradually understanding the right to mutual respect.

The Curriculum for Wales framework guidance is clear that the approach to RSE should be positive, protective and preventative, considering how learners might need to be supported to have the knowledge to recognise all forms of discrimination, violence, abuse and neglect, including violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Learning and teaching in RSE should be supported by a whole-school approach and this is critical in supporting learners’ well-being. This means effectively linking all aspects of school, including the curriculum, policy, staff, culture, environment and community to support learners. This should support the development of positive relationships, allowing learners and practitioners to thrive, reinforcing a consistent, positive ethos and provide holistic high-quality support for practitioners and learners and create positive environments which are free of misogyny, homophobia, gender-based harassment and bullying, at all levels.

We have developed a toolkit of resources to support schools and settings on implementing RSE. We are also working with partners on a national professional learning programme and the aligned development of RSE learning and teaching resources.


Following the publication of Professor Charlotte Williams OBE’s final report in March 2021, the Welsh Government 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.

Taking on board the collective views and advice from experts we amended the mandatory statements of what matters for the Humanities area. They now reference learning about the story of their locality and the story of Wales, as well as to the story of the wider world, which are diverse, spanning different communities including stories of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. Through this mandatory requirement, the Curriculum for Wales seeks to engender in teachers and learners a sense of belonging, pride and cynefin, celebrating the diverse culture of modern Wales.

In early 2022, a book on Welsh history, Hanes yn y Tir/History Grounded, was issued to all schools in Wales. This teaching resource supports practitioners to explore the diverse histories of Wales, discover their heritage and understand the importance of the Welsh language, and develop understanding of their cynefin. 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 to support teachers when they are considering how they can embed and teach these themes across the curriculum. In March, we also supported a series of Welsh history in the Curriculum for Wales events delivered by Universities Wales to upskill practitioners.

An annual report, on progress implementing the recommendations from Professor Charlotte Williams’ final report was published on 21 June.

Citizenship, and supporting learners to exercise their democratic rights and make political decisions is a central component of the mandatory statements of what matters within the Humanities Area. This means every curriculum will see learners develop an understanding of how systems of government in Wales operate.

As part of a range of new politics and citizenship resources and supporting materials for schools and settings being developed, we will publish materials for both primary and secondary schools on UNCRC in July on Hwb, outlining what rights children and young people have, with guidance for teachers. We will also be publishing next term global citizenship case studies, to demonstrate how a range of educational settings have planned for effective and engaging learning and teaching on this aspect of Curriculum for Wales.

Languages, Literacy and Communication

This Area addresses fundamental aspects of human communication. It supports learning across the whole curriculum and to enable learners to gain knowledge and skills in Welsh, English and international languages as well as in literature. Different languages are explored in relation to one another, so too the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It also means that learning about and through literature should be seen as contributing to all aspects of learning about languages.

The Welsh language will be a mandatory subject for all 3 to 16-year-old learners, with schools and settings deciding the best way of ensuring the progression of their learners. To support this process, in January 2021 we committed to work with stakeholders to develop a framework for the learning and teaching of Welsh in English-medium schools and settings. During the last year, a group of practitioners has mapped work based on the literacy and numeracy framework, the Curriculum for Wales descriptions of learning for Welsh in English-medium schools and settings, and the common European framework of reference for languages. The resulting consultation on a draft framework closed in May, and it is now being refined by practitioners to reflect that feedback with publication planned for September.

Like the curriculum’s cross-curricular skills frameworks, the Welsh language framework for English-medium schools, settings and streams will be available as non-statutory guidance. This provides additional support for schools for Welsh as part of the Curriculum for Wales, without hindering teacher agency and creativity.

Global Futures is our plan to improve and promote international languages in Wales 2022 to 2025. With our Global Futures partners, we will support both international languages in our Curriculum for Wales and our Programme for Government commitment to expand the teaching of modern foreign languages in our schools.

Our strategic aims for the next 3 years are to:

  • support the development and delivery of meaningful international language provision in Wales
  • provide our practitioners with the skills, knowledge and experiences to plan and deliver international languages provision
  • challenge the misconceptions around language learning

The Global Futures programme and our support for international languages includes the following funded elements:

  • Cardiff University modern foreign languages student mentoring project
  • regional consortia and local authority partnerships’ support for languages at primary and secondary schools
  • Open University teachers learning to teach languages programme

The Curriculum for Wales is the first in the UK to include British Sign Language (BSL) alongside English and other languages in the curriculum for both deaf BSL users and for those learning BSL as a second, third or subsequent language. The Curriculum for Wales also includes BSL versions of the statements of what matters for this Area and of the four purposes. To support practitioners with planning, designing, and teaching BSL as part of the curriculum, national information sessions were held between March and May for teachers of the deaf, BSL tutors and for other staff from schools and settings. Resources to support BSL learning and teaching will be available for free on Hwb from September. A group was established in January to develop a Curriculum for Wales BSL glossary to ensure consistency in the BSL signs used in our future BSL guidance and resources.

Mathematics and Numeracy

We are providing £450,000 for the further maths support programme in 2022 to 2023 to widen access to Further Mathematics GCSE AS/A2 level by strengthening provision though building capacity in each region in Wales. This is facilitated by offering professional learning, developing bilingual learning and teaching resources and working with regional consortia and partnerships in shaping delivery models in each area. In 2021, 680 students were awarded Further Mathematics A Level, which represents a 12.4% increase from 2020.

A Wales edition of the Your Money Matters resource has been made available to all schools in Wales. We have worked with the Money and Pensions Service to ensure this resource aligns with the vision of the Curriculum for Wales, ensuring learners not only consider the mathematical skills to be financially literate but also gain the knowledge, skills and experiences to develop positive and healthy attitudes to money and finance.

The Equality in STEM Board, chaired by the Minister for Social Justice, provides strategic direction to improve equality in STEM-related study and careers in Wales. The overarching vision for the education sub-group is aligned to that of the Curriculum for Wales, particularly in relation to the Mathematics and Numeracy and the Science and Technology Areas. The Board’s aim is to raise aspirations and challenge stereotypes in order to address under-representation in different careers, recognising that STEM learning is essential to all learners, preparing them for study, employment and life in the 21st century.

In its consideration of equality and diversity, the sub-group focuses on all underrepresented groups in STEM with membership including representatives from Disability Wales, Stonewall Cymru and Chwarae Teg, to enable Wales be a nation where there are no barriers to accessing STEM opportunities at all levels of education.

Science and Technology

We are continuing to invest in grant funding programmes totalling over £1 million for 2022 to 2023 in support of science and technology in the curriculum. At both learner and practitioner levels, these cover the breadth of subjects that fall within STEM Areas of the curriculum. We have also provided £300,000 to regional consortia and partnerships for coding and computer science initiatives to support the digital competence framework.

These programmes cover a range of STEM subjects and topics, including computer science, design and technology, mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry. They have been tailored to support Curriculum for Wales implementation, and include:

  • Techniquest and X-Plore! Both deliver programmes that enrich science, technology and mathematics in primary and secondary schools. Over the past year, they have engaged with 242 primary schools and 47 secondary schools,engaging just over 20,000 learners
  • the Engineering Education Scheme Wales runs programmes across Wales to inspire and motivate young people to choose careers in STEM, with a particular focus on engineering. There are currently 53 teams from across Wales taking part in this project
  • Technocamps delivers computer coding workshops to learners and practitioners in every secondary school in Wales
  • the Institute of Physics’ stimulating physics network programme provides Curriculum for Wales implementation support to practitioners with professional learning and coaching, including for non-specialists in physics. In addition, we are running a whole-school inclusion pilot project for physics, targeting under-represented groups. In the last year the network worked with 78 secondary schools and delivered 95 professional learning sessions
  • the physics mentoring programme is aimed at improving the gender balance in science subjects as well as improving post-16 participation in physics. Undergraduate and postgraduate students in physics-related degrees work as mentors with Year 8, 9 and 10 learners to consider the aspirations and opportunities that studying physics at GCSE, A Level and further may present. Since its inception, the project has engaged with some 530 learners across Wales

Within the careers and work related experiences section of the Curriculum for Wales, we focus on the communication of STEM career opportunities and are seeking to expand employer engagement in primary schools to broaden understanding of STEM opportunities at an early age.

Interdependencies with other reforms

School improvement

For the Curriculum for Wales to be successful, it must be supported by all aspects of the school system, which need to align with and support the curriculum and its underlying principles. The new non-statutory School Improvement guidance defines how evaluation, improvement and accountability should work as a system, and is designed to drive behaviours and practices that support the Curriculum for Wales and assessment arrangements. The guidance sets out our new approach to school improvement, centred around robust self-evaluation by schools themselves, with high-quality support available to all schools, from regional consortia and partnerships, local authorities and other schools.

The Curriculum for Wales is about supporting all learners to progress. The new approach to school improvement puts learners’ progression at its heart, and the guidance sets out the key questions of whether and how learners are progressing as central to schools’ self-evaluation. The School Improvement guidance therefore suggests that progression is the driving question for their improvement activities: whether learners are progressing in the ways described in the mandatory principles of progression, and whether the pace of learners’ progress is in line with the expectations of practitioners and the curriculum. The answers to these questions should determine the focus of subsequent self-evaluation and improvement work, helping to develop lines of inquiry for schools to take further, and ultimately to develop their school improvement priorities.

To further support schools to navigate this new context, the School Improvement guidance sets out three key areas of self-evaluation: vision and leadership; curriculum, learning and teaching; and well-being, equity, and inclusion – which should form part of a school’s standard self-evaluation cycle. Eight contributory factors describe the key attributes that schools that are successfully realising the curriculum will possess. These are factors that support reform and which, where absent, are likely to act as barriers to success. The factors cover learner progress and the curriculum itself, as well as wider processes and priorities. Estyn’s new approach to inspection for schools and PRUs reflects these contributory factors, and school improvement services will use these to support their understanding of where schools may benefit from additional support for curriculum realisation.

This gives schools a clear understanding of how curriculum and school improvement work together, and how the curriculum and assessment arrangements they develop form the basis for self-evaluation.

National approach to professional learning

The national approach to professional learning was launched in 2018. It aligns with the professional standards and schools as learning organisations (SLO) approach to create a vision fit for the evolving education system in Wales for all educational practitioners. Research-based, it is designed to ensure:

  • practitioners can access best practice in defining and sharing professional learning, especially through critical enquiry and collaborative learning
  • providers of professional learning, the regional consortia, universities and others, design high quality, accessible and fit for purpose professional learning, for example through designs that include collaborative enquiry and e-learning
  • the Welsh Government funds appropriate professional learning approaches that evidence indicates will have an impact on practice in classrooms

Work is well underway to refresh the national approach to align with recent policy and research developments. Linked to ongoing review work, we are committed to ensuring that practitioners at all levels are fully aware of their professional learning entitlement.

The national professional learning entitlement is being developed through a process of co-construction with the profession and partners, to support high-quality learning and teaching by enabling practitioners to:

  • support our system’s priorities, specifically curriculum and wider reform and improving equity through education
  • enjoy equity of access to professional learning, regardless of language, location, role in school, subject in secondary school, and whether full-time, part-time or supply
  • enjoy the highest quality of provision and support
  • easily access provision and support available locally, regionally and nationally
  • engage in enquiry, and be supported by coaching and mentoring

The national professional learning entitlement will be ready for practitioners in September and builds on our current professional learning system and a range of evidence sources. These include evaluations of specific schemes and independent reviews of different aspects of our system, including the OECD November 2020 review. The study highlighted the comprehensive policy framework and shared commitment of stakeholders across the Welsh system as key features providing excellent conditions for moving ahead. The Minister for Education and Welsh Language’s written statement to the Senedd on 17 May also provided an update on progress. All professional learning for all practitioners will be subject to more rigorous processes of evaluation. This work also addresses recommendations in the Audit Wales report published on 26 May.

Working with partners, our wider range of professional learning actions include:

  • the new professional learning journey website will be populated with a wide range of high-quality resources produced in partnership with regional consortia and local authority partnerships and schools from September
  • support for developing schools as learning organisations, including the national SLO survey for schools to undertake a baseline assessment
  • the regional Curriculum for Wales programme complimenting the above, as explained in a short trailer, and via regional consortia websites
  • the Curriculum for Wales development programme, with almost £12.2 million invested over 6 years, to support regional consortia and local authority partnerships to equip schools to realise the new curriculum. A further £3.2 million in 2022 to 2023 is supporting more bespoke support for schools
  • a website to provide open access to Curriculum for Wales professional learning resources regardless of where practitioners live or teach in Wales is being launched in September with direct access via Hwb
  • commissioning a range of external experts and partners, to develop bespoke professional learning to support practitioners to realise new curriculum requirements. For example, learning on careers and work-related experiences now featuring from age 3 requires the development of new skills for practitioners. Work is also ongoing in other areas, such as for relationships and sexuality education, children’s rights, the youth work sector, the creative arts, and literacy and oracy
  • the national pedagogy project to deepen our understanding of pedagogy (including the 12 pedagogical principles) within the context of a purpose-driven curriculum
  • support for practitioners to develop their Welsh language skills in accordance with the Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership. In 2021 to 2022 we invested £6.3m to support the Welsh language development of the workforce

Additional learning needs and equity

It is central to the Curriculum for Wales that every learner is enabled to make progress to their full potential, regardless of their different needs and backgrounds.

At the very outset, the Curriculum for Wales guidance challenges schools to consider how their curriculum will account for additional learning needs and different gaps in attainment, and central to this is tackling the impact of poverty on attainment. The curriculum framework has been designed for every learner in mind: to support them and to challenge them.

By raising standards and aspirations for all, the Curriculum for Wales has an important part to play in tackling the impact of poverty on attainment. Meeting the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable learners has been an important consideration throughout the development of the Curriculum for Wales framework, and this will remain an important consideration as the curriculum is rolled out. 

Through a framework that sees every learner as an individual with different strengths and areas for development, the Curriculum for Wales supports all learners, especially those with additional learning needs. As part of our wider reform of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales, a range of practitioners and academic experts have worked together to update the Routes for Learning materials. This was done to reflect the latest research in the field, as well as the Curriculum for Wales framework guidance.

As we move forward into implementation and ongoing improvement, we will work closely to ensure these reforms align and that Curriculum for Wales supports our wider agenda.

Monitoring effectiveness

Evaluation and monitoring programme

In January we published the final report of a project to understand the readiness of schools and settings for Curriculum for Wales roll-out from September. A survey of all schools and PRUs was distributed through multiple channels, and this was followed up with in-depth interviews with a cross-section of practitioners to understand how the reforms are working in schools, the barriers and facilitators to implementation and to inform the support that we and our partners are putting in place to maximise success. 

An externally commissioned evaluation scoping report will be published in July, together with our response. It will set out the programme theory of change; key research and evaluation questions; a recommended programme of evidence gathering activity to answer those questions; and the principles that should underpin this activity. The work involved engagement with schools and learners, as well as representatives from the wider education system.

In our implementation plan published in January 2021, we committed to undertaking a rigorous and transparent evaluation of the reforms, both to understand how the reforms are working and to examine the extent to which they are having the intended consequences for all learners. This scoping report is an important step in helping us to shape our evaluation plans.

We will implement ongoing research with a sample of schools from autumn 2022, to understand how the reforms are progressing in practice and identify what additional support is required.

Funding attributable to curriculum reform

Continued investment to support Curriculum for Wales implementation is essential if we are to realise our reform ambitions. In our 2021 to 2022 budget we invested an extra £8.3 million to support curriculum reform, and that additional funding is maintained into this financial year to provide ongoing support for the effective implementation of the new Curriculum for Wales from September.

In addition, we recognise the focus on well-being as a precursor for high quality learning. The Renew and Reform Plan brought together £278 million of funding interventions to support learners’ wellbeing and progression. The principles and priorities of this plan were aligned with curriculum reform, building on the effective practice and experiences of the pandemic to help build confidence, capability, and capacity towards reform.

The emphasis we have placed on learner progression under the Renew and Reform plan also provides for significant steps towards curriculum reform in schools and settings. That is why the additional Renew and Reform funding of £6 million in 2021 to 2022 for learning progression, has also been extended into the current Welsh Government 3-year budget. This additional funding is provisioned at £5.33 million in 2022 to 2023, £5 million in 2023 to 2024 and £1.66 million in 2024 to 2025, tapering down year on year as our reforms are implemented.

Planned provision for 2022 to 2023 is, therefore, at some £35.4 million, reflecting the priority we are placing on supporting schools and settings in their implementation of these reforms.

Audit Wales’ new Curriculum for Wales report, published on 26 May, recognises that the Welsh Government worked well with schools to co-design the new curriculum. It also recognises how we have responded to emerging needs as a consequence of the pandemic, while maintaining progress on these reforms.

This report includes therefore information on funding being made available from the Welsh Government from the Education and Welsh Language main expenditure group (MEG) that is more directly attributable to curriculum reform. In so doing, we recognise that a number of other budget lines within the MEG also likely indirectly contribute to the reforms (for example: initial teacher training, support for digital learning, literacy and numeracy, National Music Service).

Funding directly attributable to curriculum reform from the Education and Welsh Language MEG are, therefore, defined as covering:

  • direct funding for schools’ curriculum and assessment reform
  • support for non-maintained settings
  • professional learning for curriculum reform
  • Camau i’r Dyfodol progression support project
  • Qualifications Wales new qualifications development
  • resources and supporting materials
  • school improvement services support for curriculum and assessment reform
  • evaluation and monitoring programme
  • communications
  • Welsh Government operational costs

Table 1 reports spend in these areas over the last 3 financial years as schools and settings prepared for curriculum implementation.

Table 1


2019 to 2020

2020 to 2021

2021 to 2022

Curriculum reform


Practitioner costs for Curriculum for Wales guidance development




Regional and local authority support for curriculum and assessment reform




Schools' curriculum and assessment reform, including wellbeing and progression




Schools' network engagement




Resources and supporting materials




Non-maintained settings support




Progression support programme




Communications and stakeholder engagement




Research evaluation and monitoring




Welsh Government operational costs, including guidance development






Curriculum and assessment


Regional and local authority assessment for learning support for schools






Teacher development and support


Professional Learning pioneer schools and cluster schools




Curriculum Professional Learning programme (regional consortia and schools)




Curriculum national Professional Learning resources




Professional Learning grant for schools




Qualifications Wales


New qualifications development












Table 2 below reports projected spend in these areas over the 3 financial years covered by the current Welsh Government budget as schools and settings roll out and engage in ongoing refinement of their curriculum and assessment arrangements.

Table 2


2022 to 2023

2023 to 2024

2024 to 2025

Curriculum reform



Practitioner costs for Curriculum for Wales guidance development




Regional and local authority support for curriculum and assessment reform




Schools' curriculum and assessment reform, including wellbeing and progression




Schools' network engagement




Resources and supporting materials*




Non-maintained settings support




Progression support programme




Communications and stakeholder engagement




Research evaluation and monitoring




Welsh Government operational costs, including guidance development







Curriculum and assessment



Regional and local authority assessment for learning support for schools







Teacher development and support



Professional Learning pioneer schools and cluster schools




Curriculum Professional Learning programme (regional consortia and schools)




Curriculum national Professional Learning resources**




Professional Learning grant for schools




Qualifications Wales



New qualifications development












*including support for new qualifications in due course

**figures for the next 2 financial years to be agreed in due course

Future annual reports will update reported spend and forward projections, highlighting any anticipated pressures or savings.

Forward look

The Curriculum for Wales emphasises the importance of schools and settings continuing to trial, evaluate and improve their curricula as part of the continuing improvement journey. September will be a key milestone for primary and many secondary schools, and from September 2023 we will see all schools in Wales teaching the new curriculum.

Over the next academic year, the focus of our immediate efforts will continue: supporting schools with initial implementation of the curriculum, as well as capturing and learning from the lessons of the initial experiences of roll-out.

Establishing a cycle of review and refinement

In line with the Act’s requirements, we will begin to develop a cycle for ongoing review and refinement of the Curriculum for Wales framework. This will be a long-term approach, developed with and realised through the National Network. This will become a permanent feature of our approach to the curriculum: ensuring it evolves as designed in response to learners’ needs, schools’ and settings’ experiences of implementation and our curriculum evaluation. Review and refinement cycles will also need to run over the course of a number of years, drawing together a range of evidence and perspectives. These cycles of review will work in the same way we developed the curriculum: in co-construction with practitioners, working alongside experts and wider stakeholders.

Welsh Government priorities for next year

During the first year of implementation, we will focus our attention on the key foundational aspects of the Curriculum for Wales framework that are central to successful implementation. This means focusing our support and our analysis of what’s working on these key aspects. This will ensure schools and settings consolidate a solid platform in their first year of implementation, securing development, refinement and expansion of their curriculum in the years to come. These key, foundational aspects include:

  • ensuring and embedding equity for all learners
  • curriculum and assessment design and refinement across and within areas of learning and experience
  • progression
  • assessment, and in particular how this is communicated to parents and carers
  • cross-curricular skills
  • relationships and sexuality education
  • Welsh language

These will continue to be at the heart of our approach to the National Network, the resources and support we develop and the focus of our partnership with the middle tier, in order to ensure schools and settings are supported. Over time, we will expand our focus to encompass the wider elements of the curriculum, building on these foundational key aspects. 

We continue to closely monitor the funding and support requirements of schools and settings through our evaluation and monitoring approach, regular ongoing discussions with middle tier stakeholders and through the National Network for curriculum implementation.

The evaluation scoping report being published in July will be followed with a more detailed evaluation plan later this year. This work will examine in the short, medium and longer term the extent to which the vision and requirements set out in the national Curriculum for Wales framework are being realised through the actions of schools, settings and the wider education system. Findings will inform system learning as part of a continuous cycle and will include both planned and responsive activity.