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The Curriculum for Wales Framework was published in January 2020 for schools and settings in Wales to use.

First published:
1 December 2017
Last updated:

What's changing

The Curriculum for Wales framework guidance was first published in January 2020. It aims to help each school develop its own curriculum, enabling their learners to develop towards the four purposes of the curriculum  the starting point and aspiration for every child and young person in Wales. It is also relevant for funded non-maintained nursery settings, pupil referral units (PRUs) and those responsible for the provision of education other than at school (EOTAS) in other settings, enabling them to develop an understanding of the Curriculum for Wales Framework.

Schools and settings are encouraged to draw directly from the guidance online, rather than work from printed hard copies, to ensure they use the most up to date guidance available.

To provide confidence that school and settings’ plans are aligned with Curriculum for Wales requirements, or that what is currently there won’t suddenly change, we have developed an approach for guidance updates aligned to school curriculum planning cycles.

Updates to the Curriculum for Wales guidance on Hwb now take place annually each January. The guidance will only be updated at that point each year.

The guidance updates on Hwb on 31 January 2023 are, in most instances, additions or amendments to existing sections of the Curriculum for Wales guidance, including:

  • a revised journey to curriculum roll-out section to reflect the fact that the curriculum is now being implemented
  • corrections to issues with definitions and hyperlinks
  • more clarity through minor amends to narrative following feedback
  • clarification in the Humanities Area regarding the history of Wales and the world
  • updates to ensure correct terminology.

These updates to the guidance are being made now to support schools and settings plan for provision from September 2023.

Changes to the Humanities Area regarding the history of Wales and the world remain subject to completion of Senedd procedures regarding a revised statements of what matters Code. This is due to complete later in March 2023.

The Curriculum for Wales guidance sets out:

  • the proposed curriculum requirements set out in legislation for all learners aged 3 to 16, to ensure all schools draw from the same required learning and to secure a consistency of approach for learners across Wales
  • guidelines for schools and settings regarding the ongoing development of their curricula
  • expectations around assessment arrangements to support learner progression.

The purpose of every school and setting’s curriculum is to support our children and young people to be:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

Why it's changing

Improving education is our national mission. Nothing is so essential as universal access to, and acquisition of, the experiences, knowledge and skills and that our young people need for employment, lifelong learning and active citizenship.

The Curriculum for Wales guidance is a clear statement of what is important in a broad and balanced education. The four purposes are the shared vision and aspiration for every child and young person. In fulfilling these, we set high expectations for all, promote individual and national well-being, tackle ignorance and misinformation, and encourage critical and civic engagement.

A school’s curriculum is everything a learner experiences in pursuit of the four purposes. It is not simply what we teach, but how we teach and crucially, why we teach it.

Curriculum development is now at the heart of practitioner, school and national efforts to raise standards for all, tackle the attainment gap, and ensure an education system that is a source of national pride and enjoys public confidence.

The Curriculum for Wales framework is designed to:

  • help practitioners to continue to develop a more integrated approach to learning
  • support schools and settings in the ongoing development of their own curriculum and assessment arrangements
  • ensure assessment and learners’ progression remain intrinsic to a setting or school’s curriculum.

When did it change

All primary schools and funded non-maintained nursery settings in Wales have been required to implement their curriculum from September 2022 for learners up to Year 6. Secondary settings had the option to engage with Curriculum for Wales requirements a year early in September 2022 in respect of their Year 7 learners. Around half of secondary schools decided to do this, Curriculum for Wales will be mandatory for all Year 7 and 8 learners from September 2023. Secondary schools are then required to roll out their new curricula arrangements on a year-by-year basis through to Year 11 in September 2026.

As the curriculum is rolled out, schools should consider how their curriculum should be revised in response to the learning needs of their children and young people.

How it was developed

The Curriculum for Wales guidance was developed by practitioners through a network of schools. These schools were drawn from across Wales, including settings that were rural and urban; bilingual, English-medium and Welsh-medium; primary, secondary, special schools, schools with a religious character and a range of school sizes.

This network worked in partnership to develop the guidance in partnership with Welsh Government, regional consortia, Estyn, Qualifications Wales and a range of key stakeholders and experts who provided specialist inputs.

Practitioners have access to specific Professional Learning opportunities to help them realise the Curriculum for Wales.

The regional consortia and their networks of Professional Learning and Enquiry Schools provide practical support and expertise for all schools to develop the pedagogical and leadership skills crucial to successful realisation of the new curriculum.

The radical new approach to the design and ongoing development of the curriculum and the way in which it is taught is wholly consistent with the philosophy of trusting and empowering professionals.

Curriculum for Wales news

Get involved in the conversation and keep up to date with ongoing curriculum developments through our Curriculum for Wales blog.

You can also keep updated by listening to the Education Wales podcast.