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Jeremy Miles MS, Minster for Education and Welsh Language

First published:
28 February 2024
Last updated:

I am today launching a consultation on draft statutory guidance on 14 to 16 Learning in the Curriculum for Wales

From September 2024, the Curriculum for Wales will be taught in all primary schools and years 7, 8 and 9, with the next stages of roll out into years 10 and 11 from September 2025 and 2026 respectively. We know how important years 10 and 11 are in learners’ education, and how their choices and achievements influence their future pathways. The guidance therefore sets out Welsh Government’s policy for learning and teaching in years 10 and 11, alongside the legal requirements for schools, and will form part of the Curriculum for Wales framework guidance. Schools already provide much of this, and the guidance sets out clear national expectations to help provide equity and consistency in the curriculum experienced by learners across Wales, with all schools valuing the same things that contribute to a learner’s progression and successful onward transition.  

The guidance introduces the 14 to 16 Learner Entitlement: the learning that all learners in year 10 and 11 will benefit from under the Curriculum for Wales. This builds on reformed National 14 to 16 Qualifications by Qualifications Wales; the wider learning and experiences required by the Curriculum for Wales; and emphasises the importance of dedicated time for reflection and post-16 planning to support learners to make informed and considered choices as they undertake their next steps and post-16 transitions.   

I recognise that for our young people, learning at 14 to 16 is the first stage in their longer 14 to 19 pathway to adulthood, further and higher education, and employment. The guidance addresses some of the findings and recommendations of Hefin David’s ‘Transitions to Employment’ report and the Review of Vocational Qualifications.  My officials have engaged widely with schools, colleges and employers over recent months.

To further support schools as they plan for September 2025 and the first teaching of year 10 learners under the new curriculum, we plan to provide supporting materials alongside the finalisation of the guidance. We will also lead the development of professional learning for practitioners to complement the schedule that has been developed by WJEC for Made-for-Wales GCSEs. This includes an unprecedented pan-Wales plan, which will see clusters of schools close for INSET delivered by WJEC on a designated day between February and April 2025.

In addition to providing a structure for curriculum design in years 10 and 11, the Learner Entitlement should also act as a framework for schools to use to self-evaluate and reflect upon the learning, progress and achievements of their learners in these years, and to plan for further improvements. Similarly, at a national level, by articulating what we value in 14 to 16 learning, it will inform our proposals on what should be included in the new school information ecosystem. This includes the information requirements that will replace the interim (capped 9) performance measures. Finally, it will help shape the expectations against which Estyn inspect secondary schools from September 2025.