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Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

First published:
9 January 2017
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

My priority as Cabinet Secretary for Education is to raise the aspirations in Wales for all children and young people, broadening horizons and developing ambition so that all can achieve. Our education system must be about providing children and young people with the skills, knowledge and attributes they need for the modern world, to enable them to compete and succeed for their own benefit and for the benefit of Wales. This ambition is reflected in the four purposes which will be at the heart of the new curriculum and assessment framework to ensure that children and young people develop as:

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

Work is well underway to develop the new curriculum for Wales which will be used to support learning and teaching in schools and settings from September 2021. I am clear that the education workforce needs to be at the heart of this design process and, therefore, I am delighted to announce an additional 25 schools have been awarded ‘Pioneer School’ status.  

They will join the existing Pioneer Schools focusing on curriculum design and development as well as the wider Pioneer Network which includes schools leading on professional learning and Digital Competence. The Pioneer Schools Network works in an all-Wales partnership with Welsh Government, regional consortia, Estyn, higher education, further education, employers and other experts to take forward these reforms.    

So far, the Pioneer Schools focussing on curriculum design have been developing the strategic and structural elements of the new framework. We are about to move into the second phase of the development process with work beginning this month on the high level design of the six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) of the new curriculum:


  • Expressive arts
  •  Health and well-being
  •  Humanities
  •  Languages, literacy and communication
  •  Mathematics and numeracy
  •  Science and technology

The appointment of these additional Pioneers will mean that we have the appropriate representation of sectors across the Pioneer Schools Network to ensure that the AoLEs developed are appropriate for all schools and settings in Wales.