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Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language

First published:
22 September 2021
Last updated:

Over the last year, we have channeled all our efforts into supporting our children. This is why we have put in place a framework to support schools to remain safe, open, and to keep children learning.

The response of the education system during the pandemic has been remarkable, with everyone pulling together in the right direction. In schools across the land you see in action a whole-school approach to mental health and well-being, innovation in engaging learners, and greater emphasis on parental engagement which is a key contributor to improving learning.

To continue supporting our children and young people in the present, we owe it to them to continue for planning for their future, especially in these most difficult of circumstances. Preparation for curriculum reform has put Wales in a stronger position to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, recognising that now more than ever, the central importance of the four purposes to what our learners need. We must continue this focus on renew and reform.

Today, we are publishing The Journey to Curriculum Rollout to provide schools with clear and focused support with curriculum implementation. We have worked with schools and partners, including Estyn and the regional consortia, to set out clear common expectations, priorities and approaches to help schools prepare for rollout.

The document builds on the learning from COVID-19, schools’ preparation for curriculum rollout and their experiences to date. It includes:

  • priorities for curriculum design for both the response to COVID-19 and preparation for reform
  • shared expectations for the steps schools should take to prepare for rollout of the curriculum, including the importance of collaboration within and across settings
  • a summary of the legal requirements around curriculum rollout
  • a summary of the national, practical help schools can expect to support their preparation for reform
  • how providers with year 7 learners can confirm their intention to begin teaching under the Curriculum for Wales in September 2022, if they feel ready to do so
  • guidance on using funding allocated to schools to support learning for both Renew and Reform.

To further support schools, I am pleased to be announcing the launch of the new National Network. This will be led by teaching practitioners, and open to all schools and settings. It will bring together teachers from across schools, curriculum experts and a range of stakeholders to work together to make the most of the opportunities of reform. 

Fantastic work is already being done in schools across Wales, as practitioners collaborate to design, develop and trial innovative new approaches to teaching and learning, supported by consortia and school improvement services. The National Network will build on this work, as we move towards implementation and beyond.

The Government Social Research service has today published its interim report on the survey of schools’ preparations for the new curriculum. It shows a strong level of commitment to and knowledge of curriculum reform. However, the results also tell us that there are areas where schools and settings need further support, space and time to make the best of Curriculum for Wales.

This reflects my discussions with schools since becoming Minister – practitioners are excited about the potential of the new curriculum and have been preparing diligently, but they need support to get it right. I will continue to listen and ensure the right level of support is provided.

I am also publishing Renew and Reform: September 2021 update highlighting the additional funding that we have allocated since June in response to the pandemic and our intentions for the coming academic year. This includes support for Welsh language immersion, additional funding for placements for newly qualified teachers, and funding for learning recovery and the delivery of qualifications. I can confirm that the total allocation for the Renew and Reform programme is now over £160 million for the 2021-22 financial year – more spend per learner than anywhere in the UK.  

The Journey to Curriculum Rollout can be found here. Schools and practitioners can find out more information about the National Network and sign up for events here.

The Renew and Reform: September 2021 update can be found here.

The Government Social Research report from the survey on preparations for curriculum reform can be found here.