Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
I wish to update you on the progress of the Review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales. This review is one of my key activities in developing a Welsh education system that equips our young people with the right skills and attributes for the future Welsh economy. We know that we need to teach and assess our learners on how they can adapt their knowledge to the workplace, show initiative and drive and become valued employees who can compete in a global marketplace.
Last October, I launched phase one of the Review of curriculum and assessment arrangements, which focused on key principles relating to literacy, numeracy and wider skills. I asked a number of questions about proposals to embed literacy and numeracy in the curriculum. That consultation closed in January of this year, and I’m pleased to publish a summary of those consultation responses.
A clear message from the consultation is that the majority support our proposals for making literacy and numeracy the key priorities within the curriculum in Wales. In particular, there was support to revise the Foundation Phase Areas of Learning for Language, Literacy and Communication Skills and Mathematical Development. There was also support to revise the programmes of study for English, Welsh (first language) and mathematics in Key Stages 2 to 4 so that they would complement the approach taken in the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF). We have developed proposed revisions to those Areas of Learning and programmes of study and will be consulting on these until 13 June.
Another clear message is to extend the LNF, on a non-statutory basis, to include emergent literacy and numeracy in the Foundation Phase for three to four-year-olds and to ensure progression towards new GCSEs and the Welsh Baccalaureate at Key Stage 4.
There were other proposals within the phase one consultation. These include proposals for assessment and the introduction of wider skills as statutory elements of curriculum arrangements in Wales, the latter of which has received overwhelming support from stakeholders to date. These will form part of the remit for Professor Donaldson’s independent review of assessment and the national curriculum, which I announced two weeks ago.
These represent significant milestones along the journey to reform curriculum and assessment in Wales. The consultation on proposed Areas of Learning and programmes of study for Welsh education will listen closely to, and act on, feedback from practitioners, and help us to set in stone the emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
At the end of this journey, with the help of the education sector and expert leadership from people such as Professor Donaldson, I’m confident that we will see a curriculum that provides our children and young people with opportunities for learning that will support them in being able to think, do, prosper, and adapt.