Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a joint report by the Council’s Principal Education Manager and GwE officers (copy enclosed) which provides an overview of the implementation of the Curriculum in Wales and how GwE and the local authority are supporting its development in Denbighshire’s schools.

10:05am – 10:45am


The Lead Member for Education, Children and Families introduced the report (previously circulated) that reviewed the progress of the implementation of the new Curriculum for Wales. The report was produced in partnership with GwE who would be supporting schools with the implementation of the new curriculum.


The Committee were advised that it was a very different type of curriculum than previously followed, more skills based and less prescriptive. Schools were encouraged to shape the curriculum around their learners. The curriculum would be statutory in all Welsh primary schools from September 2022 and secondary schools from September 2023.


The Head of Education explained that whilst the new curriculum was not prescriptive it gave a clear structure to ensure that Denbighshire’s 16,500 students became ambitious, capable, enterprising, creative, healthy, confident and ethically informed.


A statutory requirement to include Relationships and Sexuality Ethics (RSE) was a requirement in the Curriculum for Wales commencing September 2022, mandatory for learners age 3 to 16 years. Similarly, Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE) would be a statutory requirement but its syllabus determined locally. In Denbighshire the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) had recommended to adopt the RVE guidance produced by Welsh Government as the Denbighshire Agreed Syllabus.


The Committee were advised that the curriculum would follow a thematic approach that focussed on skills rather than content and whilst a subject may still be taught on its own e.g. mathematics, it may also be incorporated in another topic area e.g. humanities.


Consultation was ongoing for G.C.S.E. and A level qualifications examination style and their equivalent - pending implementation of the secondary school curriculum - but there was still an expectation that there would be numeracy, literacy and scientific qualifications etc.


Historically reports on education results, key stage assessments and national result comparisons had been presented regularly at Performance Scrutiny Committee. The change of focus to local adaptations of the syllabus and less on result outcomes meant that the method of reviewing performance would need to change. Whilst standardised testing would still be available the previous benchmarks they were measured against would not. Work was ongoing to agree a meaningful format to present to future scrutiny committees.


Responding to the Committee’s questions Denbighshire and GwE officers advised:


·         The negative impact on the learner’s mental health when faced with the pressure of multiple examinations over a relatively short period was recognised. It was anticipated that through consultation with Welsh Government and the exam boards continuous assessments and other avenues could be explored to relieve those pressures.

·         There had been additional grant funding for schools to prepare and deliver the new curriculum.

·         The new Religion, Value and Ethics subject differed from previous teaching as it dealt with belief systems rather than religions per se.

·         Whilst schools were encouraged to adapt the curriculum locally there was a core set of 27 skills that had to be covered by the adopted curriculum. The skills and knowledge demonstrated by learners would still be assessed, it was the ‘journey progression’ that was changing and

·         GwE had excellent partnership working relations with Professor Graham Donaldson, architect of the new curriculum and school cluster groups (local and national) to share best practices.


The Head of Education re-iterated that it was the start of the journey with respect to reviewing the success of the Curriculum for Wales. Realistically it would need 12 months to assess how the implementation of the curriculum faired, lessons learned and what success looked like.


Following the in-depth discussion, the Committee:


Resolved:  subject to the above observations to –


(i)   receive the information presented on the progress made to date with regards to the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales in Denbighshire schools; and

(ii) request that a further report be presented in 12 months’ time detailing the effectiveness of the Curriculum’s implementation in the county’s primary schools, including the lessons learnt during the implementation stage, and outlining the measures taken to prepare for the Curriculum’s delivery across the County’s secondary sector from September 2023.


Supporting documents: