Welsh Educators 'Hell-Bent' on Putting Right Scotland's Errors; What Lessons Can Wales Learn from Scotland as We Forge Ahead with Plans for a New Curriculum? GARETH EVANS Considers the Ongoing Debate around Reform of How and What Our Children Are Taught

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 26, 2018 | Go to article overview

Welsh Educators 'Hell-Bent' on Putting Right Scotland's Errors; What Lessons Can Wales Learn from Scotland as We Forge Ahead with Plans for a New Curriculum? GARETH EVANS Considers the Ongoing Debate around Reform of How and What Our Children Are Taught


Byline: GARETH EVANS

CURRICULUM reform has dominated debate among educators in Wales for the past three years. And with good reason, given the major implications for each and every state school across the country.

It is therefore no great surprise that the overhaul of what and how children learn in Welsh classrooms has taken some serious brainstorming.

While the teaching profession has, to my mind, been energised by Professor Graham Donaldson's seminal Successful Futures (the weighty document on which Wales' curriculum reform has been built), there is still lots to be done.

Three years after publication, there is not yet a great deal to show publicly for many months' hard graft and industry.

The blueprint has been stripped back to "what matters" and the importance of laying the foundations for our new curriculum has not been underestimated.

We cannot build on sand what future generations will build their entire lives upon.

Of course, this could have all been done so much quicker.

An off-the-shelf curriculum tailored to Welsh needs (and pieced together by a civil service in a government back office) was the realistic alternative.

Instead, the profession has been front and centre throughout.

The Welsh Government's "pioneer" model has reapportioned power and its collaborative approach is to be commended.

Experience states that policy is far more likely to fly if it has buy-in from those responsible for implementation on the ground.

But nothing is ever easy in education and Scotland remains an unfortunate fly in the ointment.

The die for curriculum reform has already been cast and Wales' framework is modelled largely on that employed by our Celtic colleagues.

Only Scotland's fledgling Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) has made something of an inauspicious start and, to quote a native academic, it's "been the centre of widespread disquiet".

CfE has been plagued by claims of unnecessary bureaucracy, increased teacher workload and confusion about its aims.

Scotland's very noticeable decline across all Pisa measures has added fuel to an already raging fire.

But fear not, Welsh custodians are not blinded to the challenges faced north of the border and are hell-bent on putting right what has gone wrong elsewhere.

It is true that by using CfE as a model, we can seek to iron out the mistakes of our predecessors as much as we can look to replicate and build on their successes.

I was given an insight into the realities of curriculum design and implementation during a recent study visit to Scotland. …

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Welsh Educators 'Hell-Bent' on Putting Right Scotland's Errors; What Lessons Can Wales Learn from Scotland as We Forge Ahead with Plans for a New Curriculum? GARETH EVANS Considers the Ongoing Debate around Reform of How and What Our Children Are Taught
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