The recommendations of Professor Graham Donaldson’s independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales, ‘Successful Futures’, makes health and wellbeing a priority area and points the way towards new possibilities for schools and their pupils. Reports show that current methods of evaluation and assessment are unsatisfactory, and there are also growing concerns around the level of personal, social and health education (PSHE).
The curriculum needs to engage all children so that disadvantage in various forms is less likely to negatively affect educational success and wellbeing. The structure needs to adapt to holistic, cross-curricular learning so as to not continually produce repetitive content. Changes in the approach to progression should move away from division of key stages, instead allowing an ongoing development and deepening of knowledge and skills throughout education.
Researchers visited around 60 schools, as well as meeting with students, parents/carers, teachers, and other education professionals. The responses from these groups reflected the desire for more up to date technological skills and social skills for practical use to be delivered to pupils for use in later life. A modern curriculum should encourage depth of learning as well as coherent application of skills across a breadth of learning areas, however it has become too restrictive with no room for teachers’ creativity. In terms of approach to learning, children would like more interactive and practical activities, with more out-of-classroom lessons. Education needs to put learners at the centre, encouraging them to be aspirational, creative, ethically informed, confident, and healthy. To successfully deliver this, teachers need to have a sound understanding of the knowledge and purposes a new curriculum would look to develop, as well as the ability to use blended methods to encourage all children to succeed.
“This report is filled with common sense recommendations and it is easy to see why most of them have been adopted by the Department for Education and Skills in Wales.
In the rest of the UK, we need to re-calibrate the purpose of our educational systems in a similar way so that children are better prepared for life beyond school in a world that is evolving far quicker than our traditional public services can adapt to.”
– John Bishop, Managing Director
To read the full report, click here.