This week, Dr Nigel Newton presented findings from our ‘Successful Futures for All’ project to members of the Children, Young People and Education Committee of the National Assembly for Wales.
The project explores the way the new curriculum is being developed in Pioneer Schools and the potential impact on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Curriculum for Wales offers exciting and radical changes for education in Wales. However, we know that schools serving disadvantaged communities may face additional challenges in implementing change on the scale of the proposed reforms. It is important that careful consideration is given to how teachers in Pioneer Schools are working to ensure its benefits and opportunities are made available to all.
A second aim of the project was to build education research capacity in Wales. The 18-month project has involved researchers from six universities across Wales: Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Each research team looked at a different aspect of the reforms.
Overall, the study found that the majority of teachers in Pioneer Schools are excited about the new curriculum. However, while making the curriculum more experiential and progression-based seems self-evidently worthwhile, it is clear from our research that there may be disparities in engagement and investment that will need to be addressed. Greater attention should be given to the needs of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who at present, do not appear to feature significantly in the curriculum development.
Along with our research partners, we hope to be involved in further studies to explore what is happening within classrooms and how pupils' learning is changing as a result of the curriculum reforms.
Read the final report.
Watch the committee meeting on Senedd.TV: