NUT calls for delay to Wales school curriculum overhaul

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School computersImage source, Thinkstock
Image caption,
The new curriculum puts more emphasis on digital skills

An overhaul of the school curriculum in Wales should be delayed because teachers are not prepared for it, a union has said.

Owen Hathway, from the NUT, said it had asked the Welsh Government to delay implementing the changes which require teachers to learn new skills.

The Welsh Government said all the reforms it was working on were connected and that must be recognised.

The NUT's annual conference is taking place in Cardiff until Tuesday.

It is intended for the new curriculum to be fully up and running by 2021.

But a committee of AMs said in February there were difficulties putting the new curriculum, proposed by Prof Graham Donaldson, into practice.

According to the National Education Workforce Survey published last week, 38.6% of school teachers and 71% of supply teachers who responded were either not at all familiar or not very familiar with Prof Donaldson's report and recommendations.

Media caption,

David Evans, NUT Cymru Secretary, said members' concerns should be listened to

Mr Hathway, the NUT's Wales policy officer, said: "Clearly a significant proportion of teachers are unaware of the recommendations. Feedback we've had does echo that survey.

"The teaching profession itself is very much on board with what Prof Donaldson put forward, but I think there's a sense we are moving there too quickly.

"What it's asking teachers to do is change their mindset from being micro-managed to a situation where they're being told to be innovative, creative and flexible.

"It's a good thing, but it's a different skill set and they haven't necessarily equipped the teaching profession to deliver the curriculum as it's going to be.

"We don't want to rush into it, schools and teachers are unprepared for it.

"Getting it right is better than doing it right now."

Image source, NUT
Image caption,
Owen Hathway said "getting it right is better than doing it right now"

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "The education workforce is playing a central role in designing the future of the curriculum and education system as well as, for example, contributing to the new Professional Teaching Standards.

"It is important to recognise that all the reforms that we are currently working on are connected."

Mr Hathway added the divergence of education between England and Wales was on the agenda for the annual conference, reflecting the fact a new curriculum is being brought in.

"It's becoming a situation where you can no longer compare the two education systems," he said.

"The challenge is how we support our members against that backdrop."