Welsh education: 'Ambitious' new curriculum unveiled

A teacher talks to pupils in a science lab Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The changes will see the biggest shake-up of the school curriculum in decades, the Welsh Government said

One of the biggest shake-ups of the school curriculum in decades will move a step closer on Monday.

A consultation begins as Education Minister Kirsty Williams unveils a white paper setting out her vision for the future of education in Wales.

The delayed proposals have already been criticised by education bosses as "poorly defined" and "weak".

But Ms Williams said they were "ambitious and far-reaching".

Her plan is based on an independent review conducted by Prof Graham Donaldson in 2015 which recommended a new curriculum focusing on literacy, numeracy and digital skills.

The Welsh Government said it was being designed by teachers, would be based on six broad areas of learning and Welsh would no longer be considered a second language in English-medium schools, with more opportunities to use the language.

Image caption Prof Graham Donaldson's independent review suggested reforms in the classroom

Ms Williams said: "Wales started on this journey of reform because of a drive to improve standards - we want our young people to develop higher standards of literacy and numeracy, become more digitally and bilingually competent, and grow to be enterprising, creative and critical thinkers.

"I am absolutely clear that to raise standards and extend opportunities, we need to empower schools and teachers by moving away from a narrow, inflexible and crowded curriculum."

As part of the plans, English and Welsh will remain statutory, as will religious studies and relationships and sexuality education.

In addition, literacy, numeracy and digital competence will be statutory up to the age of 16.

Image caption Education secretary Kirsty Williams will unveil a White Paper today setting out changes to the curriculum

Key stages will be removed and replaced with "progression steps" relating to expectations for learners ages five, eight, 11, 14 and 16.

"This is an exciting time for education in Wales," Ms Williams added.

"Not only are we developing a curriculum that ensures our learners are equipped to meet the needs of the future, but we are developing a curriculum through genuine collaboration with our schools and key stakeholders."

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