Policy Forum for Wales

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Implementing the new school curriculum in Wales - qualifications, inspection, and support for teachers and learners

Morning, Thursday, 4th February 2021

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will be a timely opportunity to examine the key issues surrounding the implementation of the new school curriculum in Wales.

It follows the publication of the final curriculum in January this year, with initial introduction planned for 2022 - and the expected publication of an implementation plan for the curriculum by Welsh Government shortly.

The conference will also be an opportunity to examine the implications of curriculum reform for 14-16 qualifications, following the recently published report from Qualifications Wales on the guiding principles that should shape the future of the qualifications following their Qualified for the future consultation - and what should happen with GCSEs and the Skills Challenge Certificate.

Those attending will also consider the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on schools preparations for delivering the new curriculum.

It comes with Estyn now intending to contact schools in the autumn to see how blended learning is working in schools and the impact that the pandemic has had on pupil wellbeing and learning, rather than how schools are preparing for the introduction of the new curriculum.

We are pleased to include keynote contributions at this conference from Emyr George, Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales; and senior speaker confirmed from Estyn.

Key areas for discussion:

Implementation, curriculum content and support for teachers

  • what is needed to prepare and support experienced and newly-qualified teachers, with increased freedom in the ways they are able to teach:
    • in light of the closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • following concerns around clarifying what is expected of teachers and about supporting staff with the process of phased implementation
  • how can all teachers be best supported:
    • in the use of the resources and funding available to ensure effective implementation
    • on content, and the six proposed areas of learning and experience

Next steps for assessment

  • the introduction of new assessment arrangements alongside the curriculum, which aim to ensure effective learner progression, following:
    • publication of formal statutory guidance in January 2020
    • confirmation from the Welsh Government that annual national reading and numeracy tests for 7-14 year olds will remain in place
  • proposals to remove key stages and move toward a continued learning process with:
    • progression steps at certain ages
    • an emphasis on supporting each individual learner to make progress
  • prioritisation of formative assessment and a move away from the allocation of levels to greater flexibility for schools
  • what can be learnt from changes to assessment during the pandemic and how practice this year can support schools when assessing pupils under the new curriculum

Qualifications and the needs of students, further education and employers

  • examining the decisions Qualifications Wales have taken on the next steps for 14-16 qualifications in Wales following curriculum reform, including that:
    • to be eligible for public funding, qualifications should ideally support the new curriculum, be available in English and Welsh, and contribute to an inclusive offer
    • the GCSE name will be kept but changes may be made to content, assessment and subject range - taking into account issues such as confidence in the GCSEs, accessibility and curriculum
    • reform to the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will go ahead
    • the Skills Challenge Certificate will be consulted on once the full qualification offer is clear
  • the future shape of qualifications:
    • how they can reflect the flexibility of the new curriculum
    • the balance between traditional subjects and the curriculum’s new six areas of learning
  • the new grading system and what it should look like - and how to design qualifications that:
    • earn confidence in Wales and internationally
    • support progression to further study and employment, particularly meeting the needs of businesses of different sizes

The agenda:

  • Delivering the new curriculum in Wales - progress so far
  • Supporting teachers in implementing the curriculum - content, utilising increased teaching freedom and resources, and the impact of COVID-19 on preparation
  • Supporting learner progression - assessment measures under the new curriculum
  • Qualified for the future - with a keynote contribution from Emyr George, Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales
  • Designing and delivering 14-16 qualifications that meet the needs of students, colleges, universities and employers
  • Holding schools to account when teaching the new curriculum - with a keynote contribution from a senior speaker confirmed from Estyn
  • Implementing the new curriculum in Wales - key policy priorities

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of the Senedd Cymru and Welsh Parliament and senior officials from the Welsh Government, and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from awarding bodies, schools and teaching professionals, regional skills partnerships and employers, colleges, representatives of trade unions and local government, groups representing parents and students, specialist academics and charities, together with reporters from the national and trade media based in Wales and elsewhere.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Emyr George

Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales

Elaine Carlile

Director of Qualifications, Assessment and Responsible Officer, WJEC

Iestyn Davies

Chief Executive, Colleges Wales

Senior speaker confirmed from Estyn

Dr Beatriz Pont

Senior Policy Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Professor Charlotte Williams

Honorary Professor, School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University


Helen Jones

Headteacher, Maesteg School, Bridgend

Neil Butler

National Officer for Wales, NASWUT

Senior speaker confirmed from Early Years Wales