THE BIGGEST shake-up of Wales’ curriculum since the 1980s took another step forward on Monday (Jan 28) as the Welsh Government launched a consultation on transformative new legislation.
Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, unveiled a White Paper that lays the legal foundations of a curriculum that is currently being designed by Wales’ teachers.
Breaking down traditional subject boundaries and empowering teachers to be more innovative, we will be introducing Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) that cover the Humanities; Health and Wellbeing; Science and Technology; Languages, Literacy and Communications; Expressive Arts; and Maths.
English and Welsh will remain statutory, as will Religious Studies and Relationships and Sexuality Education. Alongside this, the Cross-Curriculum Responsibilities of literacy, numeracy and digital competence will be statutory up to 16 years old.
Key stages will be removed. Instead, there will be Progression Steps relating to expectations for learners ages 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16. These will allow teachers to understand each learner’s development – taking into account their individual abilities, experiences and rates of learning and understanding.
The changes will ensure that schools can move away from the days of a narrow curriculum and instead give teachers the flexibility to be creative in their teaching. By using this approach practitioners will be able to use their professionalism and expert knowledge to create and design lessons that stretch learners’ abilities and horizons.
Kirsty Williams commented: “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.
“This is an exciting time for education in Wales. 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.
“I am asking people across Wales to contribute to this debate over the coming weeks and months. The White Paper is ambitious and far-reaching. But we will only reach those high standards through a genuine national mission and conversation.”
David Evans, NEU Cymru’s Wales’ Secretary welcomed the consultation on the new Curriculum.
“We’re pleased the Welsh Government are consulting on the new Curriculum and Assessment arrangements. We have always been supportive of the new Curriculum in principle.
“It’s four years since Professor Donaldson created ‘Successful Futures’, with a vision of the new Curriculum for Wales. For our members not in a Pioneer school (who have been working on the curriculum), this consultation provides the first real look at the new Curriculum.
“We know that now is a critical point for the education sector in Wales. Schools are already having to be very creative with budgets as austerity is hitting the education sector hard. We know that cuts have been passed down from Westminster, but the Welsh Government needs to be careful with its expectations on the education workforce at a time when funding and staff wellbeing are at such critical levels.
“We are disappointed this is only an 8-week consultation – as that is a very short time for the education profession to have a thorough look at what is proposed. With that in mind, we will, of course, be highlighting the need to keep workload under review for education professionals as the new Curriculum is brought in.”
National Library of Wales stand will be hive of activity on Eisteddfod Maes
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY in Aberystwyth is promising a hive of activity at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Tregaron from July 30 to August 6.
The library’s stand will include a unique exhibition and cinema where visitors can relax and enjoy viewing treasures from its vast moving images collection.
An exciting and diverse programme of events for families and adults will be held on our stand during the week, including gigs with artists such as Parisa Fouladi, Owen Shiers, Mari Mathias, Ynys, Izzy & Eädyth and Plu.
Other sessions will focus on health and wellbeing, including Clocsffit with Tudur Phillips and a circus workshop.
An event will be held in partnership with the charity Meddwl and singer Miriam Isaac to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing.
Literary sessions with partners include a special event on Monday, August 1 with chief poet Gwenallt Llwyd Ifan, who is originally from Tregaron. He will present a sequence of poems, recently commissioned by the library in partnership with Barddas, which are based on and inspired by the current exhibition A Oes Heddwch?
The library will also have a presence in other areas of the Maes with diverse and fascinating presentations in the societies stands, Y Lle Celf and Tŷ Gwerin.
The library’s shop will launch a series of specially commissioned products by the artists Valeriane Leblond and Ruth Jên, together with unique items based on national collections, including some relating to the Tregaron area.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said: “We very much look forward to seeing people from far and wide visiting us on the Maes and in the library building as we welcome one of Europe’s biggest cultural festivals here to Ceredigion.
“After a long wait, we look forward to a special and memorable occasion and we have prepared a varied and exciting programme of events, celebrating our language and culture for families, on our stand and in other areas of the Maes in Tregaron.”
Pedr ap Llwyd, the National Library of Wales’ chief executive and librarian.
Harnessing the power of theatre to explore the impact of translation on court proceedings
AN INNOVATIVE fusion of theatre and law has been adopted as a research tool in a project by Aberystwyth University academics exploring the influence of simultaneous translation on court proceedings.
The pioneering approach has been adopted by Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Law and Criminology, who is interested in the engagement between theatre and law.
Dr Huws is the lead researcher on a study which is considering the effect, significance and influence of simultaneous translation in court cases, particularly the challenges and benefits to interpretation services in instances when court proceedings are held remotely.
As part of the study, a moot court was held at the University on Monday 20 June 2022.
The simulation involved the cross-examination of the claimant (an actor) by a barrister through an interpreter, following a script of a real-life court hearing.
For the purposes of the moot court, the barrister, the claimant and the interpreter were all in different locations, in order to emulate a remote court case. A mock jury was formed of members of the public.
The event used an interactive theatre technique known as Forum Theatre, which uses theatre as a tool for challenging and changing preconceptions. Audience interaction is encouraged and different options for dealing with a problem or issue are explored through participation.
Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws explains: “In a court case, effective multilingual communication is wholly reliant on the role of the translator. And yet the importance of interpretation is not adequately understood.
“In our moot court the mock jury listened to an intense cross-examination of a claimant by a barrister, both with and without simultaneous translation. Their reactions, opinions and feelings were then analysed, facilitated by a director. This allows us to ascertain the jury’s response and understanding of a claimant with an interpreter, and a claimant without an interpreter, therefore establishing the effect and impact of the interpreter.”
Other Aberystwyth academics involved in the study are Dr Rhianedd Jewell, a Senior Lecturer in Professional Welsh with expertise in translation studies and professional translation, and Psychology lecturer Dr Hanna Binks who specialises in language acquisition and the psychology of bilingualism. Non Humphries, a PhD student within the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies is also part of the investigation team.
The research work has been funded by Aberystwyth University’s allocation of the Research Wales Innovation Fund from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.
Dr Rhianedd Jewell said: “This research is allowing us to explore how current practices might be changed for the better. Although the focus of this research is on Welsh-English bilingualism in court proceedings, many of the findings will also be relevant in other contexts in which court hearings are multilingual, including British Sign Language.”
The outcome of the research will be the subject of an online conference to be held on 21 July 2022.
The conference will be of interest not only to academics from the fields of Psychology, Translation Studies and Linguistics, Law, Criminology and Politics, but also to people working in the fields of justice and criminal justice, law practitioners, the police and translation services.
Free School Meals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022
CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will be offering Free School Meals from the Autumn term onwards to all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children.
This comes following Welsh Government’s announcement to offer Free School Meals for primary school pupils across Wales, starting with Reception classes from September 2022.
In response to the current rising cost-of-living, this is a positive step forward in ensuring that no child goes hungry while in school and tackling poverty in our County.
From Monday 5 September 2022 onwards, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Children in Ceredigion schools will be offered Free School Meals, extending the offer beyond what needs to be done by September.
Ceredigion County Council and Welsh Government are committed to implementing this scheme quickly and would ask for your patience as we build catering capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation and work towards a whole school roll-out over the next three years.
The Council are working with Welsh Government to develop a process for you to be able to request a free meal for your child/children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022, trying to avoid any unnecessary burden for you.
If your child is currently in receipt of free school meals and/or any other associated benefits, these will not be affected.
Wyn Thomas, Cabinet Member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “The Government’s aim is for Welsh Local Authorities to provide a free school meal for Reception pupils in September 2022. The Council has taken advantage of the flexibility of the scheme and so more pupils in Ceredigion will benefit from the offer of a free meal for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in September 2022 in the County’s schools.”
Further information will follow by the end of term.
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