Reply to my letter to Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Wales.


29 October 2018


Dear Ginny Battson

Thank you for your email of 10 October to the Cabinet Secretary for Education in relation to the ecoliteracy within the curriculum. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary.

The Welsh Government is committed to supporting our young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need to become active, ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world; which includes in the current curriculum engaging with topics delivered through Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC). Through ESDCG learners explore the links between society, economy and environment and our own lives and those of people throughout the world. It considers the needs and rights of both present and future generations, the relationships between power, resources and human rights, the local and global implications of everything we do and the actions that individuals and organisations can take in response to local and global issues.

ESDGC in Welsh schools is delivered through a cross curriculum approach and can be embedded in a wide range of subjects, such as Science, Geography and Personal and Social Education (PSE). This gives schools the freedom to deliver ESDGC using methods and resources that best meets the needs and interests of their learners. For example, schools may choose to make pupils responsible for attending the school vegetable garden, composting and recycling. This encourages pupils to take responsibility for their actions within the school environment and consider the sustainability of local and global food supplies and the methods used in food production.

In their most recent review on progress of ESDGC in schools, 2014, Estyn found that the majority of the schools visited had effective plans for developing and delivering ESDGC. Almost all schools taught aspects of ESDGC effectively through a variety of subjects.

We are currently developing a new curriculum in Wales, taking forward the recommendations of Successful Futures, an independent, fundamental, review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements by Professor Graham Donaldson. This proposes a broad and balanced curriculum from 3 – 16, delivered through six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE):

• Expressive Arts;
• Health and well-being;
• Humanities;
• Languages, literacy and communication;
• Mathematics and numeracy; and
• Science and technology.

The development of the new curriculum is being taken forward by teachers and practitioners
through a network of Pioneer Schools in partnership with Welsh Government, regional consortia, Estyn, Qualifications Wales, Higher Education, business and other key partners
and international experts.

One of the four key purposes at the heart of the new curriculum is to support children and young people to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world. This should be evident throughout each of the AoLEs.

Successful Futures has challenged us to re-think our approach to the curriculum; it makes it clear that a high degree of prescription and detail at a national level inhibits “the flow and progression in children and young people’s learning and progression”. As such, we need to ensure that the new curriculum does not provide a comprehensive list of detailed content which would quickly become complicated and overcrowded. The curriculum must also allow professionals the flexibility to choose the specific content which meets the needs of their learners in their specific context. Likewise, this flexibility should allow professionals the autonomy to consider issues such as ecoliteracy to meet the needs of their learners.

Throughout the process we are testing with practitioners to ensure the right balance between flexibility at school level and clarity at national level. The draft curriculum will be available for wider engagement in April 2019. The final publication in January 2020 will include exemplars to support teachers. The new curriculum will then be phased in from September 2022, starting with nursery through to Year 7 and will roll out
year-on-year until 2026.

Further information about the development of the new curriculum can also be found on the Welsh Government website and via the Curriculum for Wales blog.

Yours sincerely

Anisa Khan
Curriculum Division

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