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Pioneering the new Curriculum

We were invited to join the pioneer schools by the Welsh Government in April 2016, joining the strategic design working group on Wider Skills, Welsh dimension and an international perspective.

"As a pioneer school for the Curriculum for Wales, teachers plan and trial new activities and learning experiences confidently.  Thematic projects, such as the work on Patagonia in Years 5 and 6, and ‘Fi, Fy Mro, Fy Myd’ in Year 7, integrate experiences that develop different skills well."  ESTYN 2019

The school council and all secondary departments were committed to the research into these aspects of Strand 1 on our journey to realizing the recommendations within the "Successful Futures" report. There has been much research into the wider skills, especially creativity, as well as careers education and entrepreneurship programmes available globally. We also explored the most vivid and authentic way of communicating the Welsh dimension and the international perspective to learners.

In Strand 2, we worked in partnership with Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg in Expressive Arts Area of Learning and Experience, and in November, 2017 we joined the Science and Technology Area of Learning and Experience. We were able to experiment with the new curriculum as it developed, providing feedback to Government and training our teachers at the same time. We researched the world's leading curricula, and gained input from leaders in educational fields, cascading the necessary information back to the school. The curriculum design process has been challenging, exciting and a privilege to be part of.

We continue to be involved in the process as a member of the Assessment Advisory Group which commenced in June, 2020. Helen Baker is also the Welsh Medium Regional Area of Learning and Experience Lead for Science and Technology of the Central South Consortium and is responsible for constructing and facilitating professional learning opportunities in line with national reform and National Approach to Professional Learning. The role involves facilitating professional learning networks or online resources in support of national, regional and local priorities, and supporting the Central South Consortium to respond to emerging professional learning priorities and contributing to the development of future strategies.

Catrin Bennett has been involved on behalf of the school as a Professional Learning pioneer in this period. This initially involved advising on elements of the draft curriculum and readying other schools for the advent of Curriculum for Wales. In the last year, the role has changed and we are now a Lead Enquiry school, working with Cardiff Metropolitan University. We have been conducting enquiries into curriculum aspects and professional learning. This work will continue into 2021 as we engage other schools in the process.