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Ysgol Gymunedol Abercynon

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Our Work as a Pioneer School for the New Curriculum for Wales

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Curriculum Pioneer Schools 

Ysgolion Arloeswyr Y Cwricwlwm 

 
Abercynon Community Primary School is proud to have been selected by the Welsh Government as a Curriculum Pioneer School charged with developing a new curriculum for Wales. 

 

In 2015 our application to join the Pioneer School network was successful and we were involved in the early stages of developing the thinking, structure and principles underpinning the new curriculum for Wales. Since then, as a Curriculum Pioneer school for Languages, Literacy and Communication (LLC) we have been working together as part of an all-Wales partnership team to design and develop the new curriculum for Wales.  

 

Our role in the next year has been extended to refine the curriculum in response to the consultations and working closely with other schools both locally and nationally sharing our vision, knowledge, understanding and experience of the new curriculum with other schools.  

In particular we have been selected as the Lead Practitioner School in our area for LLC, supporting schools with this specific area of the new curriculum. We will also be trialing and testing the new curriculum first from April 2019 ready for full implementation in 2022.  

 

This is a very exciting time for staff and pupils at Abercynon Community Primary School.  

 

What will be changing? 

The whole approach to developing young people aged 3 to 16 will change.  The new curriculum will have more emphasis on equipping young people for life. It will build their ability to learn new skills and apply their subject knowledge more positively and creatively. As the world changes, they will be more able to adapt positively. 

 They will also get a deep understanding of how to thrive in an increasingly digital world. A new digital competence framework is now introducing digital skills across the curriculum, preparing them for the opportunities and risks that an online world presents. 

 Meanwhile teachers will have more freedom to teach in ways they feel will have the best outcomes for their learners. 

The purpose of the new curriculum is to support our children and young people to be: 

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives 

  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work 

  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world 

  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society. 

  

It will have six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLE

  • Expressive arts. 

  • Health and well-being. 

  • Humanities (including RE which should remain compulsory to age 16). 

  • Languages, literacy and communication (including Welsh, which should remain compulsory to age 16, and modern foreign languages). 

  • Mathematics and numeracy. 

  • Science and technology. 

 

 It will also include three cross-curricular responsibilities: literacy, numeracy and digital competence. 

Why it is changing? 

Now more than ever, young people need to be adaptable to change, capable of learning new skills throughout life and equipped to cope with new life scenarios. 

 Advances in technology and globalisation have transformed the way we live and work. These changes have profound implications for what, and how, children and young people need to learn.  

 Schools and teachers need more flexibility to respond to this environment, using a new curriculum which will promote high achievement and engage the interest of all children and young people to help them reach their potential. 

 The new curriculum will bring this about by making learning more experience-based, the assessment of progress more developmental, and by giving teachers the flexibility to deliver in more creative ways that suit the learners they teach. 

 This new approach was informed by Professor Graham Donaldson’s independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales in February 2015 which provided the foundations for a twenty-first Century curriculum shaped by the very latest national and international thinking. 

How are we moving forward as a school? 

The principles of enrichment and experience have been a driving force in our curriculum development. We engage our learners at the beginning of our connected learning topics through carefully planned ‘Immersion’ days and ensure that opportunities are taken to highlight the four purposes in our learning experiences and as focused weeks. Our learners are at the heart of decisions made with a focus on carefully chosen skills which makes learning purposeful and relevant.

 

We are passionate about learning languages and have a Spanish specialist immersing children in a half hour weekly class session from Nursery to Yr 6 as well as working towards the Cymraeg Campus Bronze Award for our Welsh language development. Our pupils take part in the Urdd Eisteddfod every year which develops their recital, music and art abilities and we are developing our reading skills through the Bookslam competition. The Lead Creative Schools programme has enriched creativity and allowed children to work with specialists in storytelling, poetry, art and filmmaking as well as developing our outdoor learning experiences.

 

Staff and pupils have been upskilled with a focus on developing the DCF across the school. We are providing innovative learning experiences through using technology like VR headsets to support other areas of the curriculum as well as digital collaborative learning. Our digital leaders have supported other schools, training them on aspects of coding the use of Teams and Minecraft.

 

We have set up a number of councils which are allowing children to have their voices listened to and for them to be more knowledgeable and impact on decisions made in school. In particular the new curriculum group are learning about the changes and making decisions about how we should learn. 

 

 

We hope you are able to see that your children are developing all of these important lifelong skills at Abercynon Community Primary School.  If you have any questions about how we are developing the curriculum then please ask as we are very happy to talk to you about approaches we are taking in the classroom. 

 

Likewise, we are committed to working together. We are keen to involve parents in our curriculum delivery to ensure we provide a broad and balanced curriculum with purposeful experiences. If you can help us in any way with any knowledge, skills or expertise you may have to offer then we would be delighted to hear from you. 

 

Mr D Jewitt (Headteacher) 

The Digital Competence Framework 

The first element of the new curriculum to be developed was the Digital Competence Framework (DCF). 

 The framework introduces and develops the skills needed to live and work in an increasingly online and digital world, ranging from communicating and collaborating to problem solving and handling online bullying. 

Like literacy and numeracy it applies across all subjects, developing skills and confidence in learners that make them adaptable to changes in technology over time.  The framework has four strands of equal importance. Each has a number of elements which explore the detail within it. 

 The strands are: 

  • Citizenship – which includes the elements of ‘Identity, image and reputation’, ‘Health and well-being’, ‘Digital rights, licensing and ownership’, and ‘Online behaviour and cyberbullying’ 

  • Interacting and collaborating – which includes the elements of ‘Communication’, ‘Collaboration’, and ‘Storing and sharing’ 

  • Producing – which includes the elements of ‘Planning, sourcing and searching’, ‘Creating’, and ‘Evaluating and improving’ 

  • Data and computational thinking – which includes the elements of ‘Problem solving and modelling’, and ‘Data and information literacy’. 

 

How are we moving forward as a school? 

The principles of enrichment and experience have been a driving force in our curriculum development. We engage our learners at the beginning of our connected learning topics through carefully planned ‘Immersion’ days and ensure that opportunities are taken to highlight the four purposes in our learning experiences and as focused weeks. Our learners are at the heart of decisions made with a focus on carefully chosen skills which makes learning purposeful and relevant. We are passionate about learning languages and have a Spanish specialist immersing children in a half hour weekly class session from Nursery to Yr 6 as well as working towards the Cymraeg Campus Bronze Award for our Welsh language development. Our pupils take part in the Urdd Eisteddfod every year which develops their recital, music and art abilities and we are developing our reading skills through the Bookslam competition. The Lead Creative Schools programme has enriched creativity and allowed children to work with specialists in storytelling, poetry and filmmaking as well as developing our outdoor learning experiences. Staff and pupils have been upskilled with a focus on developing the DCF across the school. We are providing innovative learning experiences through using technology like VR headsets to support other areas of the curriculum as well as digital collaborative learning. Our digital leaders have supported other schools, training them on aspects of coding the use of Teams and Minecraft. We have set up a number of councils which are allowing children to have their voices listened to and for them to be more knowledgeable and impact on decisions made in school. In particular the new curriculum group are learning about the changes and making decisions about how we should learn. 

We hope you are able to see that your children are developing all of these important lifelong skills at Abercynon Community Primary School.  If you have any questions about how we are developing the curriculum then please ask as we are very happy to talk to you about approaches we are taking in the classroom. 

Likewise, we are committed to working together. We are keen to involve parents in our curriculum delivery to ensure we provide a broad and balanced curriculum with purposeful experiences. If you can help us in any way with any knowledge, skills or expertise you may have to offer then we would be delighted to hear from you. 

 

Mr D Jewitt (Headteacher) 

  

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