The School Curriculum in Wales and Devolution: Evidence Informed Policy


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Presentation at ECER 2010, Helsinki as part of a symposium : Curriculum Reform in Four Nations: a home international perspective: A network 23 symposium. This presentation is by David Egan, University of Wales Institute Cardiff

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The School Curriculum in Wales and Devolution: Evidence Informed Policy

  1. 1. The School Curriculum in Wales and Devolution: Evidence Informed Policy? David Egan University of Wales Institute Cardiff ECER 2010 Helsinki
  2. 2. Context <ul><li>Role of the Welsh Office before devolution: ‘delivery of programmes and services’ decided at Whitehall </li></ul><ul><li>National Assembly for Wales took over devolved power in 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>The Learning Country (Welsh Assembly Govt, 2001) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>communitarian, state provided education system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>move away from high stakes testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moved away from prescriptive pedagogies e.g. National Strategies </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Curriculum reform in Wales <ul><li>abandonment of national testing at ages 7, 11 and 14 </li></ul><ul><li>introduction of the Foundation phase , 3-7 years olds </li></ul><ul><li>reform of 14-19 education </li></ul><ul><li>introduction of a Welsh baccalaureate </li></ul><ul><li>initial work scoping 8-14 phase in education </li></ul><ul><li>School Effectiveness Framework implemented from September 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Completed within the reformed National Curriculum through greater freedom to innovate. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Evidence Informed Policy? <ul><li>Foundation Stage </li></ul><ul><li>Expert Adviser produced recommendations (2000); </li></ul><ul><li>development work involving civil servants, practitioners, academics and special interest groups </li></ul><ul><li>consultation period (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>pilot in 41 schools (September 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>guidance information for practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>nursery and reception children from 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>all 3-7 years olds from 2011 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Evidence Informed Policy? <ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>decision to end testing for 7 year olds based on evidence from Inspectorate, practitioners and officials within Education Dept. </li></ul><ul><li>review of curriculum and assessment arrangements by former Chief Inspector in 2003 – questionnaires and stakeholder interviews. </li></ul><ul><li>further expert review by Prof Richard Daugherty (ARG) in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>pilot of Assessment for Learning and thinking skills strategies with groups of schools </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy Strategy and School Effectiveness Framework </li></ul>
  6. 6. Evidence Informed Policy? <ul><li>14-19 Education and Training </li></ul><ul><li>broader curriculum offer from September 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Review Group formed 2007, Prof Adrian Webb </li></ul><ul><li>collaboration between providers needs to improve </li></ul><ul><li>policy development led by WAG officials with practitioner secondees </li></ul><ul><li>initial development and scoping work involved 170 individuals from a wider range of stakeholder groups </li></ul><ul><li>14-19 Learning Networks in the 22 LAs of Wales </li></ul><ul><li>less involvement of academic research </li></ul><ul><li>high political engagement </li></ul>
  7. 7. Evidence Informed Policy? <ul><li>Welsh Baccalaureate </li></ul><ul><li>broaden curriculum for 14-18 year olds </li></ul><ul><li>review of international evidence </li></ul><ul><li>pilot undertaken between 2003-2006 </li></ul><ul><li>pilot received a positive evaluation by University of Nottingham </li></ul><ul><li>target: 40% of all 14-19 years involved by 2010 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Evidence Informed Policy? <ul><li>Review of 8-14 Education in Wales </li></ul><ul><li>Task Group established in early 2009 led by Prof Egan </li></ul><ul><li>strong stakeholder engagement: headteachers, Local Authority personnel, school governor, school inspector </li></ul><ul><li>recommendations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creation of discrete 8-14 phase with discrete policy for pedagogy leadership, transition, assessment, literacy and inclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>development of 8-14 workforce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>changes to school governance and organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>changes to inspection framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>commissioning of educational research on 8-14 achievement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more equal distribution of funding between phases </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Conclusion <ul><li>stakeholder interaction strongest in Foundation Phase and weakest for 14-19 reform </li></ul><ul><li>greatest impact where there is a strong personal commitment and involvement of senior politicians in networks with practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>WAG draws on educational research in Wales </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues of capacity and dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><li>what counts as evidence? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quantitative and qualitative approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>practitioner input and research-based evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal brokerage – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bridging the divide between policy makers and researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong involvement of practitioners </li></ul></ul>