Professor Donaldson’s Successful Futures: The National Picture

The 68 recommendations within Professor Donaldson’s report ‘Successful Futures’ (2015) were accepted fully by Welsh Government and proposals for their strategic development published within ‘Qualified for Life, A Curriculum for Wales – A Curriculum for Life’ (October 2015).

Welsh Government adopted a tri-partite system of Pioneer Schools via which to deliver and develop curriculum reform. Pioneer Schools were identified from across Wales and represent a range of different schools including urban and rural settings; English medium and Welsh-medium; primary, secondary, and special schools, schools with a religious character, and a range of school sizes.

Pioneer schools were identified to lead on three aspects:

  • Digital Competence Framework
  • Curriculum design and development
  • Professional Learning (formerly New Deal for the Education workforce)

All members of the Pioneer Schools Network work closely together and with their own clusters, networks, and wider stakeholder groups to ensure that as many of our schools are engaged in this exciting agenda. Over time the three Pioneers strands have come together to ensure that all practitioners are supported to realise the ambitious and exciting future for the Welsh education system.

Pioneer Schools - what's happening now?

There are currently 42 Pioneer Schools within the CSC region.

  • CSC Pioneer network meetings are being held during the spring and summer terms to support their work in the development of the new curriculum and assessment arrangements (Monday February 27th, Wednesday May 24th and Monday June 12th)
  • A CSC Pioneer Hwb network has been created for the sharing and exploration of effective approaches for developing the new curriculum and to collate networking activities undertaken to date with all schools; information from this network will be shared with all schools
  • CSC Successful Futures briefing sessions for headteachers are being held on Monday January 30th and Tuesday February 7th, 3-5pm at Tŷ Dysgu. Contact Louise.Muteham@cscjes.org.uk to book a place

Digital Pioneers - what’s happening now?

  • During the summer term 2016, a range of engagement events took place across all four consortia regions. Information gathered during the engagement events was used to finalise the first version of the Digital Competence Framework (DCF)
  • By the end of the summer term 2016, the Digital Pioneers had completed the DCF; this was made available to schools and settings on September 1st 2016 through Learning Wales
  • Digital Pioneer Schools continue work as a national network to develop resources to support the curriculum and aim to have published outcomes to share during the Spring Term, 2017.  In addition, they are considering the needs of a professional learning offer to support all schools across Wales
  • CSC Digital Pioneers have developed a draft DCF curriculum audit tool which was released to all CSC schools in November through the Cronfa DCF community.  This work will be adopted by the national group and made available across Wales.  Particular thanks to Tom Hills, Ynysowen Primary and Mark Jones, Ysgol Rhydywaun for their development work.  Further work is being undertaken to support CPD planning audits
  • CSC Digital Pioneer schools lead on the development of professional learning programmes for schools across the region through the CSC Curriculum Hubs

How can all schools engage?

  • Forge links with one of the 7 Digital Pioneer Schools:
    • Special Schools: Tŷ Gwyn (Cardiff)
    • Primary Schools: Cadoxton (Vale); Ynysowen (Merthyr)
    • Secondary and Welsh Medium Schools: Ysgol Bro Edern (Cardiff), Ysgol Bro Morgannwg (Cardiff), Ysgol Plasmawr (Cardiff), Ysgol Rhydywaun (RCT)
  • Engage with your Cluster or SIG networks to familiarise colleagues with the DCF
  • Use your Hwb username for updates regarding developments to access networks and other resources on both Hwb and Cronfa
  • Attend CSC Network meetings where sessions will be led by the Digital Pioneers
  • Provide feedback via the online DCF tool to inform further refinements
  • Use the CSC curriculum audit tool to map your current provision to the DCF
  • Attend the DCF Professional Learning events
  • Join the CSC Cronfa DCF community
  • Keep up to date through the CSC schools bulletin
  • Share DCF development experiences with the Pioneer schools network

Curriculum Pioneers - what's happening now?

Areas of Learning and Experience  

Curriculum Pioneers have focused on the development of the four strands of high level design for the new curriculum:

  • Strand 1 of this work is completed and will be shared with schools by February half term
  • The core purpose of Strand 2 of this work is to develop proposals for a framework of each AoLE
  • Curriculum Pioneer schools have now been assigned to their AoLE and are holding their initial meetings in Llandudno on January 17th and 18th
  • From January 2017, each AoLE working group is tasked with producing proposals for:
    • The rationale
    • Organisation and scope
    • Embedding of Strand 1 work
    • Input from topic experts, key organisations, and leading thinkers
    • Pedagogy, teaching and learning strategies
    • Progression
    • Development opportunities
    • The implications of proposals for practitioners, wider networks etc
  • The membership 0f each AoLE includes representatives from Pioneer Schools, Welsh Government and Estyn
  • AoLE working groups are expected to share information, hold discussions, and receive feedback on a regular basis within school and with local and regional clusters of schools about their work and the ideas being generated and developed – including practitioners and learners
  • AoLE schools will pilot ideas as they are being developed providing feedback to the working group and more widely as required to inform next steps

Professional Learning

  • This questionnaire will form part of a self-evaluation toolkit for schools to use to refine their role as learning organisation
  • Nationally, 34 Pioneer Schools are currently trialing the new Professional Teaching Standards; 9 CSC schools are contributing to this.
  • Professional Learning Pioneers continue to contribute to the CSC professional learning offer
  • Fern Federation PLP is part of the ‘levelling without labels’ pilot group; this has involved working in triads to map out areas of research from one of the four purposes at each progression point
  • Professional Learning Pioneers, one from each local authority are engaged in an OECD pilot to review the draft questionnaire for school leaders, teachers, and support staff
  • This questionnaire will form part of a self-evaluation toolkit for schools to use to refine their role as learning organisations

How can all schools engage?

  • Attend the CSC Annual Successful Futures Conference on Wednesday February 1st at Cardiff City Stadium
  • Continue to engage with your SIG, Cluster, and the Pioneer schools to develop and trial the pedagogical principles
  • Engage fully in the headteacher briefing sessions –  Monday January 30th and Tuesday February 7th 3-5 at Tŷ Dysgu
  • Consider how your current vision is in line with the Four Purposes
  • Use your Hwb username for updates regarding developments to access networks and other resources on both Hwb and Cronfa
  • Re-visit your current curriculum provision - what are you already doing that correlates to the Four Purposes?
Vanessa McCarthy

Vanessa McCarthy

Associate Headteacher (Successful Futures) at Central South Consortium
Vanessa McCarthy

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3 thoughts on “Professor Donaldson’s Successful Futures: The National Picture

  1. Very useful, highlights the key points neatly and clearly. Thanks Vanessa, and for the Successful Futures briefings and helpful papers.

  2. Thank you for this update and associated links.

  3. A great summary Vanessa – really helpful. A ‘one stop shop’ for all that is going on. Very reassuring.

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