The Welsh Government has developed an exciting new curriculum that ensures that our children have the best opportunity and support in life to thrive and contribute to the future of Wales. The new curriculum is a continuum of learning for children from 3 to 16 years of age. There will no longer be ‘phases’ or ‘stages’, with all children progressing along the same learning continuum. It is called the Curriculum for Wales.
From September 2022, if you receive funding to provide education you will be required to deliver: –
- A curriculum you have designed yourself using https://hwb.gov.wales/curriculum-for-wales/designing-your-curriculum/
- OR the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings https://hwb.gov.wales/api/storage/b1801d78-38c3-4320-9818-d9996c21aef8/220914-a-curriculum-for-funded-non-maintained-nursery-settings.pdf
Welsh Government have published a curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings. This was designed by practitioners for practitioners, along with experts in child development and early education. Providers of funded non-maintained nursery education should adopt the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings to support planning for learning and development of individual children who receive their nursery education in their settings. The curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings has been developed to support learners at the start of the 3 to 16 learning continuum, including those with additional learning needs (ALN). It supports the learning and development of these learners to ensure they have the best possible start on their learning journey. In fulfilling the Welsh Government’s statutory duty, this curriculum meets the following requirements:
- it enables learners to develop in the way described in the four purposes of the curriculum
- it is broad and balanced
- it is suitable for learners of differing ages, abilities and aptitudes
- it provides appropriate progression for all learners
This curriculum also:
- covers the six areas of learning and experience
- encompasses the 27 statements of what matters
- reflects the principles of progression
- encompasses the mandatory curriculum elements, including the mandatory cross-curricular skills
Settings which choose to adopt this curriculum should use it in its entirety to support effective planning to ensure the provision of a developmentally appropriate curriculum for our youngest learners.
Yes. The curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings has been developed to support learners at the start of the 3 to 16 learning continuum, including those with additional learning needs (ALN). It supports the learning and development of these learners to ensure they have the best possible start on their learning journey. Due to its inclusive and child-centred approach, practitioners could apply the principles and adapt it for use with younger children. The Curriculum for Wales requires funded non-maintained nursery settings to publish a summary of their adopted curriculum. This means that settings are required to inform parents, stakeholders and anyone who is connected to the cylch which curriculum they are following.
Settings that do not receive funding to provide education are still required under the National Minimum Standards to deliver practice in line with the statutory curriculum requirements. As with the Foundation Phase Framework, it is expected that non-funded settings will also be responsible for ensuring that the principles of the ‘Curriculum for Wales’ are understood and applied in a way appropriate to the age, abilities and stage of development of children in their care and the nature of the provision.
The term ‘foundation learning’ is not a direct replacement for ‘Foundation Phase’ and the terminology used will depend on the context. Here are some examples of how terminology might be used in Curriculum for Wales.
- ‘Foundation Phase is the statutory curriculum for 3 to 7-year-olds in Wales’ might become ‘Curriculum for Wales is a 3 to 16 curriculum for all learners’.
- ‘Professional learning to support understanding of Foundation Phase pedagogy can be accessed through Hwb’ might become ‘Professional learning to support understanding of foundation learning pedagogy can be accessed through Hwb’.
- ‘The Foundation Phase can be delivered in schools or funded non-maintained nursery settings’ might become ‘Nursery education can be delivered in schools or funded non-maintained nursery settings’.
‘Foundation Phase nursery’ terminology may also need to be changed depending on the context.
- ‘Children are eligible to receive Foundation Phase nursery provision following their third birthday’ might become ‘Children are eligible to receive nursery education following their third birthday’.
- Use ‘nursery’ when referring to the ‘class’ or ‘building’ the child resides in.
- Use ‘3- and 4-year olds’ when referring to the age of a child while in ‘nursery’
Providers of funded non-maintained nursery education must also make and implement initial and ongoing assessment arrangements to support children’s progression within their setting. Welsh Government have worked with partners to co-construct draft assessment arrangements for settings to complement the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings which outlines the most appropriate ways to assess and support progression. A consultation on the draft assessment arrangements was published on 30 September 2022 and closed on 23 December 2022. Final assessment arrangements will be published by September 2023. Between September 2022 and the publication of final assessment arrangements in 2023, settings are expected to use suitable assessment arrangements for their learners using the draft arrangements.
Planning is about meeting children’s needs so that they can play and learn happily in ways which will help them to develop skills in a holistic way. The key principles essential for holistic and meaningful learning for all children start with skilful, observant and interested adults, who provide authentic and engaging experiences in effective, exciting environments. Our role is to use our observations to plan experiences and environments that are meaningful and relevant to children’s interests. This curriculum ensures that the mandatory elements of Curriculum for Wales are embedded within an appropriate pedagogical framework that focuses on the needs of the developing child through five developmental pathways – belonging, communication, exploration, physical development and well-being.
Mudiad Meithrin has developed a planning pack exclusively for settings that do not receive 3-year-old funding. The pack is flexible and can be used wholly or partially to record the interests of the child; the teachable moments; the invitations to learn; the experiences; the learning journey of the child; key vocabulary; reflective practice; cross-curricular skills; to reflect holistically the 5 developmental pathways; and effective indoor and outdoor experiences. Planning packs are available to those who have attended a professional learning session accessed through Academi. email@example.com
This curriculum recognises and celebrates the individuality of each child and what they bring to the learning experience. This early period of learning should be unhurried, allowing time, space and freedom for the developing child to consolidate their learning with opportunities to return, revisit, and refine their emerging knowledge and skills. This cyclical approach is essential for progression through the learning journey. Central to this curriculum are five key developmental pathways that are fundamental to the learning and development of all young children. These developmental pathways are child-centred and are interdependent, having equal value in supporting overall development and progress. They focus on what is important for the child and link closely to the key principles of child development, as well as to the overarching statements of what matters and descriptions of learning in the six areas of learning and experience. They have been developed to ensure children can be supported to make progress at their own pace and in their preferred learning environment. The five developmental pathways are:
- physical development
Development within and across the five developmental pathways is dependent upon the quality of our interactions and the learning experiences and environments we create.
Yes. The curriculum for funded non maintained settings encourages practitioners to model communication skills and to offer environments and experiences that are enriched with communication opportunities. Communication is an essential part of children’s development. It is how young children form relationships and is essential for learning, play and making friends. Introducing young children to stories and books arouses their interest in stories, rhymes and songs from their own cultures and other cultures. Children learn to develop their confidence, listening skills, concentration skills and vocabulary skills. They learn about sounds, words, and language. Reading stories stimulates imagination, develops social skills, and helps young children learn about the world. It is essential that children hear stories daily; this can take place in large or small groups, indoors or outdoors. If children choose not to join in, they will still absorb information. For our resource on ‘Story time / Amser Stori’, please go to ‘Foundation Learning’.
This language immersion method is used to introduce Welsh to young children who attend our Cylchoedd Meithrin. All activities are conducted in Welsh, encouraging the children to communicate with adults and their peers through the medium of Welsh. Within this environment children can develop their language skills and this includes all elements of the curriculum for funded non-maintained settings. The scheme has been approved by Estyn in several Cylch Meithrin reports following an inspection. Croesi’r Bont is fully supportive of the curriculum for funded non-maintained settings.
The development of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings has provided an opportunity to consider the terminology describing practice and provision. For example, Foundation Phase pedagogy referred to ‘continuous provision’, ‘enhanced provision’ and ‘focus tasks.’ While this terminology does not appear in the curriculum for funded non maintained settings, high-quality Foundation Phase pedagogy and practice should continue. The language used in the curriculum documents has been strengthened to support pedagogy by focusing on the key principles that are essential for holistic and meaningful learning. Fundamental to this are ‘enablers’ – enabling adults, engaging experiences and effective environments – which are interrelated, and it is their connectivity which is key to teaching and learning across the Curriculum for Wales. Although there is no direct translation of continuous provision, enhanced provision, and focus tasks, these are key to successful foundation learning pedagogy within the enablers. The importance of the interplay between adults, environments and experiences are consequently not limited to children aged 3 to 7 and therefore meet the ambition of a 3 to 16 continuum of learning.
Pedagogy simply means the methods used to teach; these include teaching styles, assessment and how the curriculum is delivered. Effective, child-centred pedagogy, which is responsive, dynamic and embedded in strong relationships, is essential to realising the ambition of this curriculum. Although the principles of effective pedagogy are embedded throughout this curriculum, it is particularly important for us to ensure that the learning environment within our setting provides consistent opportunities for the following:
- play and play-based learning
- being outdoors
- authentic and purposeful learning
- physical literacy
Further information on these can be found on:
The curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings and draft assessment arrangements have been designed for use in settings only. However, the Welsh Government recognises that schools may find the principles helpful in developing their own curriculum and assessment arrangements in supporting younger learners during this period of learning.
Resources are available through Academi to assist with the implementation of the curriculum for funded non maintained settings. Some resources are available upon request. Resources are regularly updated on Academi so please check on a regular basis. Darparu hyfforddiant i staff a gwirfoddolwyr Academi – Mudiad Meithrin
Professional learning modules are available on Hwb. These are suitable for schools and settings. These will support practitioners in reflecting on practice and provision when delivering the curriculum.
They are based on 6 themes:
- authentic and purposeful learning
- child development
- outdoor learning
- play and play-based learning
A further series of modules are also available exclusively to support funded non-maintained nursery settings in implementing their curriculum. These modules are titled as follows:
- Understanding Curriculum for Wales and the development of a curriculum for funded for non-maintained nursery settings
- Understanding the five developmental pathways and pedagogy
- Schematic development
- Leadership in non-maintained nursery settings
The Welsh Government has maintained close contact with Estyn and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) throughout the development of curriculum guidance and support modules. The inspectorates recognise that curriculum implementation is a journey for settings and practitioners. They understand curriculum change will happen over time.