University of Glasgow: Project Sets Path For Supporting Schools

A new project aimed at supporting schools through the process of curriculum transformation, focusing on progression and assessment has been launched.

Camau i’r Dyfodol / Steps to the Future is a three-year project undertaken by the Welsh Government in partnership with the University of Glasgow and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and is designed to help develop new knowledge and support the realisation of Curriculum for Wales.

It will do this by bringing together teachers, educational partners, and researchers to co-develop new capacity, ways of thinking and resources to build upon existing practice. Central to this process will be the integration of learning progression, curriculum, assessment and pedagogy.

Jeremy Miles, MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language made a commitment in February to make national support available for developing progression and assessment within the context of the new curriculum and the four purposes at its heart of enabling:

ambitious, capable learners
enterprising, creative contributors
ethical, informed citizens
healthy, confident individuals.

Dr Kara Makara Fuller, who is a principal investigator on Camau i’r Dyfodol and a Lecturer in the School of Education, said: “We are excited, not only to continue our work with Welsh Government and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, but also to have the opportunity to work with teachers and educational partners across Wales, to think through what an effective, progression-based curriculum will be in practice for different schools and classrooms. We have designed the Camau i’r Dyfodol project as a unique opportunity to work together to build capacity and confidence in learning progression and the areas that the profession in Wales see as most critical to realising the new curriculum.”

Dr David Morrison-Love, who is a principal investigator on Camau i’r Dyfodol and a Lecturer in the School of Education, said: “We designed the Camau i’r Dyfodol project in a way that does not view research and practice separately and that builds upon our existing expertise in participatory methods. It is set within the change process itself drawing on evidence from research, policy and practice to co-develop ways of thinking, associated resources and project outputs. We see this as a truly innovative project that will contribute new knowledge and allow better understanding in this complex area supporting educational change across schools in Wales and internationally.”

Professor Margery McMahon, Head of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, said: “The Camau i’r Dyfodol project provides an invaluable opportunity to continue our partnership work with the Welsh Government and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

“It is yet another example where the School of Education is engaging in and supporting world class research to support positive educational change. Through this innovative research our academic colleagues hope it will help to build capacity, support the educational experiences of pupils and develop new understanding that is internationally significant.”

Professor Bob Davis, Director of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, University of Glasgow, said: “The next decade of educational reform across the British Isles looks set to be the era of curriculum making: a collaborative endeavour of teachers, school leaders, external stakeholders and learners themselves in refurbishing the school subject disciplines and their interrelationships in forms fit for the demands of the modern age and its distinctive challenges. The Camau i’r Dyfodol Project exemplifies the potential of this movement to initiate change from the classroom outwards.”

The project builds on the original CAMAU project which involved the partnership between 2018 and 2020 and aims to develop the system capacity in learning progression necessary to advance the renew and reform agenda in Wales.

This will include support through National Network Conversations to create spaces for schools, settings and educational partners to reflect on progression and assessment in the context of their own personal practice and share their experiences and approaches. A Co-construction group will be established at the outset of the project to guide activities, focus and outputs, and ensure that it engages with the entire education sector in Wales.

The project will:

Bring together all educational partners, from schools and settings to Estyn, to use their own experience and expertise to build a shared understanding of progression, supporting participants to learn from each other.
Build understanding of how this shared understanding can be developed effectively for all Welsh pupils through curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy.
Support development of practice that can realise the ambitions of the new Curriculum for Wales, including looking past implementation to the long-term evolution of the curriculum.
Ensure change is meaningful and manageable for schools and settings, and that it is carried out in an inclusive, evidence-informed manner with equity, integrity and alignment between all parts of the system.
Provide an evolving evidence-base, which can feed back into the system and provide practitioners with new knowledge about progression-based curricula, professional practice, and educational change.
As the project progresses, the partnership will be producing resources and outputs to aid practitioners to reflect on their practice, share their experiences and support further discussion within their schools or settings. These resources will be published through Hwb, the Welsh Government’s resource portal.