Cymru is set to become the first nation in the UK to make teaching of Black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences mandatory in the school curriculum.
Subject to final sign-off by the Senedd next month, the Welsh Government has added learning about the diversity of communities, in particular the stories of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, into the new Curriculum for Wales guidance, coinciding with the start of Black History Month.
The new Curriculum framework is due to be introduced from September 2022, following years of work by teachers and other education professionals in its development.
The Curriculum will include six Areas of Learning and Experience. Each Area includes mandatory elements known as ‘Statements of What Matters’, described as the ‘big ideas’ and key principles in each Area.
One of the 27 Statements is that “Human societies are complex and diverse, and shaped by human actions and beliefs.” The Statement will now include an expectation that learners “can develop an understanding of the complex, pluralistic and diverse nature of societies, past and present. These stories are diverse, spanning different communities as well as in particular the stories of black, Asian and minority ethnic people.”
Last year, a working group, led by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, was formed to improve teaching on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, including developing new teaching materials and training for teachers and trainee teachers. The group’s work is being supported through £500,000 from the Welsh Government.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “It is vitally important that our education system equips our young people to understand and respect their own and each other’s histories, cultures and traditions.
“Today’s announcement will help enrich the new curriculum, and therefore teaching in Wales, for years to come.
“The new Curriculum for Wales will empower teachers and education settings to design lessons to inspire their learners to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.
“If we are to progress as a society, we must create an education system which broadens our understanding and knowledge of the many cultures which have built Wales’s, and the world’s, past and present.”
The new Curriculum Framework for Cymru
A new Curriculum framework has been developed by practitioners, for practitioners, built on four purposes, to develop learners who are ambitious and capable, enterprising and creative, ethical and informed and healthy and confident citizens.
Teachers will have more flexibility to develop a curriculum in their school that meets the needs of their learners. They will do this by using a common framework that includes six Areas of Learning and Experience (Areas).
The six Areas of Learning and Experience cover: Mathematics and Numeracy; Science and Technology; Humanities; Languages, Literacy and Communications; Health and Well-being; and Expressive Arts.
Traditional subject-to-subject boundaries will be broken down in the process of curriculum design, helping learners to better consider different concepts and issues in the broadest possible way.
The Areas support cross-curricular planning, so learners can apply learning to different academic or real-life situations.
Qualifications Wales, the assessment regulator for Cymru, is developing qualifications to reflect the Curriculum for Wales through a co-construction approach.
The Statements of What Matters Code will complete its ‘negative procedure’ before the Senedd on 15 November.