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Thinking Schools in Wales

The New Curriculum in Wales and Thinking Schools

Judith Davies, Headteacher at Danescourt Primary School in Cardiff considers how becoming a Thinking School fits the requirements of the New Curriculum for Wales...

Any declaration that a new curriculum is on the way for ages 3-16 inevitably leads to a mixture of excitement, fear and scepticism from Teachers and Headteachers alike! Following the Donaldson Report of 2015 ‘Successful Futures’ and the subsequent announcement by the Welsh Government that Professor Donaldson’s recommendations were to be accepted in full, a small group of schools across Wales were selected to be Pioneer Schools in each of the six AOLEs (Areas of Learning Experience) and were set the task of developing and innovating with the curriculum in their area. The remaining schools were tasked with developing ‘Four Core Purposes’ for learners through deliberate planning for skills and experiences as well as developing 12 pedagogical principles which would underpin the whole curriculum.

Four Core Purposes

  • Ambitious, capable Learners
  • Healthy, confident individuals
  • Enterprising, creative contributors
  • Ethical, informed citizens
Thinking Schools in Wales Danescourt Primary School

As we began to unpack the ‘Four Core Purposes’ and what they would look like for our pupils, we realised that there was a very strong correlation between the purposes and the Habits of Mind. Having produced child speak ‘I can’ statements for each core purpose we were then able to map the habits across. We became excited as a school as we realised the advantages of approaching the new curriculum from the vantage point of being a ‘Thinking School’.

Similarly, when we looked at the 12 Pedagogical Principles below, both attitudinal approaches to learning and cognitive tools provide a rich web of interdependence and cross correlation across the framework. Thinking is literally the ‘cement’ that gives cohesion to these principles and purposes!

Thinking Schools in Wales - 12 pedagogical principles
12 Pedagogical Principles

With this in mind, we held a taster event for schools across South Wales to come on a learning walk to Danescourt and to see the possibilities that being a Thinking School provide to create an enriching and consistent approach to the new curriculum.

We are excited that we are already beginning to work with other schools in South Wales who want to explore these connections too and become Thinking Schools in Wales.

Judith Davies
Danescourt Primary School