Teachers in Wales are split over whether schools will be ready for major curriculum change next year, but don’t agree that delaying implementation would stop them preparing.
A survey by Caerphilly-based school improvement company Impact Wales found that just over half of teachers surveyed (50.4%) think not enough schools will be ready to implement Curriculum for Wales in September 2022.
Some 47.2% think some schools will be ready by the deadline, which has been set by outgoing education minister Kirsty Williams, and only 2.4% think all schools will be ready.
Primary school teachers are more pessimistic than their secondary school peers, with 54.5% of primary teachers saying not enough schools will be ready compared to 45.6% of secondary teachers.
As it currently stands, all schools in Wales will be required to implement Curriculum for Wales from September 2022.
Members of the Senedd voted to pass the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill into law earlier this month.
The new curriculum will see a shift towards a less prescriptive approach for schools and greater responsibility placed on teachers to make decisions about what is taught in the classroom.
Ms Williams, who is stepping down from the Senedd at the election in May, has refused calls to delay the curriculum to help schools recover from the impact of Covid-19.
Asked whether delaying the implementation date would mean schools ‘take their foot off the gas’ in terms of preparations, 73.9% or primary teachers and 67.2 % of secondary teachers disagree.
One teacher said: “We have had so little time what with having to learn how to teach remotely this year. No work has gone into CfW because it’s not been the ‘priority’.”
Another said: “If the implementation was delayed, it would allow schools some recovery time to assess the impact of the pandemic on an individual level.”
However, other teachers said schools had continued to prepare and delaying further would just lead to more uncertainty.
Finola Wilson, director of Impact Wales, said: “It is clear from the survey that teachers don’t share the education minister’s faith that enough schools will be in a position to implement Curriculum for Wales next year.
“We know that Covid-19 has had an impact on every aspect of schooling in Wales, with teachers and pupils having to learn new skills and adapt to new circumstances, and there is a high likelihood of more disruption over the next year.
“Schools should be spending these next twelve months focusing on mitigating the loss of learning among their pupils, not preparing for a drastic change of curriculum.
“We would like to appeal to the next education minister, whoever they may be, to take that into account when preparing for implementation.
“If there is not a total delay, then we need to consider whether teaching a new curriculum, which is underdeveloped and poorly understood, is indeed better than continuing to teach our current curriculum for just one more year.”
The survey also asked teachers what extra support they thought should be put in place to help pupils post-pandemic.
79.5% said additional mental health and wellbeing support, 52% said high-quality online learning, and 48% said individual tutoring programmes.
133 Wales-based educators responded to the online survey between March 8 and March 22, including 21 headteachers, 42 senior leaders, 28 middle leaders and 29 class teachers.