Cardiff seizes the opportunity to create a 21st Century curriculum

Cardiff Council has held  Education is Everybody's Business Convention 2018, seizing the opportunity to shape a new curriculum for Wales. 

Welsh Government will be piloting a new curriculum from 2019, which will be used throughout Wales by 2022. It will have more emphasis on equipping young people for life, building their ability to learn new skills and apply their subject knowledge more positively and creatively. 

Almost 300 people were at the Cardiff Council convention, which brought educators together with children and young people, and representatives from the private, public and voluntary sectors, providing a greater understanding of what is important when it comes to delivering a new curriculum. 

Speaking at the event, Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "I want this to be the start of a wider civic conversation about the future of education in our city. We have a once in a generation opportunity to modernise what is taught, and how it is taught.

"The National Curriculum was first introduced in Wales in 1988. The world has changed a lot since then. The pace of economic, social and environmental change is getting faster, and the way we think about education needs to keep up. 

"We need to think differently, to help our young people be creative and inquiring.  Yes, to know the facts and figures, but more importantly, to help them to interpret and analyse, to separate fact from fiction, and above all else, to ask good questions. 

"We have the opportunity to create an education system which does all these things and more. But the hard work is only just beginning and we all need to take these bold ambitions and make them real in classrooms, homes and businesses across the city." 

The convention got underway in the afternoon, with a market place featuring stalls from the business and education sector, and workshops which included: the creative education partnership; mental health and wellbeing; applied learning opportunities in a new curriculum; and schools as learning organisations. 

Compere for the evening plenary session was Connor Clarke, Year 11 student in St Teilo's Church in Wales High School, and member of the Youth Parliament and Cardiff Youth Council.

Victor Ciunca, Tom Allabarton and Chloe Burrage from the Cardiff Youth Council, were the first speakers to address the audience. They talked about the importance of creating inspired, resilient learners, meaningful engagement with young people, and respect, and collaboration. 

Cardiff Council's Director of Education and Lifelong Learning, Nick Batchelar, said: "The young people speaking at the convention have reminded us of their clear and consistent message: education goes beyond knowledge and skills; it is about creating opportunities. We need to ensure the new curriculum delivers exactly what our children and young people are looking for from their education and training. 

"The key challenge for us all is to recognise the scale of the change that is needed; we must reimagine schools and schooling. The skills and energy of our teachers and our school staff will go a long way in helping us to achieve this, but they cannot do it alone. The perspectives of employers, communities, children, young people and parents are also vital. Education is everybody's business." 

Professor Graham Donaldson also took part in the convention. Professor Donaldson is the author of ‘Successful Futures', which informed the Welsh Government plans for a new national curriculum.

He was joined on stage by Ann Griffin, Head teacher of Whitchurch Primary School, Professor Amanda Coffey, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University, Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales, Ndidi Spencer, CEO of Academy Plus, and Professor Steven Pemberton, Dutch National Research Centre for Mathematics and Informatics. They took part in a question and answer session hosted by BBC Wales Economic Correspondent, Sarah Dickens. 

The key note speech was delivered by Professor Steven Pemberton, from the Dutch National Research Centre for Mathematics and Informatics. Professor Pemberton was instrumental in making the internet and the World Wide Web what it is today. He described how the pace of technological change is accelerating year-on-year, and that the current generation are the first digital natives. 

Children from Ysgol Pencae and Ysgol Nant Caerau, giving a musical performance at the convention.