‘Deeply regrettable’ that new curriculum will pass without mandatory Welsh history element
It’s “deeply regrettable” that a new school curriculum will be made law today without the teaching of national Welsh history being a mandatory element within it, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Minister has said.
Sian Gwenllian said that pupils will be subject to a “postcode lottery” without a “mandatory, common body of knowledge” for schools.
The Bill, which is is due to reach its final stage in the Senedd this afternoon, only stipulates that local history must be taught. That means that pupils might miss out on national Welsh history and the history of BAME communities, Plaid Cymru said.
“It’s very disappointing to see this bill reaching its final stage without Welsh history, including the history of Black people and People of Colour, as a mandatory element of the curriculum,” Sian Gwenllian said.
“Knowing and understanding Wales’ heritage and our place in the world is a right that all Welsh pupils deserve and is crucial in ensuring Welsh pupils are ‘informed citizens of Wales and the world’, as the bill advocates.
“The national story of Wales should be a compulsory part of the new curriculum, included on the face of the Bill and supported with resources and training for teachers. Otherwise, there will be limited guidance for schools on its teaching and implementation and ultimately it will be very unlikely that it’s taught in practice.
“It is deeply regrettable that our children and young people are to be subject to a postcode lottery when it comes to the new curriculum, something which is inevitable without a mandatory, common body of knowledge for schools to teach.”
A petition last year was signed by over 7,000 people, calling for the Welsh Government to “create a common body of knowledge about Welsh history” to be taught at schools.
That was rejected but Education Secretary Kirsty Williams, however, said last month in the Senedd that the contribution of BAME communities will be made statutory by guidance.
“Through statutory guidance, diversity will also be embedded not within a single aspect of learning within history and the area of learning and experience of humanities, but diversity will be embedded throughout the curriculum in every area of learning and experience,” she said.
“I want to ensure, and I have ensured via the ‘what matters’ code, that these areas will be covered right the way across our curriculum.”
The changes will begin to be introduced in 2022 and will affect all children in year three or below.