Plaid call for assurances that Welsh history will be part of new school curriculum

Criccieth castle. Picture by Mark Bradley

Plaid Cymru have called for assurances that Welsh history will be a central part of the new curriculum for Wales.

The draft Curriculum for Wales confirmed there will be a national framework for schools to build on and develop their own curriculum.

However, there will be no guide or syllabus. History, rather than Welsh History, will be in a list of subjects to be taught under Humanities.

Sian Gwenllian AM, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, has expressed concern than not to specifically include ‘Welsh history’ in the framework would mean that there would be no guarantee that Welsh history, or historic events within Welsh history, would feature within the new curriculum.

Ms Gwenllian has proposed ‘History’ therefore be changed to ‘The History of Wales and the World’ for clarity.

She added that the new curriculum was a ‘real opportunity’ to ensure that no pupil is deprived of the chance to learn about Welsh history but warned that without the relevant expertise, training and resources, the legislation will not create the ambitious change it promises.

“No pupil in Wales should be deprived of the chance to learn about Welsh history,” she said.

“The teaching of Welsh history is a key component of helping the next generation to become informed and engaged citizens of not only Wales but of the world and the new Curriculum for Wales is a real opportunity to do just that.

“Currently it is History, rather than Welsh History, that is in the list of subjects to be taught under Humanities. I propose ‘History’ be changed to ‘The History of Wales and the World’ for clarity because at the moment we simply don’t know whether the subsequent guidelines will detail which period of Welsh history, or historic events within Welsh history, will feature within the new curriculum.

“The principle behind the new curriculum to give teachers the freedom to be creative when teaching their subject is commendable and demonstrates a recognition of the abilities of our teachers.

“However, when it comes to practicalities, the government’s proposals are arguably too vague and could result in inconsistency and inequality. We need detail on how the new curriculum will be implemented – particularly in a climate of cuts to schools budgets.

“Teachers must be given adequate time and training to get to grips with the new curriculum. And crucially, for the teaching of Welsh history, adequate teaching resources need to be sourced and developed. Good practice must be harnessed and universities need to play their full part in developing new, exciting tools that teachers can use when planning their lessons.

“All pupils should receive the same opportunities to learn about Welsh history in all its forms in a way that challenges and inspires them. But at the end of the day, if the expertise, training and resources aren’t available, the legislation will not bring about the change we all want to see.”

The New Curriculum for Wales is planned for implementation from 2022.

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