Welsh history to be ‘mandatory’ part of new curriculum says Plaid-Labour cooperation agreement
The Senedd cooperation agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour includes a commitment to ensuring that Welsh history is a “mandatory” part of the new curriculum to be taught in Welsh schools.
Plaid Cymru had voted against the new curriculum bill in March, saying it provided no guarantee that national Welsh history will be taught to every child in Wales.
But the report says that Welsh history will now be taught and also makes reference to an Estyn report that was critical of the lack of Welsh history taught in Wales’ schools.
Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales, revealed the findings in its report, The teaching of Welsh history including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic history, identity and culture.
The report said: “In a majority of schools, pupils have little knowledge of the historical events that have shaped their local area and can name few significant Welsh people from history.”
The Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement said that they were committed to “improve the teaching of Welsh history, taking account of the Estyn report”.
“We are committed to Welsh history being mandatory in the new Curriculum for Wales. New curriculum resources will be developed to support Welsh history in all its complexity and diversity. National Network conversations will start in early 2022.”
The agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour is a joint policy programme covering 46 areas, ranging from the delivery of free school meals to all primary school pupils; a commitment to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, to long-term reform of the Senedd.
Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers. Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.
Speaking in the Senedd last week, Wales’ Education Minister has said that “Welsh history must never be forgotten” and that he was “considering how to respond” to the Estyn report.
“But one of the things that is clear from the Estyn report is how important it is for our young people to have a clear understanding of Welsh history, including the many and varied diverse aspects of it, including Wales’s role in the slave trade and the race riots,” he said.
“These are important parts of the history of Wales and must never be forgotten.”
He added that next year they would prompt a national conversation in the Spring on next year on the development of resources and supporting materials on Welsh history and local context.
Explaining Plaid Cymru’s decision to vote against the curriculum bill earlier this year, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Minister Sian Gwenllian had said that “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.
“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.”