Consortia Gwella Ysgolion Rhanbarthol

Regional School Improvement Consortia


The four regions presented to the committee last in relation to progress with Successful Futures and curriculum reform. Since that date the joint work we have done between ourselves and with Welsh Government has led to improvements and greater confidence. Further continued work is required, nevertheless, this is now building on a far clearer footing and with an improved momentum.

Improvements include

1.   Improved communication

2.   Greater Clarity on the changes, and the scale of these changes

3.   Improved collaboration and joint understanding of key partners engaged in the programme

4.   A move towards making clearer links between different aspects of the change programme – eg. Teacher standards and curriculum, assessment and performance measures

5.   Common Professional Learning offer, specifically now for leadership and developing for all workforce including support staff

6.   Increased focus on, and clarity on roles, and accountabilities





Since January

·         The role of Change Board to facilitate work from a range of stakeholders has led to a quicker pace on key projects. Eg reducing teacher workload and supporting the AoLE development.

·         Workshop days with WG colleagues to build their understanding of how schools and regions work, and specifically how change needs to be put in context for schools.

Post September

·         Align the communication of all key organisations to ensure a single message to all stakeholders.



Since January

-       Appointed joint regional consortia and WG identified leads for each Area of Learning and Experience (AoLE) group to work in partnership.  This has provided clear joint leadership to the design and development process.

-       Provided opportunities for AoLE leads to share progress and thinking with each other in order to triangulate developments and identify similarities. 

-       Provided clarity regarding the roles and expectations of pioneer schools and practitioners.  Agreed national standards – regional implementation

-       Clarified role of Welsh Gov and Consortia to deliver this agenda

-       Produced core brief to all pioneers to provide clarity regarding what is required in strand 2

-       Held a national event to draw together the work of curriculum and professional learning pioneer schools. 


Post September

-       Consortia have a key role in the next academic year:        

Keeping all schools informed with developments and discussing implications of developments

Assessing the readiness of all schools to deliver and preparing packages of support to support all schools.

Ensuring pioneer schools engage with their networks of schools to support the development of the new curriculum throughout the system.

-       WG/Consortia develop new core brief to provide clarity regarding the purpose of the next strand of work (strand 3) and to include in the new brief the role of key organisations such as Estyn and Qualifications Wales in supporting the agenda.

-       All regions are using clusters or networks of schools as mechanism to cascade key messages. These will be critical in ensuring the delivery of consistent messages to all teachers.



Since January

-       Jointly Agreed a core brief for all AoLE groups which outlined the tasks that needed to be completed by the end of the last academic year

-       Jointly monitored the progress of AoLEs and intervened as and when necessary

-       Developed a structured regular meetings cycle with all AoLE leads from WG and consortia to:  

o   Review output from each workshop

o   Plan future workshops

o   Discuss progress/issues/challenges

o   Share lessons learned

-       Held a national pioneer conference on 10 -11 July2017which was the first time that practitioners from the three pioneer strands (digital, professional learning and curriculum development) came together to examine and reflect upon the output of the 6 AoLE groups

-       Change management training held for consortia, WG and AoLE leads to support the professional development of teams to lead the change required

Post September  

Increase cross AoLE working (e.g. Science and Technology and Health and Well- being have begun to discuss overlaps)

4          CLEARER LINKS AND PROGRESS (Moving forward)

Since January

There is increased understanding between all parties of the hurdles to progress, with arrangements for solutions to be discussed and actioned.

In addition, links are being made between aspects of the national change programme, that were previously isolated

Curriculum and Assessment are being developed together, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the University of Glasgow are working directly with Pioneer Schools as part of AoLE development. They will support pioneer schools to build evidence based learning progression frameworks and to develop achievement outcomes for the progression reference points. This work will involve talking to learners directly to capture their reflections of their own progression in learning and will also be rooted in teachers’ actual experience of progression in learning.

All AoLE groups also make use of members of the Curriculum and Assessment Group and other national groups. 

The Independent Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Graham Donaldson, has also reviewed progress to date and shared its thoughts on progress.

From September

-       Building on the work of strand 1 and strand 2, in September, the AoLE leads from WG and consortia are coming together with Professor Mark Priestly to:

o   form a single set of recommendations for the AoLE groupsbased on the strand 1 reports and considering the strand 2 proposals to date.

o   ensure a consistency in understanding between the AoLE leads in relation to the ‘big ideas’/what matters approach and facilitate discussion around the level of flexibility that the approach could offer for it to be meaningful for all AoLEs, and appropriate for learners in Wales.

o   Confirm what should be included in the framework to ensure clarity and consistency

-       Provide clear expectations for all AoLE workshops in the Autumn term


5        Professional Learning

Since January


·      Developing the National Approach to Professional Learning. The four consortia have worked in partnership with pioneers to develop a National Approach to Professional Learning, specifically linking Career Development Pathway milestones.  This approach will ensure that practitioners have access to equitable provision throughout their career continuum. 

·         OECD Pilot Group Schools as Learning Organisations (SLO)supporting the  self improving system, informed by international research.  Reflective tools are currently being field tested and WG is working with OECD and consortia to develop a wider implementation plan.

·         professional learning pioneer schools will work with the curriculum pioneers and the wider school network to address emerging implications for professional learning.

·         All regions are committed to making professional learning available to teachers and leaders throughout 2017-2018.  In some cases, the guidance documentation underpinning professional conversations has already been redesigned so that these conversations can be couched in terms of the new standards, and in all regions the application of the new standards to newly qualified teachers makes it essential that key parts of the system are geared to work in line with the new standards.  For example, all mentors supporting NQTs are being trained this term and next to ensure that they make appropriate and effective use of the new standards in support of NQTs.  The Professional Learning pioneer schools in all regions have been involved in the development of the new standards and are equipped to work with NQT mentors and the advisory staff of the regional consortia to ensure that support and training are available.


Post September

Support and training available to help teachers transition to the new standards will be scheduled over time. There will be a growing programme across the areas outlined above in line with the needs of specific schools.

6        Accountability

·         Rewrite of National Model starting soon. This will help clarify the roles of regions as delivery vehicles for WG.

·         All change carries implications for resources, and some of these challenges are already being addressed.  The production of new support and guidance documentation is already under way in all of the regions, and pilots will begin this term in making use of the new standards in dozens of schools across the country.  Some of these schools are Pioneer schools, and are funded to invest in this work in support of the system.  Other schools are engaging on a voluntary basis as part of the regions’ investment in the self-improving-system, and the involvement of these schools carries resourcing implications.  For the workforce of the regions themselves, there is a significant impact in professional development – for example in the case of Challenge Advisers and curriculum or pedagogy advisers who will need to be operating in the terms of both sets of standards this year and moving to the new across the year.  In most cases, regional consortia are working with partners in schools and HEIs to ensure that the new standards fit with the needs of participants in ITE and qualifications-based post-graduate work.

·         Clarity on the expectations of all parties will help with accountability both in the short and longer term.