Four stages of curriculum development

The curriculum development self-evaluation model below has been developed in consultation with schools, the Welsh Government and regional consortia. It can be used by all schools to adapt their curriculum in creative and innovative ways. Source: Curriculum innovation in primary schools.

Stage 1: Evaluating the current curriculum within wider self-evaluation arrangements

When evaluating the current curriculum, schools may consider the following key questions:

  • Have you developed effective self-evaluation arrangements to identify what you are doing well and what needs to change?
  • What evidence do you need to consider and who do you need to involve, to evaluate teaching and curriculum planning?
  • To what extent do you promote the four purposes in your current curriculum arrangements?
  • How well do you provide a wide range of enrichment experiences for pupils and recognise their achievements?
  • How do you ensure that pupils build well on what they have learnt as they go through the school or between schools?
  • Are assessment arrangements appropriate and how well do they help pupils improve their own work?
  • How well do you evaluate the effectiveness of your strategic partnerships and community involvement in the curriculum?
  • To what extent are you ready to embrace change and engage with other schools and partners to develop your curriculum?
  • How well do you use staff knowledge, skills and understanding when planning for improvement?

Stage 2: Planning and preparing for change

When planning and preparing for change, schools may consider the following key questions:


  • Do leaders have a clear vision for what to change and why?
  • Have leaders established the right culture and conditions for change? How do you know?
  • Have leaders developed a strong professional learning culture that focuses on developing effective pedagogy?
  • Are there effective systems to pilot new ideas prior to implementation?
  • How well do leaders support and encourage staff to try new ideas?
  • How well do leaders maintain and develop staff’s knowledge and understanding of new curriculum developments?

Stage 3: Realising change

When realising change, schools may consider the following key questions:

  • How well do you monitor specific aspects of the curriculum that you have identified as needing to be changed or refined?
  • What approaches or curriculum changes have been adopted and how effective have they been to date?
  • How well do you support and enable changes to the curriculum?
  • How well do you monitor the impact of new teaching approaches or strategies that you have adopted?
  • How well do you know how effective they are?
  • How well do you introduce these changes?
    • Do you adopt a whole school approach?
    • Do you focus on individual classes or key stages?
    • Do you focus on specific aspects of the curriculum, subjects, or areas of learning?
  • How well do you recognise main barriers to change and how do you address and overcome them?
  • How well do staff and partners (for example pupils, parents and governors) support the realisation of change?

Stage 4: Evaluating change

When evaluating change, schools may consider the following key questions:

  • How well do you evaluate change to consider what is working well and what isn’t, and why?
  • How effectively do you monitor, review and adapt change in Stage 3? Do you involve all stakeholders?
  • How well do you evaluate the impact of change in order to identify what needs to happen next and plan for further improvement?
  • How well do you know which aspects require strengthening or more piloting before implementing them fully?
  • How effective are your arrangements for systematic feedback and how well do you use your evaluation of all aspects of curriculum development from a range of perspectives, to plan future activities and change?
  • How well do you consider the impact of different pedagogy to raise standards of teaching?