Effective teaching is at the heart of curriculum reform, says Estyn

Estyn has today highlighted how a selection of primary schools from across Wales are leading the way in developing an innovative curriculum in response to the national reform agenda. Leaders in these schools understand the importance of sharing what effective teaching looks like and are supporting staff to be more confident in trying out new ways of teaching and inspiring pupils.

Today’s report, ‘Curriculum innovation in primary schools’, describes approaches that schools should consider when planning a curriculum to develop capable, enterprising and confident learners. The report draws on visits to 30 primary schools and identifies four distinct stages of development in schools as they transform their teaching and learning practices.

Chief Inspector, Meilyr Rowlands, says,

The journey towards curriculum reform needs careful planning. All schools, including primary schools can use the four stages outlined in our report as a structure to support their curricular thinking and professional learning, from self-evaluation and planning, to realising and evaluating change.”

“Estyn is encouraging schools to focus on developing effective methods of teaching to underpin their curriculum plans. This report and the case studies are designed to support schools as they prepare for their new curriculum. For example, Cornist Park Primary School has seen success in all four stages from the foundation phase onwards.”

Curriculum reform at Cornist Park Primary School, Flintshire, began with an audit of their curriculum, identifying strengths and areas for improvement.  From there, leaders planned for change by trialling ‘themed weeks’ on different topics.  By exploring new ways of teaching, the school has been able to implement changes smoothly.  With a continuous cycle of evaluation, review, monitoring and change, the school has seen improvements in pupil creativity, self-esteem and motivation that have had a positive impact on standards.

The report identifies barriers to changing the curriculum successfully. Insufficient planning, inconsistent skills development, and being too tentative can slow down progress. The report highlights in detail what is working well and provides self-evaluation questions to help schools reflect on their own provision.


Notes to Editors:

About the report

  • Estyn’s report ‘Curriculum innovation in primary schools’  was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government and is available in full at https://www.estyn.gov.wales/thematic-reports/search
    Estyn is hosting two conferences on 22 and 24 May where some of the schools from today’s report will deliver workshops to help share their good practice.
  • Inspectors visited 30 schools at different stages of curriculum development covering a broadly representative sample in each region.

Case studies













Vale of Glamorgan


Publication date

Thursday, 17 May, 2018