The implementation of the National Curriculum in Wales
The 1988 Education Reform Act offered remarkable curricular and institutional potential to Wales. It established a separate Curriculum Council for Wales to advise the Secretary of State and this resulted in the development of a distinctly Welsh curriculum for schools. Separate Orders were developed in history, geography, art and music in addition to the Welsh First and Second language Order and a Welsh dimension to the remaining subjects. In 1995 the Curriculum Cymreig (Welsh Curriculum) was given statutory status in every subject. This research focuses on the relationship between policy and practice in Wales in particular the extent to which implementation in the classroom reflects, or contrasts with the original policy. The first chapter traces the development of the Welsh Dimension from 1944 to 1988. The second chapter explores how the Education Reform Act relates to Wales and the third chapter follows the development of the Curriculum Cymreig (Welsh Curriculum) from the 1988 Act to 1st June, 1996. The fourth chapter explores implementation in the classroom through the study of a selection of the Inspectorate's reports and surveys alongside research into the effect of change on schools. The fifth chapter is an outline of the nature of the research, the selection of research process, the choice of participants and an evaluation of the methods used. It was decided that the optimum research process was the interview of key educational decision makers of major educational agencies in Wales, a report of which is outlined in chapter six. The conclusion of this research, as outlined in chapter seven, is that despite its historically disadvantaged start, the development of the distinctiveness of the Welsh curriculum is remarkable. However, although its profile appears to be rising, it is surprising that no reference is made to it in either the Bright Future series or in the Parents' Charter. Furthermore, its status and its development is hindered by loose monitoring and assessment strategies at every key stage and freedom of choice of both subjects and examination boards at Key Stage 4.