At the end of April, we saw the long-awaited publication of the new draft curriculum for Wales, set to take effect in 2022. Traditional subject boundaries have been scrapped and replaced with six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs), designed to work together as part of an all-inclusive curriculum, as recommended by Professor Graham Donaldson CB in his report Successful Futures.
The AoLEs include core areas of study such as literacy, numeracy and science, but also recognise expressive arts and health and wellbeing as equally important. The Health and Wellbeing AoLE not only aims to support children and young people’s physical health, but their mental health and emotional wellbeing as well. The curriculum shines a light on the importance of developing fulfilling relationships, a robust stress regulation system and empathy, and recognises wellbeing as a vital element of successful learning.
It is exciting to see so many aspects of the new curriculum that align with the principles of Thrive and echo the theory that is central to our Approach. Both the Vision and Philosophy of the Health and Wellbeing AoLE, and the What Matters Statements, emphasise the importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing, and acknowledge that relationships play a fundamental role.
With training for adults on key concepts, language, and how to teach self-awareness, the new curriculum presents great opportunities. This is an important move in ensuring a whole-school approach to supporting the social and emotional development of children and young people – so they can thrive.