And it’s only partly because the Welsh rugby team is so much more successful than my native Ireland’s.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all used devolution to make significant changes to their curricula. The potentially far reaching impacts were brought home to me when I attended a meeting of the Nuffield Review of 14-19‘s Core Group last Friday – a fascinating event from which I learned a huge amount, and certainly much more than I contributed (sorry!).
In particular, a really informative presentation by Richard Daugherty on developments in the Welsh education system since devolution touched on the increasingly popular Welsh Baccalaureate (WBQ). This and subsequent conversations highlighted the importance of a distinction between subject and qualifications led systems (as it seems will still largely be pursued in England even taking Diplomas into account), and the idea of an truly encompassing programme of study which the WBQ comes closer to.
From an RSA Opening Minds standpoint, such a coherent programme could ensure a broader curriculum for all even after Key Stage 3. Students could specialise in science, but not completely lose humanities or the arts. Crucially, however, such a programme of study could enable schools to carry forward something like the Opening Minds framework beyond Key Stage 3, where it normally stops when students pick their GCSE’s.
It’s early days, but devolution seems to mean that these are exciting times for young people going to school in Wales.