§ Mr. Richards
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are his proposals for reviewing the national curriculum and its assessment in Wales.
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
I have asked the chairman of the Curriculum Council for Wales to undertake a general examination of the manageability of the national curriculum in Wales. The broad aim of the review will be to examine the existing curriculum and provide advice on the scope for avoiding over-prescription while retaining clear teaching objectives which can lead to higher education standards. The key items which are to be examined are the scope for simplifying the national curriculum either through its coverage or by providing greater clarity and simplification within each of the orders; the arrangements for conducting a longer term rolling review of the curriculum in Wales; and the appropriate means of grading the attainment of individual pupils including formal testing. In carrying out the examination I have asked that the Curriculum Council for Wales should work closely with the review which is being conducted by Sir Ron Dearing at the request of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education.
Sir Ron Dearing will be examining the arrangements in Wales as well as England in his initial review of the testing and assessment of the national curriculum. I have asked him to take into account, as part of that review, the specific considerations which apply to Welsh language subjects and the arrangements for conducting all tests through the medium of Welsh.
The conclusions of both reviews will be taken into account by the Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales when, subject to the approval of the Education Bill currently before Parliament, it is established in April next year. The first priority of the authority will be to take forward an evolutionary programme of review for the national curriculum in Wales and to develop stable assessment and testing arrangements.