Can the New Welsh Curriculum achieve its purposes?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Jane Gatley

Colleges, School and Institutes


The New Welsh Curriculum sets itself apart from its predecessors through the use of explicit aims; these are the Four Purposes of the New Welsh Curriculum. At the same time, it sets out six Areas of Learning and Experience which incorporate traditional school subjects and emphasise the importance of providing a broad and balanced education. In this paper, I ask whether these two strands, the Four Purposes and the six Areas of Learning and Experience, can be united into a single coherent curriculum. I argue that if the curriculum is entirely driven by the Four Purposes, then much of the content associated with traditional school subjects in the Areas of Learning and Experience is redundant. On the contrary, if the Areas of Learning and Experience are prioritised, then the Four Purposes are unlikely to be met. In response, I propose that the content associated with Areas of Learning and Experience can be understood a prerequisite for meeting the Four Purposes, but the content is not sufficient on its own. This reconciles some of the tension between the two curriculum strands, but means that the Areas of Learning and Experience will need to be supplemented by additional activities in order for the New Welsh Curriculum to achieve its purposes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-214
JournalThe Curriculum Journal
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • curriculum, aims of education, philosophy of education