What do young people at Olchfa School think about the New Curriculum for Wales?

Councillors from the Schools Scrutiny Performance Panel met with pupils from the Olchfa Comprehensive School Advisory Panel to discuss their thoughts about the New Curriculum for Wales and how the pilot study is progressing at their school.

They were asked to consider

  • How the school is helping them to prepare for life?
  • What they think the school does well and what it could do better?
  • Whether they feel they have a say in decisions affecting the school and their learning?

The key messages from the pupils about the new curriculum were:

  1. It is good because learning is now more linked to pupils day to day life, for example in maths learning about elevation and this being linked to map work or architecture.
  2. Skills learnt in these types of lessons are skills needed for life.
  3. Respect is important to ‘both school life and for life outside…it is very important for pupils to have a voice: every pupil in the school must have a voice. Pupils must feel that their opinions matter’.
  4. Young people thought that learning about their own culture and identity and that of others was important.
  5. Lessons are teaching us skills that also help build pupils confidence, so they can then become more involved and willing to give their views.
  6. Pupil Voice has been the biggest difference at the school. For example: pupils decided on which subjects would be looked at in Personal and Social Education this year. ‘Pupils then see this happening which proves they have the ability and confidence to put their ideas forward this will help them with life.’
  7. The way things are taught now allows everyone to get involved. Not just about exams but developing ideas and to think about and question them. Reflection time is also good for exploring different ideas and experience.
  8. More freedom in how things are done so we can learn and develop our own learning styles. Can therefore be more creative and have more ownership of the learning process.
  9. More respect between teachers and pupils which results in pupils feeling that they can have their say more, which helps pupils to be more engaged and enjoy lessons.
  10. When asked what the school could do better, pupils said that the needs of every pupil in relation to food/meals could be addressed. That the food available does not have many vegetarian options and does not cater for examples for Halal or vegan etc.  The pupils thought that to enable full equality the school meals available should be reflective of pupils needs.

Councillors have written to the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning to share what they had learnt and have asked her to give the panel further on what is being done across schools in Swansea to ensure that we are reflecting the varied needs of pupils within the school meals that are offered, for example vegetarian, vegan, Halal.  Also how we can build upon the positive impact that rights respecting schools have had and how we can further develop the themes of culture and identity?

A response is due from the Cabinet Member later in December.

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