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Arts to be essential component in proposed new Welsh curriculum

The Welsh government is proposing a new curriculum in which schools would be required to provide a "broad and balanced curriculum" in which the arts would become one of six core areas. Photo: Shutterstock
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Arts subjects would be embedded into the national curriculum for Wales under new proposals from the Welsh government.

Teachers would also be encouraged to use the arts to teach other areas of the curriculum, for instance using scriptwriting to improve punctuation in literacy and using dance to teach aspects of maths.

The Welsh government is proposing a new curriculum in which schools would be required to provide a “broad and balanced curriculum” in which the arts would become one of six core “areas of learning and experience”.

These are the expressive arts; health and well-being; humanities; languages, literacy and communication; mathematics and numeracy; and science and technology.

Expressive arts covers five disciplines: art, dance drama, film and digital media, and music, with all learners entitled to access all five subjects.

The release of the draft curriculum follows widespread concerns in the theatre industry that the arts are being sidelined in secondary schools, with figures including Andrew Lloyd Webber having criticised “short-sighted cuts” to the arts.

Andrew Lloyd Webber criticises ‘short-sighted’ arts education cuts

The Welsh government has launched a consultation on the proposals with schools, children, parents and other stakeholders, which will end on July 19.

Curriculum for Wales 2022, which covers pupils aged three to 16, will then be refined and made available in January 2020 to be rolled out from September 2022.

Speaking in a video released as part of the draft curriculum, teacher Kay Smith said: “I think it’s important for us to remember that the arts could have been perceived as dying in education, but actually in Wales we’re embracing it and I think that’s so vital and important and exciting for me as a teacher.

“An arts-rich education is core to the whole school experience as a learner. All learners, surely, need to have access to rich contexts in which they have time to explore and to respond and create.”

Study launches to assess the effect of arts education on young people

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