Is the Donaldson Curriculum Outdated?
Howard has completed researched book of papers titled:-
Is the Welsh Donaldson School Curriculum Past it Sell-by Date? A Review of the Scottish Curriculum of Excellence
Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government Education Minister has claimed since the Pisa 2022 results have been published that the new Welsh curriculum which is based on the Scottish "Curriculum for Excellenence" may not improve school standards in Wales. Professor Dylan William, a distinguished leading authority on education, stated this in 2011.
The Scottish "Curriculum for Excellence" was conceived in the 2000’s. It was implemented in 2010. When Professor Graham Donaldson must have written his recommendations for the Welsh curriculum the Scottish Curriculum would have been only three years old. His report that was published in 2015.
There is no evidence that the curriculum has been modified and/or improved since its implementation. There is developing concerns about the validity of the curriculum. There are calls for reform. It would require a huge amount of time to radical reform the curriculum.
The Pisa international assessment have uncertain value. When countries are perceived to perform poorly Pisa there are demands for change. It is the constant educational change undermine developing higher standards rather than reinforcing it. The new curriculum in Wales will take many years to settle down to create any learning benefits from it.
There is no evidence from the decline in Scottish Pisa results there is a case for reforming the curriculum. Pisa is only one of the measures children's performances. It does not assess children's acquisition of a whole curriculum. There is no assessment of teaching standards through observing practice in schools.
The Welsh Curriculum is being developed twenty years after the Scottish curriculum has been conceived. There have been huge developments in education especially since 2018 when the concept of working memory and cognitive overload has become common knowledge. There has been an increasing reliable research into cognitive neuroscience that is also informing on school practice.
There is a distinction between what can be described as a right-wing curriculum where the curriculum is very precisely defined by governments and the left-wing curriculum where schools are given the autonomy to create their own curriculum. There are strengths and weaknesses in both. The National Curriculum was introduced in England and Wales to create a greater uniformity of the curriculum that is taught to children.
There is evidence that the philosophical teaching base of the Curriculum for Excellence is flawed. There is evidence the curriculum is practising the learning ends, the higher order problem solving skills and related capabilities, as opposed to practising the learning means to achieve them.
The Welsh Government has promised not make the mistakes that Scotland made but there are serious issues with the workload associated with applying the curriculum. It will take a huge amount of work to develop a new curriculum in Wales. it will be nightmare for Scotland to create a new curriculum.
The Donaldson curriculum predated the decision of the English governments to allow their academies to create their own curriculum and there has been a debate new about the curriculum. There is new researched on the curriculum which has been written since the Donaldson curriculum was accepted in Wales in 2015. There appears to be need to reappraise the curriculum especially as what is appearing over the horizon, artificial intellience is going to change education as we know it, and what is referred to Third Industrial Revolution wil change occupation opportunties for chidlren.
Professor Dylan that bad curriculum taught well is better good curriculum told badly. Rugby refers to video referees to work out whether a try (Score). They ask the question "Is there any reason not disallow the try?" What must be considered about the new Welsh curriculum is whether the Donaldson curriculum remains relevant to developing a high quality curriculum for Welsh children.
Children only have one life. They only have one education.
The American dream was that no child should be left behind. The leaning potential of children will never be equal. If children with lower learning potential fall behind they must try to catch up with those with higher potential.
Knowledge has always been embedded into understanding. The one cannot exist without the other. It should not be confused with rote encyclopedic knowledge.
Anyone can create high ideals for children's education. Whole books can be written on the Scottish ideals, what they mean and how they can be applied. Professor Robert Plomin genetists suggests that even parents do not have the influence on their children's behaviour as is believed.Dr Micheal Thomas cognitive neuroscientist contends that there are tend 10% of children do not care a damn, whether they are praised or criticised. It unclear of how they can become outstanding citizens.