The expressive arts will be one of six areas of learning and experience that will take the place of traditional subjects as Wales approves a radical overhaul of its curriculum for primary and secondary schools.

Photo of girl dancing

Joe Green (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Wales will implement all recommended changes to the curriculum issued in the ‘Successful Futures’ report, which Arts Council of Wales’s Chief Executive, Nick Capaldi, called: “The clearest possible endorsement of the value of putting arts and creativity at the heart of the curriculum.”

Expressive arts will be one of six ‘areas of learning and experience’ that the Welsh national curriculum for ages 3 to 16 will adopt in place of traditional subjects. The other areas are: health and wellbeing; humanities; languages, literacy and communication; mathematics and numeracy; and science and technology.

Success will be measured against four key ‘purposes’ of education: supporting young people to become ambitious, capable learners; enterprising, creative contributors; ethical, informed citizens; and healthy, confident individuals.

The report, written by Professor Graham Donaldson, described the expressive arts as providing “opportunities to explore thinking, refine, and communicate ideas, engaging thinking, imagination and senses creatively”. This area of the curriculum will span the making, performance, expression and appreciation of art, drama, music, dance, film and digital media. The report anticipates it will provide “many opportunities” for students to visit theatres and galleries, and provide an incentive to bring artists and musicians into the classroom.

Welcoming the move, the Arts Council of Wales said: “In its commitment to implementing Successful Futures, the Welsh Government has signalled one of the biggest changes in a generation of the way that the curriculum is delivered in Wales’ schools. Successful Futures emphasises the importance of creativity in enriching classroom learning and in enhancing the professional skills of teaching professional.”

Announcing the move, Education Minister Huw Lewis said: “The teaching profession must now play a central role in delivering the new curriculum.” ‘Pioneer Schools’ will work closely with a range of partners to lead on the design and development of the new curriculum. An Independent Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Donaldson, will be established to help implement the changes.

A photo of Frances Richens