An update from the CEO of the Assessment Foundation, Dr Philip Dixon, on the upcoming changes to assessment.

When the final version of Curriculum for Wales 2022 was released in January this year, few of us could have realised the massive disruption and disturbance that was about to take place in our children’s education and the lives of us all. While we should not underestimate the level of upheaval, the really remarkable thing is the way in which schools and teachers across Wales have risen to the challenge. Despite all the obstacles and problems, children have continued on their learning path and assessment for the next steps along that path continue to be made.

It is clear that neither the Welsh Government nor the profession want to lose the dynamism, enthusiasm, and desire that the development of the new curriculum has initiated. The timetable for implementation remains in place, with schools preparing for teaching of the new curriculum in 2021, and we are all called to play our part in delivery for September 2022.

The new system built by you

Here at the Assessment Foundation we have been working hard with schools and teachers to ensure that high quality, reliable, and useful assessments can still be made at this difficult time (see our previous blog for details). But our team has also been working flat out to develop an assessment system that delivers for the bright new world promised by Curriculum 2022. We have been engaging stakeholders across Wales in a series of focus groups and in depth discussions to ensure that what is produced is something formed, owned, and cherished by the profession.

Our experts at your service

As you know this is far from being the first time we have developed new assessment arrangements. The development of the Foundation Phase Profile that replaced the much-derided Child Development Assessment Profile as the baseline and ongoing assessment for 3-7 year olds was led by our Chief Operations Officer, Lucy Ridley, who has taken the reins of leadership in creating the assessment approach.

“I like to call this ‘the 3D curriculum’. There’s a wealth of support in the guidance for linking learning across the AOLEs and What Matter statements. Instead of a simple linear progression, this curriculum respects the natural twists and turns of learning and skill acquisition. The difficulty being, of course, realising a 3D curriculum in a 2D medium – on screen.”

​The AF’s curriculum development team of Sally, Adam, Dan and Lucy, joined by newest recruit, Harry Dunbar.

The creation of a new assessment system fitting to the new curriculum is an effort involving the whole team. Support Manager Adam Wilkinson has taken responsibility for reinventing our Focus Groups online.

“In what has been a very busy and strange period for schools, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far by giving their time to help us in our development sessions – the help has been invaluable as it will help inform our next stage of plans. In spite of the difficulties of this year, being able to hold meetings where we are not restricted geographically has been great. Working closely with groups of schools that have never worked together before has enabled us to facilitate wider and deeper discussions around the new curriculum.”

But don’t just take our word for this – we’ve been delighted to receive positive feedback on our progress.

“Working in Focus Groups with the Assessment Foundation has given us the opportunity to discuss with other provisions how assessment will look in the Wales 2022 curriculum. This has helped us understand that, given the nature of the curriculum, each setting needs to be able to create their own criteria. The Assessment Foundation has listened to professionals in Wales.”
Neil Purcell, The Court School

“The sessions have been very informative and professional. It’s clear that the Assessment Foundation team have been doing a lot of preparation work to ensure that they have a system that is fit for purpose for the new curriculum. It’s also very encouraging that they are utilizing the expertise of the education profession via numerous Teams meetings to ensure that it fits our needs. Great work!!!”
– Steven Cruickshank, Maesgwyn School

So what’s next?

We’ll be sharing more features and updates about our brand new assessment system as we continue to develop new ideas with schools. You’ll be able to…

  • Customise your own assessment framework against the AOLEs, fitted to your school’s needs
  • Plan against the new AOLEs
  • Share individual learning journeys with pupils and parents
  • Use the new system in Secondary as well as Primary schools

How you can help

We’re always looking for the input of schools to our system development – quite simply, we do it all for you! Sign up to our Feedback Group to hear the latest developments for Curriculum 2022, and feel free to email us directly at if you have any questions or suggestions.

Dr Philip Dixon, CEO, The Assessment Foundation


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