Top 10 ranked Pioneer School unveils new curriculum ahead of national rollout

A LEADING school is helping to shape education in Wales after unveiling a new curriculum and bright vision for the future.

Ysgol Eirias in Colwyn Bay was among a group of ‘Pioneer Schools’ focused on teaching methods and staff development and training, having applied to Welsh Government to be part of the process of improving the education system.

As part of that movement, the school has introduced a new curriculum for Year 7 pupils in past weeks – ahead of a national rollout in 2023 – and having embraced technological advances during the Covid-19 pandemic is well placed to support learners for years to come.

Ahead of its open evening on Wednesday October 5, headteacher Sarah Sutton said Ysgol Eirias – named among the Top 10 Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ high-performing schools in Wales – will be in an even stronger position post-pandemic.

“We were one of the first pioneer schools as part of the new Curriculum for Wales, which was an honour for all of us,” said Mrs Sutton.

“It has developed over the last five years and stalled due to the pandemic, but we are pleased to have now implemented the changes.

“The idea behind it was more about culture than content, so as one of the few early adopters of the curriculum we believe it will be of huge benefit to students and pivotal to our growth as a school.”

Mrs Sutton said work behind the scenes – including regular action research groups and a spotlight on numeracy, digital and literacy skills – will be pivotal post-pandemic.

“The curriculum is now fully operational for Year 7 and will be for Years 7 and 8 from next September, so we have a head-start in that sense and are adapting new methods of learning and experience in subject areas including Maths, Literacy, Expressive Arts, Humanities, Health and Wellbeing, and Science and Technology.

“As important as the academic side is, we are also building on our ethos of care and wellbeing; our motto ‘Succeeding Together’ has never been more important given the challenges of the past few years and everything the children were put through, from self-isolation and lockdown to remote learning and being unable to see their friends.

“The resilience they’ve shown has been inspirational, so we are doing even more to support them, which includes the development of vital skills which underpin everything we do, particularly in Year 7 when pupils are at the beginning of their journey with us.”

Following exceptional A Level and GCSE results, Mrs Sutton said they will now look ahead to the event next month and welcome families and prospective students for our first open evening in -person since 2019.

“For the pupils to have been so successful and remained so strong after everything they’ve been through is testament to them, our incredible teachers and support staff for the guidance and care they’ve demonstrated,” she said.

“While in uncharted territory we embraced new ways of working, and learning, and a lot of these innovations will remain – virtual meetings and pupil data management systems such as Talaxy – to make us even more efficient and prepared for whatever the future holds.”

Mrs Sutton added: “As we return to a more ‘normal’ school routine I would like to again thank everyone here at Ysgol Eirias, and to those joining us for our open evening next month, we look forward to seeing you soon.”

The open evening takes place on Wednesday October 5 from 4.30pm – 7.30pm. For more information, visit the website or call 01492 532025. Alternatively, email