The New Curriculum for Wales & Blippit Boards

Our thanks to the Headteachers from these primary schools in Wales.
All Saints VA Primary School (Wrexham)
Park Community Primary School Llay (Wrexham)
Ysgol Bryn Gwalia County Primary (Mold)
Ysgol Llandegfan County Primary (Anglesey)

Keen-eyed users of Blippit Boards may notice the arrival of twelve new curriculum tagging categories that support schools in Wales.  If you’ve ever wondered how these things come about and why collaboration with suppliers can be really helpful, then, read on, because this is the journey that led to an exciting new development.

Back in early July 2023, we were contacted by a Primary Head in Wrexham who wanted to have a look at Blippit Boards. Critically, they asked the following question and the ball started rolling.

“Is this something that can be tailored to Wales in terms of subject areas?”

We replied:

Tailoring for the Welsh Curriculum is possible. We haven’t done that as yet but there’s no reason why not.  Perhaps have a play or book a demo first and then if you want to, share a list of subjects with us from the Welsh Curriculum and we would be happy to take a closer look.  We have tailored to cater for other things e.g. church school inspections, catholic school inspections, awards like Eco-Schools etc so it is possible.

We were already working on a feature to let users customise the app, particularly tagging, and Wales was a great catalyst to move this feature up the priority list. Not every school in England and Wales wants to see the same things so this was an important but hard nut to crack. We also found a way to deploy tag categories to specific schools, which will soon be a useful by-product of the collaboration for everybody.

With support from the first Head as the early catalyst for this, we educated ourselves on the Curriculum in Wales as until this point, Blippit had been ‘England-only’. Their help was vital but we also needed to widen the requirements out so that we were more likely to capture a wider view of different Welsh school needs. Also, one Headteacher has only so much time to collaborate!

In August, we shared early Word drafts of where we were at with interpreting and transposing the Curriculum for Wales into Blippit. We didn’t know if it would work for certain and hadn’t even considered a Welsh language update at this time.  It was a requirement that would pop up later as a Head from Anglesey, by chance, got in touch for a demo. It seemed that the universe was guiding us towards Wales as the frequency illusion (aka Baader-Meinhof phenomenon) truly kicked in.

By September, schools from Wrexham, Mold, Merthyr Tydfil and Anglesey had expressed an interest.  Add in a seconded Head and we had 5 schools, with some others in the background who couldn’t join in, with whom a Zoom was arranged thanks to everybody’s willingness and flexibility. We pre-shared ‘where we were at’ ahead of the Zoom to avoid the “this could have been an email” conversation.

In mid-October, we had the Zoom call and took feedback on our progress, as well as taking the opportunity to ask ‘daft questions’.  You have to ask or you don’t find out!

By the end of October, the curriculum was now clearer in our minds thanks to several back-and-forth emails from the Heads afterwards.  We had a solution for providing both English and Welsh language options too, with thanks for the latter option going to one Head from Anglesey whose passion for and everyday use of Welsh as a matter of course helped us to appreciate how important it was to include.

In November, we adapted and released a new version of the app to better manage the space required by the Welsh/English content. It contained the fruit of everybody’s efforts and we were glad to have delivered it with the added bonus of a Welsh flag label on each Welsh category to make customising the app easier for teachers everywhere.

Now, as November turns into December, we have followed the Welsh ripples of change through into the Blippit Dashboard, which has just been updated, to show Welsh filters so that teachers in Wales can easily see their subject big picture in terms of ‘Progression Stages’ and ‘Areas of Learning Experience’ too.

Working collaboratively with schools like this, as you can see from the timeline, can be very dynamic and constructive. Heads have no time for long Zooms, visits or conversations that could have been an email. There’s also got to be something in it for everyone involved.  But, these incredibly helpful people leveraged thoughts from their networks and shared time, thoughts and energy which we hope they will agree has resulted in them influencing the shape of Blippit to better meet their needs in Wales.

There are other helpful side-effects of this collaboration on their way too and we’ll share more about those nearer the time.

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