Implementing curriculum reform in Wales: the case of the Foundation Phase
Oxford Review of Education
The Foundation Phase is a Welsh Government flagship policy of early years education (for 3 to 7year old children) in Wales. Marking a radical departure from the more formal, competency-based approach associated with the previous Key Stage 1 National Curriculum, it advocates a developmental, experiential, play-based approach to teaching and learning. The Learning Country: a Paving Document (NAfW 2001) notes that following devolution, Wales intended to take its own poli di e tio i o de to get the
... o i o de to get the est fo Wales . Buildi g o a th ee-year mixed methods independent evaluation of the Foundation Phase we discuss in detail the aims and objectives of the Foundation Phase, including the context to its introduction, the theory, assumptions and evidence underlying its rationale, and its content and key inputs. We then contrast this with how the Foundation Phase was received by practitioners and parents, how it has been implemented in classrooms and non-maintained settings, and what discernible impact it has had on young hild e s edu atio al out o es. The pape o ludes ith a iti al a al sis of the poli p o ess and identifies a number of contextual issues during the inception of the Foundation Phase that has, it could be argued, constrained its development and subsequent impact. We argue that these constraints are associated with an educational policy landscape that was still in its infancy. In order fo futu e edu atio poli to get the est fo Wales a u e of i po ta t lesso s ust e learnt.