Paper at BERA 2017: “Fframwaith Cymhwysedd Digidol: Rethinking Digital Competencies in the New Welsh Curriculum”

On Tuesday, Gary Beauchamp and I will be presenting a paper at the 2017 British Education Research Association Conference, on the development of the Digital Competence Framework over the past two years, as part of our ongoing work with the new Curriculum for Wales.

As you can see from the abstract below, it presents the first detailed analysis of how the Framework was developed, along with commentary on its ongoing implementation and how it fits with the rest of the Curriculum for Wales implementation; this is the first paper from a larger piece of research, with further outputs on the way.

If you are attending BERA2017 at the University of Sussex, come and listen to our talk on Tuesday afternoon.

Fframwaith Cymhwysedd Digidol: Rethinking Digital Competencies in the New Welsh Curriculum

Tom Crick and Gary Beauchamp

Since 2010, there has been significant scrutiny of ICT in education across the UK — from substantial (and ongoing) computing curriculum reform (Brown et al., 2014), through to the challenges of developing digital competencies of both teachers and students. Wales has taken a different path in rethinking its ICT curriculum compared to England (Crick & Moller, 2016); and is now in the midst of wholesale curriculum reform, with profound pending changes to the structure and monitoring of education, influenced by an ICT curriculum review (Arthur et al., 2013) and an independent review of the whole curriculum (Donaldson, 2015).
In this paper we reflect upon the process of developing a new Digital Competence Framework for Wales via a practitioner-led pioneer model of innovative leaders in their field, in partnership with key stakeholders. This group of “Digital Pioneers” — along with oversight from a quality assurance group — developed the Framework, which was made available from September 2016 (Welsh Government, 2016). For the first time — and unique in the UK — this framework places digital competencies on a par with literacy and numeracy as the three key cross-curricular priorities to be embedded across the entire curriculum, with all teachers having responsibility.
We present our first detailed analysis of this process based on semi-structured interviews with the core Digital Pioneer group and other key stakeholders (including policymakers and industry), as well as quantitative analysis of responses from a larger group of primary and secondary schools. This analysis leads us to introduce an emerging model of change, which identifies key features of this practitioner-led curriculum development model, and preliminary judgements about the success of such a model and its scalability.


Arthur, S., Crick, T. and Hayward, J. (2013). “The ICT Steering Group’s Report to the Welsh Government”.

Brown, N., Sentance, S., Crick, T. and Humphreys, S. (2014). “Restart: The Resurgence of Computer Science in UK Schools”. ACM Transactions on Computer Science Education, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 1–22.

Crick, T. and Moller, F. (2016). “A National Engagement Model for Developing Computer Science Education in Wales”, in Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Informatics in Schools (ISSEP 2016).

Donaldson, G. (2015). “Successful Futures: Independent Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales”. Cardiff: Welsh Government

Welsh Government (2016). “Learning Wales: Digital Competence Framework”. Cardiff: Welsh Government

(also see: Publications)

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