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One of the leading figures in Welsh education was invited to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to inspire the next generation of teachers.

Education expert and author of the Welsh Government’s ‘Successful Futures’ report, Professor Graham Donaldson, gave the keynote address at UWTSD’s annual ‘Aiming for Excellence’ conference about his proposals for a new national curriculum.

In March 2014, Professor Donaldson was commissioned by the Welsh Government to consider and review the Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales.

His subsequent ‘Successful Futures’ report looks at the current curriculum in Wales and offers numerous radical proposals for change.

Scores of ‘Pioneer Schools’ have been charged with fleshing out the detail of Professor Donaldson’s proposals and that work is ongoing.

UWTSD’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education is drawing heavily upon Professor Donaldson’s work to support the development of its new teacher education programmes.

During his headline address, Professor Donaldson explained in detail how the curriculum would be implemented and what the implications were for both future and existing teachers.

He was joined on stage by current and former students, who presented on their early time in school and journey through higher education, and pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Ynystawe, in Swansea.

Partner schools, education experts and Yr Athrofa staff were also invited.

Following the conference, Professor Donaldson said: “Conferences of this kind are really what the whole Successful Futures development in Wales is all about. It’s giving those who are going to be at the heart of making it happen, the opportunity to come together to engage with what it is we are trying to do and to re-inforce each other.

“What came through to me today was at one level continuing huge enthusiasm and determination to take this forward and make it work for the young people of Wales, but also bringing together the young people from the school at the start of the day, seems to me to be critical at these type of events because it’s all about the children.”

The ‘Aiming for Excellence’ conference is arranged annually with the aim of bringing all BA Ed Primary, PGCE Primary and PGCE Secondary student teachers together in order to share good practice as they prepare for a career in teaching.

Event organiser Mathew Jones, from Yr Athrofa, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Donaldson for his contribution to this year’s education conference. This conference was an ideal opportunity for our students to share the stage with somebody like Professor Donaldson but also to demonstrate their achievements and to share good practice.

“Listening to Professor Donaldson speak about the Successful Futures report was very exciting for our students and I know that this experience will be hugely beneficial to them as they look ahead and embark on a career in the teaching profession.

“Once again it was an extremely successful conference with over 450 students attending the event with a further 300 viewing online. The conference is now in its fifth year and is going from strength to strength. I’m very much looking forward to next year’s event as we hope to build further on this year’s success.”

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