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Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021

The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (‘the 2021 Act’) establishes the statutory framework for a curriculum for 3 to 16 year olds – the Curriculum for Wales – which is based on areas of learning and experience. The four purposes of a curriculum, as set out in section 2, are to enable pupils and children to develop as:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to live fulfilling lives as valued members of society

The 2021 Act also:

  • sets out the general requirements a curriculum must satisfy
  • makes provision about associated progression and assessment arrangements
  • establishes a continuum of learning for 3 to 16 year olds
  • disapplies the requirement to teach English up to the age of 7
  • includes limited effects on the curriculum for learners above compulsory school age at maintained schools. 

The Senedd produced a Bill Summary, which provides a further useful overview, and the Explanatory Notes to the Act provide detailed commentary on the various provisions.

Coming into force

Part 7 of the Act came into force on 30 April 2021, which was the day after the Act received Royal Assent, in accordance with section 84(1). Section 84(2) to (4) provides that the other provisions of the Act come into force when one or more orders are made by the Welsh Ministers. The following orders have been made:

Subordinate legislation made under the Act

TitleCitation number (for Statutory Instruments only)Made dateComing into force dateSupporting documents 
The Curriculum for Wales – Statement of What Matters Code 15 November 2021  
The Curriculum for Wales – Progression Code 15 November 2021  
The Education (Arrangements for Assessing in the Curriculum for Wales)
Regulations 2022
2022 No. 17 (W. 9)7 January 2022The Regulations come into force for different groups of pupils at different times (from 1 September 2022 to 1 September 2026) – see regulation 1.Explanatory Memorandum
Curriculum for Wales – Relationships and Sexuality Education Code 25 January 2022  
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (Transitional and Saving Provision) Regulations 20222022 No. 111 (W. 39)7 February 20228 March 2022Explanatory Memorandum
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislation) (No. 1) Regulations 20222022 No. 666 (W. 149)14 June 2022Regulations 1 and 2 in force from 1 September 2022, regulations 3 to 13 come into force as set out in regulations 3(2), 4(2), 5(2), 6(2), 7(2), 8(2), 9(2), 10(2), 11(2), 12(2) and 13(2)Explanatory Memorandum
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislation) (No. 2) Regulations 20222022 No. 679 (W. 155)15 June 2022Part 1 of the Regulations – 1 September 2022 
Part 2 of the Regulations – as set out in the individual regulations
Explanatory Memorandum
The Education in Multiple Settings (Wales) Regulations 20222022 No. 676 (W. 153)15 June 2022The Regulations come into force for different groups of pupils at different times (from 1 September 2022 to 1 September 2026) – see regulation 1.Explanatory Memorandum
The Education (Temporary Exceptions for Individual Pupils and Children)
(Wales) Regulations 2022
2022 No. 670 (W. 150)15 June 2022The Regulations come into force for different groups of pupils at different times (from 1 September 2022 to 1 September 2026) – see regulation 1.Explanatory Memorandum
Explanatory Note and Direction under Section 57 of the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 23 June 2022   9am on 24 June 2022 
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (Consequential Amendments) (Primary Legislation) Regulations 20222022 No. 744 (W. 161) 29 June 20221 September 2022Explanatory Memorandum
The Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislation) (No. 3) Regulations 20222022 No. 758 (W. 164)4 July 20221 September 2022, but regulations 7(4), 9(2) (3), 10(3), (5), (7), (8), 11(4), 13(3), 14(3), 15(2) (3), 16(2) (3), 17(2), 19(2) and (3) specify the dates on which specific provisions of Part 2 of these Regulations come into forceExplanatory Memorandum

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd: 

The Bill was introduced by Kirsty Williams MS, (the then) Minister for Education on 6 July 2020 and passed by Senedd Cymru on 9 March 2021.

More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by the Welsh Government (as revised after Stage 2).

The Act received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021.

Related articles and information:

Summary of legislation - Hwb (gov.wales)

Published on
Last updated
03 August 2023