This study is part of the OECDs efforts to support countries in the design and effective implementation of their education policies, grounding these efforts on evidence, and multidisciplinary tools and approaches.

Wales is committed to providing high-quality and inclusive education for all its citizens. It in 2011 embarked on a large-scale school improvement reform that has become increasingly comprehensive and focused on the ongoing development and implementation of a new, 21st century school curriculum. Wales considers the development of schools as learning organisations a key means for empowering them to bring the new curriculum to life. It recognises this will require concerted effort and in many cases it will mean that teachers, support staff, school leaders and many others involved will need to expand their skills. As such, the development of a thriving learning culture in schools and other parts of the education system is expected to play a pivotal role in putting the curriculum into practice in schools throughout Wales.

This report aims to support Wales in realising this objective. It assesses the extent to which schools in Wales have developed as learning organisations, and identifies areas for further improvement – at both school and system levels.

Following an introduction to this report and a description of Wales’ school system (Part I, Chapter 1) the report is organised the following:

  • Part II, the Schools as Learning Organisations Assessment, describes and analyses the extent to which the key characteristics of a learning organisation already exist in schools. It uses Wales’ schools as learning organisations model as point of reference to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Both a general assessment (Chapter 2) and a more detailed analysis are provided (Chapter 3). It concludes by proposing some “points of reflection and action for schools” to consider as they embark on the journey to develop as learning organisations.

  • Part III, System Assessment for Developing Schools as Learning Organisations, analyses the system-level conditions that can enable or hinder schools developing into learning organisations. It explores the question of what system-level policies are enabling or hindering schools to develop as learning organisations, and offers a number of concrete recommendations for strengthening policies, enhancing policy coherence and further policy action (Chapter 4).

It continues by exploring the question of how Wales can ensure the effective implementation, or “realisation” as it is often referred to in Wales, of its schools as learning organisations policy (Chapter 5). It concludes with a number of recommendations for consideration by the Welsh Government and other stakeholders at various levels of the system.

I hope this report will support Wales in its reform efforts and help realise its ambitions for its children and young people by bringing its new, 21st century curriculum to life in schools across the country. The OECD is there to help Wales in this effort.


Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor

on Education Policy to the Secretary-General


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