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The Four Purposes

The Four Purposes


The new curriculum is underpinned by four purposes which will be at the heart of all learning. Everything that is taught and learnt at school will have the four purposes as its starting point. When pupils and staff plan for enriched learning experiences, they will incorporate on the four purposes.


The four purposes are exactly the same for pupils from Nursery to Year 6 but may look different in each class.  Helping our children master the four purposes will enable them to better access the curriculum, and develop important lifelong learning skills.




The Four Purposes

Integral skills

The four purposes are also underpinned by integral skills developed within a wide range of learning and teaching. At the heart of these skills is the importance of learners recognising, using and creating different types of value - worth and importance in a range contexts, including financial, cultural, social and learning value.


  • Creativity and innovation

    Learners are given space to be curious and inquisitive, and to generate many ideas. They are supported to link and connect disparate experiences, knowledge and skills, and see, explore and justify alternative solutions. They identify opportunities and communicate their strategies. This support learners to create different types of value.

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving

    Learners are supported to ask meaningful questions, and to evaluate information, evidence and situations. They analyse and justify possible solutions, recognising potential issues and problems. Learners become objective in their decision-making, identifying and developing arguments. They are able to propose solutions which generate different types of value.

  • Personal effectiveness

    Learners develop emotional intelligence and awareness, becoming confident and independent. They have opportunities to lead debate and discussions, becoming aware of the social, cultural, ethical and legal implications of their arguments. They evaluate their learning and mistakes, identifying areas for development. They become responsible and reliable, being able to identify and recognise different types of value and then use that value.

  • Planning and organising

    Where developmentally appropriate, learners are able to set goals, make decisions and monitor interim results. They are able to reflect and adapt, as well as manage time, people and resources. They are able to check for accuracy and be able create different types of value.

  • The development of these skills allows learners to work across disciplines, providing them with opportunities for both synthesis and analysis. There is particular potential for innovation in making and using connections between different disciplines and Areas.
  • When developing these skills, learners:
    • develop an appreciation of sustainable development and the challenges facing humanity
    • develop awareness of emerging technological advances
    • are supported and challenged so that they are prepared to confidently meet the demands of working in uncertain situations, as changing local, national and global contexts result in new challenges and opportunities for success
    • are afforded the space to generate creative ideas and to critically evaluate alternatives – in an ever-changing world, flexibility and the ability to develop more ideas will enable learners to consider a wider range of alternative solutions when things change
    • build their resilience and develop strategies which will help them manage their well-being – they should be encountering experiences where they can respond positively in the face of challenge, uncertainty or failure
    • learn to work effectively with others, valuing the different contributions they and others make – they should also begin to recognise the limitations of their own work and those of others as they build an understanding of how different people play different roles within a team.