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It is clear that cynefin/belonging lies at the heart of the Curriculum for Wales and is at the core of DARPL. As a result, a sense of cynefin for Welsh learners and educators is a powerful cultural root to nurture and grow from. Doing any work within a ‘race’ dynamic is not easy and we view it as essentially ‘gwaith calon’ or ‘work of the heart’.

Set within a backdrop of progressive Welsh policy reform, the new Curriculum for Wales (Welsh Government, 2020) and the landmark Anti-racist Wales Action Plan (ARWAP) (Welsh Government, 2022) are historic points in Welsh education. The Welsh Government envisages that through the implementation of the ARWAP, their ambition of becoming ‘an anti-racist country by 2030’ will be realised. With the support of Welsh Government, we established DARPL in 2021. DARPL offers high-quality professional learning opportunities, training and resources designed to support senior leaders, teachers and practitioners. DARPL has a ‘virtual campus’ which offers high-quality, free, diversity and anti-racism-focused training to education professionals across Wales. It embodies the 51 recommendations which were outlined in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group’s final report (Welsh Government, 2021).

‘The teaching of authentic Welsh history is not just about content but about how we orient to the facts, what we select from history and how far our Welsh and global histories are commonly owned.’

The mandatory teaching of Black and Brown histories in Wales became a statutory aspect of the Curriculum for Wales from September 2023. DARPL is tasked with delivering training on anti-racist professional learning to education professionals in Wales. It is structured around the ideals of a ‘community of practice’ drawing together a unique coalition of academics and partner organisations consisting of practitioners with professional and lived experience, who support practitioners on their anti-racist journeys. The concept of authenticity and cynefin are key to the Curriculum for Wales and its success. Oversimplifying the translation of cynefin into the frame of ‘belonging’ can be unhelpful since within DARPL there are so many facets which relate to ‘belonging’. Enabling cynefin for all learners in Wales and future generations, the teaching of authentic Welsh history is not just about content but about how we orient to the facts, what we select from history and how far our Welsh and global histories are commonly owned. In DARPL we offer a multi-tiered approach to professional learning. This shifts hearts and minds from non-racist ways of thinking to anti-racist teaching and leadership. The following testimonials reflect the positive experience of practitioners who have taken part in DARPL training:

‘Every time I’ve had the opportunity to become involved in DARPL events I am left with a sense of hope.’ (Deputy headteacher)

‘As with any DARPL event that I’ve attended I always leave feeling inspired, motivated and perhaps most importantly, supported.’ (Secondary school teacher)

‘I felt being white and leading a predominantly white workforce at school, the best place for us to start would be ourselves, individually and as a team on a personal and professional learning journey, together. We have made a strong start in terms of self-reflecting; however, decolonising our curriculum feels new and I felt that using what I have learned in DARPL to scaffold a school-team professional learning tool could be not only beneficial for our school but to share with others.’ (Primary school teacher)

The DARPL ‘way’ is a continuum underpinned by emotional intelligence. Its facets include culture, environment, learning and community engagement. Cynefin means long-term commitment, for example, to anti-racist leadership and action, and our hope is that all children and young people feel they belong in Wales. In our DARPL mission we set out to nurture a nation of anti-racist leaders in education, childcare and play work. We provide listening spaces to share habits of mind, attitudes and values. Real change takes time as well as reflection and ongoing conversations. Within our Welsh educational system, the professional standards in education and the four purposes of our Curriculum for Wales advocate strong values, humanity, wellbeing, cynefin, good disposition and ethical business. Racism is incompatible with being a teacher/education leader in Wales. In DARPL we advocate that anti-racism should feature on every school and learning organisation improvement plan. This will truly lead to a sense of cynefin for all. Considering cynefin and identity in the here and now as well as in our shared history takes us positively beyond the idea of mere tolerance.


Welsh Government. (2020). Curriculum for Wales guidance. curriculum-for-wales-guidance.docx

Welsh Government. (2021). Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, contributions
and cynefin in the new curriculum working group: Final report.

Welsh Government. (2022). Anti-racist action plan.