Global Learning Programme Wales

Learning about developing countries and development

GLP-W theme:

GLP-W outcomes:

Development concerns change, and (often) change for the better. Although the idea often concerns economic progress, development also has social, cultural and political dimensions. It can also be seen across different scales, from personal e.g. through education through local, national and global. 

Development is often assumed to happen in other places and to other people. But how change happens in the local area often has much in common with development globally. So investigating local change is an interesting and concrete way into investigating this concept, especially for younger pupils, and of helping to focus on the commonality of ‘here’ and ‘there’. It may also help explore different models of development, for example small-scale grass-roots changes based in the school or community, compared with programmes originating from top-down decisions from government or business. The process of development is central to poverty reduction, and linked to the concepts of interdependence and globalisation.

Development also relates to ideas about global development and progress, and to developing countries. Defining which countries are ‘developing’ is increasingly tricky. As many countries of the ‘South’ make rapid progress in their development, dividing the world up into North and South, or More or Less Developed, has less validity: the Gapminder website illustrates this graphically. Similarly, it is near impossible to say what the characteristics of ‘developing countries’ as a group are. It is often more productive to start with investigating individual places, what they are like and how they are changing, and how they are linked to the rest of the world.

So the idea of development can be explored in a wide range of subject, cross-curricular and extra-curricular contexts, and from different perspectives, for example sustainable development. As with other concepts, there is a strong link with the development of pupils’ thinking as global citizens, including their ability to think critically.

Key questions for investigation:

Contexts for investigation (from ESDGC A Common Understanding for schools, Welsh Government guidance):

Foundation Phase

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 3

Whole school case studies

Curriculum case studies

GLP-W school examples will be available shortly.

Curriculum links

Welsh policy context:

  • Poverty reduction, sustainable development;
  • Promoting the economic, social and environmental wellbeing and people’s quality of life in Wales;
  • Healthy, productive people and vibrant, inclusive communities.


ESDGC Themes:


  • Wealth and poverty
  • Choices and decisions
  • The natural environment

Curriculum Cymreig:



  • Gaining knowledge of one’s own community and its values and traditions


  • Learning about sustainable development in Wales and the wider world.
  • Understanding that opinions on issues such as sustainability can be expressed through the decision-making process in Wales.