GCSEs

GCSEs (General Certificates of Secondary Education) are available in a range of subjects. They are the main general qualifications taken by 16 year old learners in Wales. GCSEs span levels 1 and 2 on the CQFW (the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales). They can be used as a basis for further study or training, or direct entry into employment.

Why are GCSEs changing?

It’s important that GCSEs continue to be rigorous and relevant for today’s pupils while meeting the needs of colleges, universities and employers. That’s why, following a review by Welsh Government of qualifications for 14-19-year-olds, a new set of GCSE qualifications are being introduced in Wales.

What is changing in Wales?

The new qualifications are being rolled out over a period of three years between 2015 and 2017.

What is happening in other parts of the UK?

GCSEs in England and Northern Ireland are also being reformed. This means that in future there will be some differences in the GCSEs awarded in each of these three countries.

  • Click here for an infographic on the changes in Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
  • For a more detailed explanation of the of the changes, click here.

One of the most noticeable differences will be in the grades that students receive. GCSEs reformed for Wales will keep the A* to G grades, whereas reformed GCSEs in England will move to a system of grading on a scale of 9 to 1.

It’s important to remember that these changes will not affect the value of GCSEs in Wales. The value of GCSEs taken in Wales will remain comparable to those taken in England and Northern Ireland.

While there will be some differences in the content or the assessment methods used within subjects, the qualifications taken in all three countries will continue to be of the same size and accessible to the same range of students as those they replace.

Where can I get more information?

Use the links above to find more information about the changes we are making to GCSEs and A levels in Wales.

Publications

Friday 5 August, 2016
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE Qualification Principles (81.2 KB)

This document sets out the overarching principles for all GCSEs developed for teaching in Wales from September 2015 onwards. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Subject principles for GCSE English Language (508.9 KB)

This document provides the framework for the development of the specification for GCSE English Language in Wales for first teaching from September 2015. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 29 August, 2014

Subject principles for GCSE Mathematics - Numeracy (266.8 KB)

This document provides the framework for the development of the specification for GCSE Mathematics in Wales for first teaching from September 2015. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 29 August, 2014

Subject principles for GCSE Mathematics (196.3 KB)

This document provides the framework for the development of the specification for GCSE Mathematics in Wales for first teaching from September 2015.
Friday 5 August, 2016

Subject principles for GCSE Welsh Language (508.6 KB)

This document provides the framework for the development of the specification for GCSE Welsh Language in Wales for first teaching from September 2015. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Wednesday 1 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

Criteria for GCSE qualifications (79.7 KB)

This document stipulates the criteria that awarding organisations must use as the basis for the development and accreditation of all GCSEs. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 21 September, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria for English Language (110.4 KB)

Revised September 2012 Applicable for courses commencing teaching September 2012 onwards – with first assessment in January or June 2014 Information. It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 17 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria for English literature (93.5 KB)

It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 17 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria for geography (95.6 KB)

It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 17 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria for history (106.6 KB)

It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Friday 17 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria for religious studies (92.2 KB)

It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.
Sunday 17 February, 2008
Author: Welsh Government

Meini prawf TGAU ar gyfer Cymraeg Iaith Gyntaf (221.4 KB)

Wednesday 1 February, 2012
Author: Welsh Government

GCSE subject criteria in Welsh First Language (172.2 KB)

It will be reviewed by Qualifications Wales in due course. For further information please contact us.