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.
- Which subjects are changing and when will the be introduced?
- What resource are available to support the new qualifications?
- How are science GCSEs changing?
- What’s new about GCSE Welsh Second Language?
- What is the approval criteria for new GCSE subjects in 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.