Action! Is it time for a new film GCSE in Wales?

If there’s one thing that living in lockdown has shown, it’s how much our lives revolve in some way or other around the arts – and how much we miss them.

With live concerts and plays cancelled and cinemas closed, most of us have been glued to the TV consuming box sets of dramas and comedies as a welcome relief from the continuing bad news. 

Qualifications Wales understands the importance of expressive arts in people’s lives. As part of our Qualified for the future consultation, we’ve looked carefully at the range of subjects available at GCSE and put forward proposals to improve them in line with the new curriculum for Wales. 

One of the key proposals is to create a new GCSE in film and digital media to replace the existing GCSE Media Studies and GCSE Film Studies qualifications. 

Wales has seen a big growth in TV and film production in recent years, not only with BBC productions such as Doctor Who and Casualty, but also from independent companies producing programmes for BBC, S4C, ITV and international networks. 

The proposed qualification would support progression to a range of subjects and career pathways within the expressive arts and wider creative industries, a growth sector here in Wales and beyond with the continuing expansion of online streaming services. 

But the review isn’t all about film and digital. It’s proposed that the current GCSEs in art and design, drama and music are reviewed, offering learners and schools the flexibility to concentrate on one or more aspects of the expressive arts alongside their other studies. 

The qualifications would focus on individual disciplines, allowing learners to develop their creativity while gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to support further progression in their chosen discipline. 

The consultation also looks at dance. Although the number of learners taking a GCSE in dance is low so we don’t think a new dance qualification just for Wales would be possible, the consultation recommends a choice of qualifications from elsewhere that assess dance should continue to be available for learners and schools.  

The Qualified for the future consultation also includes proposals for GCSEs in languages, maths, humanities, science and technology and health and wellbeing as well as the expressive arts. The consultation document and details of how you can have your say can be found on the Qualifications Wales website. 

By Emyr George, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales