Involving people in the qualifications system has never been more important

We are keen to hear the views of people across the education spectrum.

Our latest stakeholder research highlights the importance of involving the people and organisations of Wales in our work.  

We know that education and qualifications directly affect people’s lives, futures, families, and livelihoods. Many people and organisations are involved and interested in their delivery. We work with learners, parents, carers, teachers, lecturers, and exams officers, awarding bodies, employers, FE and HE institutions and Welsh Government and the media. This year we will involve teachers, lecturers and experts to inform our thinking about our Qualified for the Future programme to reform qualifications for learners aged 14-16.   

Following our annual stakeholder survey which was published in July, this research was qualitative consisting of over 60 interviews with a range of our stakeholders. 

Some of the key findings of the research were: 

  • Stakeholders have confidence in the quality of general qualifications. GCSEs, AS and A levels were often singled out for being familiar, credible, accepted qualifications with value and currency. 
  • Retaining AS level as part of the A level examination grade in a normal year  was considered a positive step for Wales. Vocational qualifications were also associated with having value and currency but not always to the same extent. 
  • The range of non-degree qualifications available in Wales was cited as a positive factor which influenced confidence. 
  • The quality and rigour of qualifications were highlighted as instilling confidence in qualifications in Wales. 
  • The Skills Challenge Certificate was valued because it helps to equip learners with important skills to move on to A levels, degree qualifications and with progression into the workplace. 
  • There were concerns about the relevance of certain vocational qualifications to the workplace, and their value to employers; the choice of vocational qualifications available for schools; redesign issues with new qualifications; and, for some work-based learning providers, limited flexibility with how the qualifications are delivered and assessed. 
  • There was concern about some schools not offering GCSE Music or some modern foreign languages because of low uptake and budgetary constraints.  

A key theme was that qualifications meet the needs of learners in Wales. Confidence in qualifications system and in Qualifications Wales was reasonably high. 

We engage with our stakeholders in many ways, from specific consultation events to sustained collaboration, from surveys to social media. We have four key stakeholder groups who support our work and provide invaluable contributions to our reform work and, during the past two years, to our response to the issues caused by the pandemic.  

Our plans for the coming year  

We know we need to keep people involved and well informed with our work we will do this  by:  

  • Providing clear information for learners, parents, schools, and colleges about the assessment arrangements for summer 2022 
  • Increasing and improving engagement with our audiences  
  • Developing our communications strategy to focus on improving public understanding of our role as regulator for qualifications in Wales  
  • Working  more closely and communicating directly with learners and seeking their views and input into the reform of qualifications for 14-16 year olds.  We will also set up our first learner advisory group for vocational and work-based learners.