GCSE brand stays in Wales after public consultation

Thursday 04 Jun 2020

Qualifications Wales today published the results of its Qualified for the future consultation looking at the qualifications required to meet the needs of future learners and support the new curriculum. 

The regulator has decided: 

  • The guiding principles that will shape the future range of qualifications for 16-year-olds; 
  • That the GCSE brand name should stay, and; 
  • To co-ordinate reform of the Skills Challenge Certificate with changes to other qualifications taken at 16. 

These decisions follow a consultation which ran from November to February. This was the first in a series of consultation exercises planned by Qualifications Wales. 

There was strong support for retaining the GCSE brand, with 77% of those who responded said they either strongly agreed or agreed that the name be kept. 

Qualifications Wales will, however, consider how GCSEs will be designed in future. That includes looking at their content, their assessment arrangements and the range of subjects in which they will be available. 

Hundreds of people responded to our consultation, including learners and teachers, as well as many others in the education sector and members of the public,” said Emyr George, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform. 

“We want qualifications to adapt so that they continue to meet the needs of future learners and help them to get the most out of the new Curriculum for Wales,” he said.  

“For example, we expect to see more use of digital technology, better bilingual provision, and more of a mix of assessments methods.” 

Qualifications Wales has decided that qualifications eligible for public funding must support the aims and purposes of the new curriculum for Wales; they must be available in both Welsh and English, and they must contribute to a coherent and inclusive offer. 

Views were divided on plans to press ahead with developing a new skills-based qualification for 16-year-olds. 

“We want to make sure any changes to the Skills Challenge Certificate will be coherent with other qualifications taken at 16,” said Mr George. “We will wait to consult on reforms to this qualification until after we have decided what the full range of qualifications for 16-year-olds will look like.” 

The full report can be found on the Qualifications Wales website. 

The next Qualified for the future consultation phase is planned for December 2020 and will delve deeper into the shape of future qualifications. This includes proposals for:  

  • The overall range of qualifications that will be available, including GCSEs and other qualifications. 
  • What future GCSEs should look like, including how they should be assessed. 
  • Qualifications to support the continuum for teaching and learning Welsh.