Public confidence in Welsh qualifications remains high - survey

Thursday 16 May 2019

Public confidence in the Welsh qualifications system remains high, according to new research published today. 

Qualifications Wales commissioned Beaufort Research to survey more than 1,000 members of the public in 2018 for their views on GCSEs, A levels, the Welsh Baccalaureate and vocational qualifications. 

This follows a similar survey conducted the previous year. 

The report states: “While the pattern of results is very similar year-on-year, there seems to have been a general positive movement in public confidence in 2018. 

The survey found that: 

  • Public confidence in AS/A levels is generally high. Around 80% of the public considered AS/A levels were a good basis for further study, and more than half thought they were good preparation for work. 
  • Respondents thought that GCSEs were better understood by the public than A levels. However, similar proportions to A levels agreed about their usefulness for further study or preparation for work. 
  • Awareness of the Welsh Baccalaureate was reasonably high with almost 60% of adults having heard of it. But familiarity of it was relatively low with only around one in six adults admitting they knew a great deal or a fair amount about it, similar to the results of the 2017 survey. 
  • Public perception of the value of vocational qualifications was high. 
  • New questions asked this year about the usefulness of qualifications showed that people were slightly more likely to feel that their qualifications helped them to do their latest job rather than get their latest job. 
  • Those in higher socio-economic groups with degrees were more positive about the value of qualifications. 

It’s really important for us to understand what people think about these important qualifications and to make sure that confidence remains high,” said Chief Executive Philip Blaker. “This annual survey allows us to measure any fluctuation in public attitudes and provides an early warning if we need to take action. 

“It is reassuring to learn that confidence in A levels, GCSEs and vocational qualifications remains consistently high, although it’s clear that more work needs to be done to inform the public about the value of the Welsh Bacc and its Skills Challenge Certificate. 

“We will continue to work with partners to build awareness and understanding of the Welsh Bacc among the general public, including employers.” 

The full report, Survey of Public Opinions of Non-Degree Qualifications in Wales 2018, can be read on the Qualifications Wales website.