Live updates

GCSE results reveal a 'troubling decline' in attainment says Shadow Education Secretary

Credit: PA images

The Shadow Education Secretary says today's GCSE results reveal a "troubling decline" in attainment.

Assembly Member Darren Millar has now called on Kirsty Williams to re-think her reform of the schools curriculum.

Today's GCSE Level results are very disappointing and indicate a troubling decline on last year’s results. While I want to extend my congratulations to those students who secured the grades they deserve, the results show us that too many learners have not been able to reach their full potential. The drop in attainment of grades A*- C and plummet in uptake of modern foreign languages are particularly disturbing, and do not bode well for Wales’ future economic prospects.

The Cabinet Secretary must look again at the pace and direction reform, and question whether it is the right path to follow - the evidence to date is far from compelling.

– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Education Secretary


GCSE Welsh second language short course dropped

The Welsh Government says the current system for teaching Welsh in English-medium schools here "must change", and announced that the GCSE Welsh second language short course will be scrapped.

The short course has previously been criticised, for not allowing pupils to progress towards becoming strong Welsh speakers, leading to calls for it to be removed.

The Welsh Government has acknowledged standards in Welsh secondary language are not good enough. Credit: PA

Ministers are responding to the 'One language for all' report, which they commissioned in 2012 into "poor standards and low attainment" in Welsh at secondary school.

The Welsh Government also said today that it would look to promote Welsh as an important skill for the workplace, work to ensure that revised GCSE, AS and A Level Welsh second language qualifications are appropriate, and monitor the availability and take-up of AS and A level Welsh second language.

NAHT and ASCL unions urge WJEC to waive GCSE English Language resit fees

Unions NAHT Cymru & ASCL Cymru have written a joint letter to WJEC, asking it to waive fees for re-sitting GCSE English Language units this summer.

A Welsh Government review found no evidence to suggest that WJEC did not follow the correct procedures Credit: PA

"We have to report that our members are extremely dissatisfied with the position that their staff, pupils and parents now find themselves in" said the letter.

"This is a highly unacceptable state of affairs as young people begin to prepare in earnest for the challenges of the array of summer examinations."

The National Union of Teachers says it has also asked WJEC to waive fees to re-sits this summer.


WJEC 'welcomes findings' of Welsh Govt GCSE review

Exam board WJEC says it welcomes the findings of the Welsh Government's review into January's GCSE English Language results, and said the immediate actions identified are being implemented.

WJEC sympathises with candidates and teachers who have been affected by the unexpected outcomes for these January series units, but hope that this review provides the context for these outcomes and that the steps now being put in place will ensure confidence in arrangements for the summer series and for subsequent years.

– Gareth Pierce, WJEC’s Chief Executive

ASCL: Spare parents and schools GCSE re-sit costs

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru says schools and parents should not be charged for English GCSE re-sits after January's poor results.

The immediate concern must be the fact that we have students who have received grades that do not reflect their abilities and which are far below expectation.

Given that schools and teachers have been exonerated, ASCL insists that schools should not have to pay for these re-sits, at great cost to their budgets. It is also unfair for parents to be asked to pay directly for them.

The minister has an opportunity to show leadership and support ASCL’s call that the cost of these re-sits should not be placed upon schools and parents.

– Robin Hughes, ASCL Cymru Secretary

The union added that the new regulator, Qualifications Wales, should consider "whether any grades at all should be given for January entries".

Angela Burns: GCSE review 'little short of a whitewash'

The Shadow Minister for Education in Wales has described a Welsh Government review into January's English GCSE grades as 'little short of a whitewash'.

After a month of waiting for answers, this report fails to adequately explain to students, teachers and lecturers why exam results were so much lower than predicted.

Students, teachers and parents remain in the dark about how many exam papers will be remarked and how their overall grades will be affected.

The Welsh Government must rapidly learn the lessons of this fiasco and consider delaying the introduction of its five other Wales-only GCSEs to prevent any other young people going through this stressful and distressing ordeal.

– Angela Burns AM, Shadow Minister for Education

The review concluded there was 'no one single aspect' that contributed to the lower grades and said there was no evidence to suggest that WJEC did not follow correct procedures.

Immediate recommendations after GCSE grade review

Following its review into claims of low January English Language GCSE grades, the Welsh Government has made a number of immediate recommendations.

The review found 'no one single aspect' contributed and that there is 'no evidence to suggest that WJEC did not follow the correct procedures' - but said the recommendations would 'address the concerns of learners, parents and practitioners' and 'help to build confidence' across the system.

Immediate recommendations:

1 Copies or samples of papers must returned to schools as soon as possible so teachers can begin to look at how they have been marked in relation to the marking scheme.

2 WJEC is to extend registration deadline to allow schools to consider in more detail which pupils should be entered for re-sit in June.

3 Further materials should be produced before the Easter break to explain how the mark schemes will be applied to students' work, in order to increase transparency.

4 Training and new exemplar materials should be made available online before the Easter break, including sample papers. Schools should explain to teachers how marks are given and what they need to do to gain these marks.

5 Free additional sessions run by the WJEC before summer exams must ensure that advice given to schools is consistent with that provided in the examiner's report - and across the board.

6 January units need to be on the online review section of the website immediately.

Load more updates