Plaid Cymru calls for standard national qualification

Plaid Cymru's education spokesperson Simon Thomas is today calling for a single exam system to set GCSE and A level qualifications in schools and colleges across Wales to standardise the system. It follows concerns raised by qualifications watchdog OFQUAL that papers are becoming less demanding.

I am very concerned about the consequences of the creeping marketisation of the education of our young people. I want to seestandard qualifications introduced across the nation so that examination boardsare not competing against each other and trying to ‘sell’ their courses toschools.

The concern is that the marketisation of the qualificationssystem can lead to schools being tempted into choosing the ‘easiest’ coursesrather than those that test their pupils’ abilities

– Plaid's Education spokesperson Simon Thomas AM

Mr Thomas added that he was concerned that schools are finding that they need to "market" themselves to parents and therefore are looking for courses that will bring results

A market based approach is not in the best interests of pupils, of schools or of wider society. The Welsh Government needs to take clear and decisive action to reform the education system, to make it fit for purpose rather than fit for the market.

In order to provide qualifications that measure pupils’ abilities, we need to measure educational attainment. In particular we need a system that ensures that qualifications are only awarded to students with appropriate levels of literacy and numeracy. We will be looking for serious and decisive action from the Welsh Government on this.