GCSE and A levels will stay in Wales, the Welsh Government has confirmed. The Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert says the exams will be 'alongside a revised, more rigorous, Welsh Baccalaureate'. In England, Education Secretary Michael Gove wants an English Baccalaureate to replace GCSEs.
Mr Cuthbert told AMs that although he doesn't ignore what happens in England, as it can have implications for Wales, he hoped that the Welsh Government's direction is clear. However, he admitted that not just many parents but some teacher in Wales think that Mr Gove's plans will affect them.
We will retain GCSEs and A levels. Where necessary we will strengthen and amend these, but ultimately we have confidence in these well established qualifications, which are recognised around the world. People expect GCSEs to assess literacy and numeracy, this is why we are developing new GCSEs to do just this. Having two mathematics GCSEs will reflect the importance of the subject for progression and employment. At the heart of this system will be a revised, more rigorous, Welsh Baccalaureate. The Review identified clear support for this qualification. But we will not rest on our laurels.
The aim is to start teaching for the new exams from September 2015. The Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, has already accepted the establishment of Qualifications Wales, a new body to regulate and assure the quality of all qualifications, other than degree level, in Wales.