From the start of this year's school term, students across Wales are able to take revised qualifications which the Welsh Government says are specifically tailored to the needs of Welsh learners and businesses.
The new qualifications are the latest in a series of important reforms to the education system in Wales, which aim to raise standards by placing a sharper focus on literacy and numeracy.
One of the most significant changes is the introduction of two new Mathematics qualifications: Mathematics – Numeracy and Mathematics.
In addition to the new GCSEs, a revised Welsh Baccalaureate also launches today which has been designed to make sure pupils aged 14-19 develop the right skills they need for college, university and employment.
AS and A-levels have also been revised, with the AS qualification being kept as a contributory part of full A-levels in Wales, as many universities recognise them as indicative of later attainment.
The Welsh Government says all the new qualifications are designed to be inclusive and to provide learners with the skills they need to succeed.
This is an exciting time for education in Wales. It is vital that our schools, teaching and exams keep pace with the modern world, and the changes we are introducing this term will give Welsh pupils numerous advantages, in terms of skills and being work-ready.
There are concerns however that the new qualifications will lack ‘portability’ and will not be recognised internationally, potentially disadvantaging Welsh pupils.
Clearly something needs to be done to address poor literacy and numeracy standards in Wales, and we wish all Welsh pupils undertaking the new GCSEs every success.