New qualification to be introduced in major education reform in Wales

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The aim is to provide all secondary learners with innovative, exciting, inclusive and new qualifications that meet the purpose of the Curriculum for Wales. Credit: PA images

A new range of qualifications to help secondary learners will be available along with new Made-for-Wales GCSEs by 2027.

The decision made by Qualification Wales will see introduction of new-work related VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education) and new skills-based qualifications.

The aim is to provide all secondary learners with innovative, exciting, inclusive and new qualifications that meet the purpose of the Curriculum for Wales.

Cassy Taylor, director of qualifications policy and reform at Qualifications Wales, said this new policy represents the "biggest transformation of 14-16 qualifications in a generation".

She stated: "It will mean that all learners, whatever their interest, aptitude or ability, will be able to gain recognition and reward for what they know, understand and can do.

"Armed with these new qualifications, they’ll be able to progress from the Curriculum for Wales to the next stage of learning and form a basis for their own personal success."

The changes will affect the secondary school learners across the country.

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Along with new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, learners in Wales aged 14-16 will be able to choose from:

  • VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education)

  • Foundation qualifications

  • Skills for Life and Skills for Work qualification

Personal Project qualificationSpeaking to ITV Wales, Rhyl High headteacher Claire Armistead said the new curriculum will help children become "whole-rounded human beings" able to go in the direction that "best suits them".

She continued: "I think we’re educating humans now, not just a type of child. We want all parts of that human to be valued equally.

“Some children are very academic and those children can find a quick route to university. The problem was, our qualifications, our education system was already out of date and written by adults who didn’t know what children would need in the future.

"So with the new curriculum, we need to make sure that every child and all their skills, are equally valued."

She added: "It’s about finding what children can thrive in and giving them those opportunities and then acknowledging them and rewarding them. They’re not lesser or more than each other, they’re just different."

Ben Cottam, head of Wales for the Federation of Small Businesses, said "Developing skills for the future is of the utmost importance for the future workforce in Wales".

He added: "Small businesses consistently raise access to skills as a barrier to growth. Our research tells us that closer links between providers, the business community, and teaching institutions, can really benefit learner outcomes, as well as support businesses in harnessing the right skills to grow, and thus bolstering local economies.

"It is our hope that the new National 14-16 Qualifications offer will go some way to improve choices for learners.

"By supplementing the curriculum with real-life experiences and interactions with small businesses within the local community, these qualifications will help learners to progress in life, learning and work."  

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