1) General queries

Why change the qualification now with the new curriculum on the horizon? All this change puts more and more pressure on teachers.

Panel’s response

  • The shortcomings of the current qualifications are well documented.
  • Practical steps have therefore been taken to improve the existing GCSE qualification to make a real difference to learners whilst the new curriculum is being developed.
  • It is an interim measure that will help schools begin to change their approach to Welsh in preparation for the new curriculum.

Is it possible to extend the operational end date of the current, legacy qualifications from 2018 to 2019 to accommodate schools’ varying curriculum arrangements?

Panel’s response

  • The timeline for reforming the subject as part of the third wave of the GCSE reform programme has been known for several years.
  • It is not feasible to run the legacy specifications concurrently to the new specifications. Doing so would mean that only part of the cohort would be sitting the new qualifications in 2019, which would make it very difficult to secure standards when awarding the new qualification for the first time.
  • The last scheduled opportunities for learners to take the legacy qualifications will be in 2018, with final opportunities for resitting the qualifications during the 2018/2019 assessment cycle.

Do all learners have to study the reformed qualification?

Panel’s response

  • The national curriculum for Wales requires all learners to follow a statutory programme of study for either Welsh first language or for Welsh second language until they reach the end of Key Stage 4 (the end of the school year in which learners turn 16 years old).
  • The current statutory programmes of study for Welsh first language and Welsh second language are available at the links below:

Welsh first language: http://learning.gov.wales/resources/browse-all/welshnc/?lang=en

Welsh second language: http://learning.gov.wales/resources/browse-all/welsh-second-language-nc/?lang=en

  • The statutory Key Stage 4 programme of study for Welsh second language does not require learners to take any specific qualification, but it does note that learners of all abilities should have access to appropriate assessment and accreditation. 
  • It is up to each school to decide how to organise its timetable to meet the requirements of the national curriculum.  It is also up to each school to decide which qualifications its pupils should take to demonstrate their achievements.
  • Welsh Government’s expectation is that, in most cases, learners at Key Stage 4 in English medium schools will undertake the new, full course Welsh Second Language GCSE qualification.
  • In some cases, schools may determine that it is more appropriate for certain learners to complete the Welsh Second Language Entry Pathways qualification rather than the GCSE. This might be more suitable, for example, for a learner that has recently moved to Wales.

Will there be any changes to the way in which performance measures are allocated to the new GCSE Welsh Second Language?

Panel’s response

  • The Welsh Government is not intending to make changes to the way in which results for Welsh Second Language qualifications contribute to school performance at KS4.
  • Accountability arrangements are under review as part of the education reform process.
  • The new qualification will count towards Key Stage 4 performance measures in the same way that the existing versions do (i.e. within the non-subject-specific components of measures)
  • For any further queries, contact IMS@Wales.GSI.GOV.UK

Who are the consortia leads for Welsh Second Language?

Panel’s response

  • Each Regional Educational Consortia has a lead practitioner for Welsh Second Language and they are:

Central South Consortium Joint Education Service – Richard Carbis 

South East Wales Education Achievement Service – Elen Roberts

ERW – Tina Thomas

GwE – Peter Maddocks