GCSE and A level reform

The recommendations of the 2012 Review of Qualifications had a significant impact on qualifications in Wales as it allowed the development of GCSEs and A Levels divergent to other parts of the UK where it was in the interest of learners in Wales. This has led to a comprehensive reformation of general qualifications which was implemented in 3 yearly phases, the last of which were prepared for first teaching in September 2017.

The key aims of the reform were to:

  • Develop a coherent, high-quality, robust and distinctive national qualifications system for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales.
  • Ensure clear pathways for progression through the medium of Welsh. 
  • Create a revised and more rigorous Welsh Baccalaureate. 

GCSE and A Level reform

All GCSEs must adhere to the GCSE Approval Criteria and all GCE AS and A Level Approval Criteria

The Welsh Baccalaureate

Following the recommendations from the 2012 Review of Qualifications a set of design principles for the new Welsh Baccalaureate were published in June 2014 and was approved for first teaching in 2015.

More detail about the Welsh Baccalaureate can be found on the Qualification Wales site. 

Approval Criteria

Under the Qualifications Wales Act 2015, schools, institutions and employers in Wales can only offer a course to learners under the age of 19 that leads to a qualification that is approved or designated (unless an exemption has been granted by the Welsh Ministers).