Introduction

To reflect the ambition of the Curriculum for Wales, all GCSEs must include opportunities for learners to achieve its four purposes.

Our proposals
We consulted on proposals for the design requirements (approval criteria) for 26 new GCSE qualifications in late 2022. These proposals offered a high-level description of what new GCSE qualifications could look like – but they were not draft versions of the qualifications themselves.

Our consultation
Follow this consultation and several years of in-depth work and co-creation with stakeholders (including learners, teachers, lecturers, examiners, parents, employers, learned and professional bodies, subject specialists and interest groups, universities and colleges), we published our findings and decisions for Made-for-Wales GCSEs in June 2023.

Decisions reports

Our Consultation Summary report explains the decisions we’ve taken on the design requirements (approval criteria) for new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, while the Full Consultation Report and Subject Outcomes Report offer a summary and analysis of the feedback from the consultation and more detailed explanations of the requirements we have set for each GCSE subject.

Our Youth-friendly Report summarises and explains the key decisions we have taken across subjects in an accessible format for learners.

You can also take a look at the complete set of approval criteria for all of these new GCSE qualifications.

     

   

 

There are a number of additional documents related to these decisions:

Approval criteria

The complete set of approval criteria for the new GCSE qualifications was published in June 2023, alongside a set of Subject-level Approval Criteria.

Webinars

Learn more about the consultation outcomes and subject-level decisions in our recorded webinars:

Research

Our team of researchers and statisticians develop and deliver research and statistics in relation to qualifications and the qualification system. They have overseen the development and commissioning of both independent and inhouse research projects to help inform our decision making for the qualifications that will support the Curriculum for Wales.

The following research informed our GCSE decisions:

Perceptions and Experience of Non-Exam Assessment - A set of reports about the subject-specific and cross-cutting findings from research conducted on teacher and learner experiences and perceptions of non-exam assessment in approved GCSEs in Wales, between 2019 and 2020

International educational assessment systems and their involvement of teachers - A report describing international assessment systems and involvement of teachers in assessment.

Next steps

We’re introducing new National 14-16 Qualifications, which will all be in place by September 2027. This will include qualifications from entry level to level 2, across a range of subjects. Schools will be able to offer learners a choice of the following types of qualifications:

In October 2023, we recruited Subject Experts to help us review and approve the exciting, new Made-for-Wales GCSEs that are being developed by the awarding body (WJEC). We’re also working closely with WJEC and Welsh Government to develop the detail of these new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, for approval by September 2024.

Schools will have a full academic year to prepare for first teaching in September 2025, with a package of teaching and learning resources available to support the transition and manage the change required to deliver these new qualifications.

When will learners start taking reformed qualifications?

First teaching from September 2025

First teaching from September 2026

First teaching from September 2027

New GCSEs in:

  • Art and Design

  • Drama

  • Music

  • Food and Nutrition

  • Geography

  • History

  • Religious Studies

  • Business

  • English Language and Literature: single and double award

  • Cymraeg Language and Literature: single and double award

  • Core Cymraeg

  • French

  • German

  • Spanish

  • Mathematics and Numeracy: double award

  • Computer Science

New level 2 qualification in:

  • Additional Core Cymraeg

New GCSEs in:

  • Integrated Science (Single Award)

  • The Sciences: double award
  • Dance

  • Digital Media and Film

  • Health and Social Care, and Childcare

  • Physical Education and Health

  • Social Studies

  • Design and Technology

  • Engineering

New qualification in:

  • Level 2 Additional Maths

Updated qualifications in:

  • Built Environment

  • Digital Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • GCSE British Sign Language

  • a coherent, inclusive and bilingual range of National 14-16 Qualifications that support the Curriculum for Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When new qualifications are introduced, they will replace existing qualifications in those subjects.
Other qualifications will continue to be available alongside the new GCSEs until the full 14-16 qualification offer is introduced.

 

Made-for-Wales GCSE delivery timeline

Project development

Over several years, we’ve collaborated with dedicated working and stakeholder groups to develop proposals for qualifications in individual GCSE subjects.

2019 – 2020
We ran our initial Qualified for the Future consultation outlining the guiding principles that should shape the future range of qualifications, and asking what should happen with GCSEs and the Skills Challenge Certificate.

Our subsequent decisions report agreed that the main qualifications taken by 14 to 16-year-olds should still be called GCSEs, but the content and assessment should be different. We outlined our advice to the Minister for Education on the approach we were considering and to agree how qualifications should change in future. 

2021
We held a second consultation asking for views on integral skills within the Skills Challenge Certificate, and the range of subjects that should be available as GCSEs and other Made-for-Wales qualifications.

Our second decisions report was published, followed by the announcement of our decision about Welsh language qualifications at GCSE level.

2022
We held a third public consultation on GCSE subject proposals and published our decisions in June 2023.

2023
We consulted on the Full 14-16 Qualifications Offer.

Want to find out more?

To discover more about the Made-for-Wales GCSE consultation and decisions, contact reform@qualifications.wales.