New academic year - collaborating with the whole education community
New academic year - collaborating with the whole education community

The new academic year is underway, and we are all adapting to new ways of working. However, like you, our focus continues to be ensuring that our learners can achieve their full potential, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before discussing the future, I would like to take this moment to reflect, and thank you and your teams for the extraordinary support provided to us, which enabled all learners in Wales to receive a qualification result this summer. Collectively, we overcame the impact of the school closures and cancellation of the summer examinations, and provided our learners with the qualifications that will allow them to progress, and for that I thank you.

With the summer already feeling like a distant memory, it is now time to focus on the future, and in particular this academic year. Throughout the summer our teams have been planning and preparing material to support our teachers. We understand the challenges that the loss of learning and teaching time have presented and we are committed to providing teachers with the tools, resources and support that will allow them to confidently deliver our qualifications this year.

In recent weeks, our subject teams have launched new and freely available resources including tools for Blended Learning to support adapted teaching practices and Exam Walk Throughs resources aimed at learners and offering practical hints and tips on how to effectively approach questions in examination papers.  Our Digital Resources Team will be releasing additional free resources as we progress through the term. In addition, we have a comprehensive suite of Professional Learning Courses which will all be online in 2020/21 covering a mix of live and interactive, and pre-recorded workshops and I would ask you to encourage teachers to attend and access these.

During the summer our teams have been working alongside Qualifications Wales, to prepare the adaptations for the summer 2021 assessments. To my end, I would like to thank all the teachers that contributed to the subject focus groups and to those who offered constructive feedback to our consultations. Information on adaptations is available from the following webpage.

We value feedback here at WJEC, and I would like to thank you once again for those who contributed to our stakeholder surveys earlier this year. The information provided was invaluable and has informed our developments and activities. Our goal is to continue to work alongside our teachers, for us to refine our offering, to enable our whole teaching community to succeed together.

We are acutely aware of the challenges that the pandemic continues to present to our teaching communities. With this in mind, we are having ongoing discussions and making preparations in the event of further potential restrictions at a local and national level. I would like to reassure you all, that our teams will be on hand to support you throughout this time.

Having open and honest dialogue is particularly important during this time, and I have welcomed the opportunity to meet with many of you, albeit virtually, earlier this year. During this time, I met with several Heads of Centres, Unions, Consortias and other key stakeholders which allowed us to share information about our activities and to discuss our views and opinions. Over the coming months, I will be scheduling further meetings with you and I also encourage your teams to utilise our subject specialists, who are on hand to provide advice and guidance.

Over the coming months, we will be providing further important updates and launching new initiatives to support our teachers and their learners. Our website and social media channels will be regularly updated, and key messages will also be communicated via our mailing lists so please ensure you are signed up with us.

I wish you all the very best in the coming academic year, and on behalf of all of us at WJEC, I would like to thank you and your teams who are the very forefront of delivering our qualifications.