The transformative impact of the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate

The transformative impact of the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate

Sara Davies, Subject Officer for our National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate, has been immersed in the qualification since 2008. Here, she reflects on its success and the future of the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales.

“In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of young learners in Wales. Introduced in 2003 for post-16 learners, launched in 2008 for pre-16 learners and then reformed in 2015, this qualification has become a cornerstone in education, with over 260,000 entries since its launch.

“Comprising the National/Foundation Skills Challenge Certificate and supporting qualifications, the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate stands out as a comprehensive programme designed to prepare learners for the challenges of the modern world. The deliberate emphasis on transferable skills, such as teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving, is an acknowledgment of their increasing importance in today's job market.

“What sets this qualification apart is its commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals, equipped with the skills needed to not just survive but thrive in diverse environments. The challenges integrated into the Skills Challenge Certificate component of the Welsh Baccalaureate deliberately expose learners to real life scenarios. The Enterprise and Employability Challenge explores the world of work, the Global Citizenship Challenge addresses global issues, and the Community Challenge focuses on improving local communities—a deliberate strategy aimed at producing individuals ready for the complexities of the real world.

“We take immense pride in the opportunities that the qualification has provided students, fostering collaborations with a diverse range of leading organisations. This impressive list includes organisations such as the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Welsh Water, Network Rail, Children's Commissioner for Wales, National Deaf Children's Society, Into Film Cymru, Noah's Ark, Dogs Trust, Show Racism the Red Card, WRU, Teenage Cancer Trust, Alzheimer's Society, Swansea Supporters Trust, and the notable collaboration since 2015 with the GOT (Getting on Together) Project.

“This range of partnerships reflects the qualification’s versatility in addressing themes of today. On one end of the spectrum, collaborations with organisations such as the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Welsh Water offer students exposure to environmental and ecological issues, showcasing their commitment to sustainable practices. Simultaneously, collaboration with the Children's Commissioner for Wales and National Deaf Children's Society delve into social and advocacy themes, encouraging learners to contribute to positive societal change.

“The qualification’s commitment to addressing contemporary challenges is particularly evident in the collaboration since 2015 with the GOT (Getting on Together) Project, specifically addressing extremism. This initiative has reached an impressive 27,000 learners in this time, underscoring the qualification’s proactive stance in addressing issues of societal importance with a seriousness and depth that goes beyond traditional academic subjects.

“These partnerships not only enrich the educational experience but also reflect the qualification’s adaptability to varying themes, ensuring that learners are exposed to a spectrum of challenges that align with both local and global concerns. By embracing collaborations that span from environmental conservation to social justice, the qualification not only prepares students for the complexities of the real world but also cultivates a well-rounded and socially conscious generation of leaders. The development, application, and assessment of a diverse set of skills are integral to this process, equipping learners with the practical abilities needed to tackle these challenges effectively and contribute meaningfully to society.

“Building on the success of the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate, the reformed Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales was introduced in September 2023. Students can undertake the advanced course independently or as a progression from the National/Foundation course. In a world marked by unprecedented change, the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales acknowledges the evolving needs of learners. The course prepares students for the future world of work by advancing skills in planning and organisation, critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, and personal effectiveness. ‘Integral Skills’ align with Nesta's research report, "The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030," emphasising the importance of social awareness, collaboration, originality, goal setting, and adaptability.

“As we champion the success of the National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate, we also look forward to witnessing the continued impact of the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales. These qualifications stand as a testament to Wales' commitment to nurturing a generation of learners equipped not only with subject-specific knowledge but also with the integral skills necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world. The journey towards educational excellence continues, guided by the belief that investing in the skills of today will shape the leaders of tomorrow.”

For further information on our Welsh Baccalaureate qualifications, please visit our dedicated webpages.