“We’re ensuring that the new qualifications align with the ever-evolving needs of our diverse and dynamic society”

“We’re ensuring that the new qualifications align with the ever-evolving needs of our diverse and dynamic society”

Richard Harry our Director of Qualifications, Assessment and Responsible Officer, is leading the charge on the development of a brand-new suite of GCSE and related qualifications, following the publication of Qualifications Wales’ consultation findings. Here, he looks at how we are engaging with stakeholders, learners and teachers, as well as the next steps in the development process.

“The past few months have been a very exciting time for us as we begin the work of creating a new suite of bilingual GCSEs and related qualifications as part of Qualifications Wales’ ‘Qualified for the Future’ project.

“We’ve been heavily involved and played an active part in the entire consultation process and now we are leading on the development of these new qualifications. As we embark on this transformative journey, we remain committed to active listening, continuous reflection, and responding to valuable feedback. It’s our goal to develop qualifications that are inclusive, engaging, support the curriculum, and that are truly fit for the future.

“In terms of next steps, the development phase is well underway. We’re currently working closely with our subject development advisory groups as part of a consultation on the qualification outlines, which is taking place this Autumn, before the qualification outlines themselves are published early next year.

“Throughout his whole process we remain passionate about taking the co-construction ethos forward. The Curriculum for Wales was co-constructed, and so were the decisions around how the qualifications should look from a regulatory perspective. Now, we’re co-constructing the qualifications themselves.

“Collaboration really is the key word here, and we’re working to create qualifications that the entire education sector can stand behind, learning from any lessons in the past and creating qualifications that embody the shared values and aspirations of the entire sector.

“From the moment Qualification Wales’ consultation findings were published, we set out to engage with a cross section of stakeholders, from the general workforce, right through to education communities. We’ve now recruited qualification writers, qualification reviewers and members for our subject level development advisory groups, and we’ll be taking the views and feedback of learners into account via our Learner Advisory Group too.

“Of course, the growth and development of learners is a key consideration for us. As a learner-focused organisation, we’re really pleased to see a broader range of GCSEs than we’ve had previously, and I’m confident that new subjects such as Social Studies, Dance and British Sign Language will empower learners with a more comprehensive and holistic education.

“The intention of the new curriculum is to enhance the learning and experience of the learners, right through their schooling. It’s the role of the qualification to support that, so by offering a wider range of subjects, we’re enabling learners to follow their passions, interests and to progress.

“In terms of assessment methods, and in line with Qualifications Wales’ consultation findings, we’ll be increasing the volume of non-exam assessment. The aim is to ensure that our assessments are more engaging for learners. We’re working closely with learners and teachers at this early stage to ensure that the increase in non-exam assessment is as manageable as possible, both in terms of learners' well-being and teacher workload. We value their input and feedback as it will be instrumental in shaping the qualification outlines and what we ultimately deliver. 

“As well as supporting learners, it is also vital that we support teachers in the delivery of the new qualifications. We’re already engaging with them on the increase in non-exam assessment, and we’re focused on putting together a comprehensive programme of professional learning, to ensure that every teacher has access to tools that bolster their confidence in delivering high-quality education.  

“We will continue to deliver a range of supporting resources and, as part of the development process of this new suite of qualifications, we will be looking closely at what additional resources we can implement to help provide the best possible support for both teachers and learners.

“Across Curriculum for Wales, sustainability, diversity, inclusion and belonging are cross-cutting themes, and are core considerations that we’ll be building into each and every qualification. We’re already actively engaging with diversity experts and programmes such as Diversity and Anti-Racist Professional Learning (DARPL) and are committed to ensuring that our qualifications are designed to be inclusive and representative of all learners.

“By actively involving educators, learners, and stakeholders in the design process, we aim to ensure that these qualifications align with the ever-evolving needs of our diverse and dynamic society, and we are very much looking forward to continuing this journey.”

To keep you up to date with the latest news, opportunities and FAQs regarding the new GCSEs and related qualifications, visit our ‘Qualified for the future: WJEC is ready’ web area. This area hosts a wealth of material, including an introduction to our Qualification Development Team who will lead the creation of the new GCSEs.