Policy Forum for Wales

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Next steps for 14-16 qualifications reform in Wales

Morning, Tuesday, 12th March 2024


This conference will focus on next steps for 14-16 qualifications reform in Wales.


It will be an opportunity to bring stakeholders together with policymakers to examine the path forward for ongoing reform in Wales, with Qualifications Wales recently announcing the new qualification types, following their Qualified for the Future consultation, including:

  • Made-for-Wales GCSEs
  • Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSEs)
  • Skills Suite qualifications, including: Skills for Life, Skills for Work, and the Personal Project qualification
  • Foundation qualifications

Delegates will discuss key findings from the consultation, as well as how ongoing reform can provide qualifications that fit the increased breadth of the new Curriculum for Wales, and support learners for work and life.


Discussion will consider the ongoing implementation of new Made-For-Wales GCSEs in preparation for first teaching in 2025, as WJEC consults on their proposals for future methods of assessment, including a reduced emphasis on written exams, and promoting accessibility and choice for learners during the assessment process. Delegates will also look at concerns over the decision to merge separate science subjects, and language and literature qualifications in English and Welsh.


There will be a focus on the introduction of digital assessment, including the role of AI and how to achieve potential improvements in the experience and delivery of assessment.


Further sessions will also consider post-16 pathways for students and whether the reformed qualifications meet the demands of FE, HE and employers, looking at enabling smooth progression and helping address local skills gaps.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Cassy Taylor, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales; Alex Ingram, Head of Qualifications and Assessment, Welsh Government; and Ian Morgan, Chief Executive, WJEC.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • Widening the 14-16 qualifications offer: aligning qualifications reform with the new Curriculum for Wales - preparing for full rollout - raising standards and attainment - meeting the needs of students
  • Implementation: priorities for monitoring progress and standards - options for increasing student choice and autonomy - ensuring consistency and cohesion in implementation
  • Made-For-Wales GCSEs: prioritising co-design in development and implementation - addressing concerns - working collaboratively - tailoring approaches to local regions and skills needs - measuring impact
  • Preparations for post-16: providing essential skills for life and work - streamlining pathways to further attainment - ensuring joint working with tertiary education - the role of CTER
  • Assessing barriers to entry: providing ease of access to the range of qualifications - priorities for students with ALN - upskilling and re-skilling - encouraging a lifelong learning culture across Wales
  • Qualifications reform in the AI age: implications of AI on reform and digital assessment - priorities for teacher-based assessment - utilising AI as a force for good - addressing malpractice

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from Senedd Cymru; the Welsh Government; Department for the Economy, NI; Department of Education, NI; DWP; ETI; and IPO.



Keynote Speakers

Cassy Taylor

Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales

Ian Morgan

Chief Executive, WJEC

Alex Ingram

Head of Qualifications and Assessment, Welsh Government

Keynote Speakers

Alex Ingram

Head of Qualifications and Assessment, Welsh Government

Ian Morgan

Chief Executive, WJEC

Cassy Taylor

Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales

Speakers

Lisa Mytton

Strategic Director, National Training Federation for Wales

Sharon James

Principal, Cardiff and Vale College

Ian Castledine

Head of Proposition, RM

Neil Butler

National Official for Wales, NASUWT

Angharad Lloyd-Beynon

Policy, Stakeholder and Partnerships Manager, City & Guilds

Karen Thomas

14-19 Strategic Manager, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Darren Howells

Chief Executive, Agored Cymru