Policy Forum for Wales

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +044 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244

Next steps for 14-16 qualifications in Wales - shape and scope, usability and public confidence, and support for progression in education and employment

Morning, Wednesday, 8th July 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference examines the next steps for 14-16 qualifications in Wales.

It takes place with:

  • the new school curriculum due to take effect in 2022, with some stakeholders calling for a pause in the process, because of their work in responding to the COVID-19 crisis,
  • the concluded Qualifications Wales consultation Qualified for the future on principles for future 14-16 qualifications - examining what the future qualifications might look like and the range of options, including in vocational learning,
  • guidance issued by the Welsh Government aimed at helping schools design their curriculums, in advance of publication of an implementation plan, and introduction of the Curriculum and Assessment Bill in the Senedd, and
  • the decisions to temporarily close schools and cancel examinations this summer due to COVID-19 - and plans for GCSE and A level grades to be formulated using a range of evidence including previous work and teacher assessed grades.

Key areas for discussion:

  • How to ensure that future qualifications reflect the flexibility of the new curriculum, whilst also being regarded by stakeholders as fair and reliable;
  • The extent to which qualifications should reflect traditional subjects or the curriculum’s new six areas of learning - expressive arts; health and well-being; humanities; languages, literacy and communication; mathematics and numeracy; and science and technology;
  • What a new grading system should look like;
  • Developing confidence in the new qualifications - in Wales and internationally;
  • The design of future qualifications and progression to further study and employment, including issues raised in response to Qualified for the future; and
  • In light of the school closures and cancelled exams, we anticipate discussion around the potential for online assessment, following recent calls for pen-and-paper exams to end in the coming years.

The agenda:

  • The future shape of 14-16 qualifications in Wales - key findings from the initial consultation;
  • Qualifications in Wales going forward;
  • Case study: implementation of the new curriculum and qualifications outside Wales;
  • Priorities for the new 14-16 Welsh qualifications: range of subjects, grading systems, the future of the GCSE ‘brand’, and ensuring the reliability of results for comparability and decision-making;
  • Qualification design and learning from best practice; and
  • Delivering effective qualifications: methods of assessment, depth vs breadth, and shaping the qualifications offer to effectively support pathways into further education and training.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stake holders.

It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by officials from the Welsh Government; the office of the Shadow Minister for Education; Estyn; the Wales Office; and the Intellectual Property Office.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Emyr George

Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales

Keynote Speaker

Emyr George

Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales


Viv Buckley

Deputy Principal, Bridgend College

Ravi Pawar

Headteacher, Bryntirion Comprehensive School, Bridgend

Ben Jordan

Senior Policy and Qualifications Manager, UCAS

Elaine Carlile

Director of Qualifications, Assessment and Responsible Officer, WJEC

Maggie Ayre

Regional Manager, South West England and South and Mid Wales, Young Enterprise

Lloyd Mann

Member, Life Skills in the Curriculum Committee, Welsh Youth Parliament

Phil McTague

Core Lead, GwE