Policy Forum for Wales

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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Next steps for 14-16 qualifications in Wales - shape and scope, usability and public confidence, and support for progression in education and employment

June 2020

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

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

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

It will be an opportunity to discuss the recently published report from Qualifications Wales following their ‘Qualified for the future’ consultation on the guiding principles that should shape the future of 14-16 qualifications - and what should happen with GCSEs and the Skills Challenge Certificate.

We are delighted that Emyr George, Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales is a keynote speaker at this conference, as well as Daf Baker, Curriculum Development Manager, Agored Cymru; Dr Rebecca Conway, Head of Policy and Strategy, Federation of Awarding Bodies; Professor Louise Hayward, Professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation, University of Glasgow; Professor David James, Professor of Sociology of Education, Cardiff University; and Marjo Kyllönen, Head of Development Service Unit, Education Division, City of Helsinki.

Key areas for discussion:

  • The decisions from Qualifications Wales on their approach to future qualifications for 16-year-olds, including:
    • to be eligible for public funding, qualifications should ideally support the new curriculum, be available in English and Welsh, and contribute to an inclusive offer
    • the GCSE name will be kept but changes may be made to content, assessment and subject range - taking into account issues such as confidence in the GCSEs, accessibility and curriculum
    • reform to the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will go ahead
    • the Skills Challenge Certificate will be consulted on once the full qualification offer is clear
  • 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
  • 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

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • Colleges having begun to re-open in June - with social distancing in place -  with priority for students needing practical assessments in order to finish their vocational qualification
  • The Welsh Government publishing guidance around learning and teaching provision during the summer term, whilst looking ahead to the autumn, and operational guidance around issues such as infection prevention and control, as well as capacity, facilities and transport
  • Reforms recommended by Qualifications Wales
  • The Welsh Government publishing its resilience plan for the post-16 sector, split into ‘rescue, review and renew’ phases, lasting until the end of the next academic year, and identifying those whose learning and progress might be most affected by the current crisis
  • Decisions to temporarily close schools and cancel examinations this summer due to COVID-19 - and Qualifications Wales assessing findings from their recent consultation on arrangements for grades for summer 2020
  • 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
  • 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

The agenda:

  • The future shape of 14-16 qualifications in Wales - key findings from the initial consultation - with Emyr George, Director, Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales
  • GCSEs and Wider Skills: positive possibilities - with Professor David James, Professor of Sociology of Education, Cardiff University
  • Case studies - implementation of the new curriculum and qualifications outside Wales - with Professor Louise Hayward, University of Glasgow and Marjo Kyllönen, City of Helsinki
  • 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
  • Good practice in vocational qualification design - with Dr Rebecca Conway, Federation of Awarding Bodies and Daf Baker, Agored Cymru
  • 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 stakeholders.

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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles