Decision on new single award GCSE in the sciences

Learn more about our decision on a new single award GCSE in the sciences.

In June 2023, we announced our decision to develop a new integrated single award GCSE in the sciences, to sit alongside a new GCSE The Sciences (Double Award).

Since then, we’ve been working with stakeholders to design the new single award qualification. It is being designed for learners who will benefit from studying a smaller volume of content than the double award qualification, and who might otherwise disengage with science. We expect that the majority of learners will study the new double award GCSE.

The new single award GCSE in the sciences will:

  • adopt a thematic approach to teaching and learning to draw together elements of biology, chemistry, physics and scientific curiosity
  • give learners a chance to gain a science GCSE and develop their understanding of science in the context of everyday life
  • offer the same level of challenge as all other GCSEs and assess learners at level 1 and 2of the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales
  • not be designed to support progression to AS and A levels in Biology, Chemistry or Physics

We aim to publish the approval criteria for this new single award GCSE in early 2024. The qualification itself will be ready for first teaching in September 2026 - one year after the new double award qualification is available in 2025.

In the interim, to meet the needs of all learners in 2025-2026, WJEC will extend the existing GCSE Applied Science (Single Award) qualification until September 2026. This means that schools will be able to continue teaching this qualification to learners starting in Year 10 in September 2025. We’re confident that schools will be able to deliver this qualification in line with the Curriculum for Wales framework. 

Learn more about our decisions for new Made-for-Wales GCSEs here.