Learners in Wales to study new Made-for-Wales GCSEs from 2025

Qualification Wales announces the introduction of 26 new Made-for-Wales GCSEs from September 2025

Qualifications Wales, the independent regulator of non-degree qualifications in Wales, today announces the introduction of 26 new Made-for-Wales GCSEs from September 2025. 

With the new Curriculum for Wales now being taught in schools across the country, it is vital that qualifications change to reflect what and how learners are now taught. So, following extensive consultation, these newly designed GCSEs will replace the existing GCSE offer available to most learners aged 14 to 16 in Wales. 

 The qualifications will be introduced for first teaching from September 2025, when the first cohort of Curriculum for Wales learners reaches Year 10, with the first new GCSEs being awarded in 2027. 

Qualifications Wales has collaborated with hundreds of contributors over the past four years, to ensure that the voices of learners, subject experts, parents, schools, teachers, colleges, lecturers, universities, employers and many others, were captured and helped co-create these important qualifications. 

These new Made-for-Wales GCSEs will support the achieve the aims and ambitions of the Curriculum by: 

  • offering more choice to enable schools to design and deliver their curricula 
  • refreshing content to support the Curriculum’s cross-curricular themes and its four purposes 
  • incorporating a broader range of assessment methods to make these qualifications more relevant and engaging 
  • making greater use of digital technology to provide relevant assessment and support teaching and learning 

Over 2,100 responses were received during the public consultation on GCSE reform which ran from October to December 2022. Proposals for 26 qualifications were put forward, grouped around the six areas of the Curriculum. 

The proposals for GCSE The Sciences, GCSE Cymraeg, GCSE English, and GCSE Mathematics and Numeracy attracted particular attention, which prompted further engagement and analysis to look again at the offer available in these subjects. 

This rich, qualitative feedback - alongside extensive co-creation and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders - has shaped these new qualifications. 

The result is a new coherent, inclusive, and bilingual GCSE qualifications offer which will reflect the knowledge, skills and experiences gained by learners, so they can move forward confidently to the next stage of their lives. 

Summary of key decisions: 

  • design requirements for 26 new Made-for-Wales GCSEs have been published - reflecting revised content and updated assessment arrangements 
  • new integrated GCSE Cymraeg Language and Literature and integrated GCSE English Language and Literature will both be double award GCSEs – with single awards also available to ensure inclusivity for all learners 
  • the new GCSE Mathematics and Numeracy will be a double award – with no single award available 
  • a new GCSE The Sciences (Double Award) will become the main science qualification taken by the majority of 14-16 learners in Wales – a new combined single award GCSE in the sciences will sit alongside it 
  • most of these new GCSEs will be introduced in 2025 - with first award in 2027 – a small number will be introduced a year later in 2026 
  • these new Made-for-Wales GCSEs will now form part of a new Full 14-16 Qualifications Offer – to support the Curriculum - the rest of which will be announced in January 2024. 

Qualifications Wales Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Emyr George, said:  

“These new and purposely Made-for-Wales qualifications, co-created to reflect the new Curriculum, will look and feel different to the GCSEs that learners in Wales currently take. While today’s announcement may be the culmination of a sustained process of collaboration, these decisions are just the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Welsh education.  

Seeking out the views of teachers, employers, awarding bodies, further and higher education – and of course, most importantly, learners – has been critical in shaping these new qualifications, to ensure that they meet the needs of all stakeholders from 2025.   

As a regulator, it’s our role to ensure that qualifications provide fair, reliable measures of attainment, and having involved so many partners and wider stakeholders in this reform work, I’m confident that these new Made-for-Wales GCSEs will deliver exactly that for our learners.   

I want to convey a sincere thank you to everyone who participated in this process – whether you joined an event, responded to the consultation, worked with us, commented on our social media channels, or shared your opinion with us along the way, thank you for helping us shape the future of qualifications in Wales.” 

Jess, a learner and member of Qualifications Wales’ learner group,commented:

I think that the creation of new Made-for-Wales GCSEs will be really beneficial for all learners in Wales. GCSEs have been modernised to better fit the needs and wants of pupils, with an increased use of technology in the courses and a greater mixture of assessment, including more opportunities for coursework. As a member of the Learner Group, it’s been great to see our thoughts valued by Qualifications Wales and to have our ideas included in the process.” 

Marc Belli, Headteacher of The Bishop of Llandaff High School and member of Qualifications Wales’ School and College Leaders’ Group, said: 

“I am pleased to have been able to contribute to this reform work. The qualifications our learners take will now align with how they are being taught as set out by the guiding principles of our new Curriculum for Wales. 

Qualifications Wales engaged with what we, as school leaders, had to say on these reforms. Ultimately, as leaders we had a range of different opinions on the design of qualifications and, in particular, specific subjects. However, I am grateful that we were involved in the process to help understand the potential impact of the proposals on students. Furthermore, Qualifications Wales were ready to explore alternative options for reforming specific subjects.   

I’m really excited to see our first cohort of learners studying for these new qualifications in two years’ time. This is an opportunity for transformational change for students in Wales and, potentially, for our wider society.”