Time running out to Have Your Say on major overhaul of GCSEs in Wales

With less than a month to go until one of the largest consultations ever undertaken into education in Wales closes, Qualifications Wales is encouraging teachers, learners, parents, employers and the public to ‘Have Your Say’ on major changes to GCSEs.

To reflect the role that learners play at the heart of this national conversation, on 16 November schools across the country took part in ‘Have Your Say Day’, with teachers delivering tailored lessons to seek learners’ views on the proposals. Qualifications Wales also wants to hear the opinions of primary and secondary teachers, parents and carers, and employers.

When developing these proposals, Qualifications Wales gathered views from over 1,400 learners, on what they want from the qualifications of the future.

The proposed changes to 26 separate Welsh qualifications are in line with the requirements of the Curriculum for Wales, which started to be taught in many schools in September. Qualifications Wales is asking for feedback on the proposed content and assessment of a wide range of subjects, including brand-new GCSEs in Social Studies, Engineering, Film and Digital Media, and Dance.

The new Made-for Wales GCSEs and related qualifications will offer:

  • opportunities for learners to demonstrate the skills, knowledge and experiences gained from studying the Curriculum for Wales;
  • flexible content and assessments to help schools design their own curricula and meet the needs of learners;
  • a balanced mix of assessment methods, with less emphasis on exams and more opportunities to be assessed during the course of study;
  • more effective use of digital assessments

The new Made-for-Wales GCSEs will be introduced in 2025, with pupils currently in Year 7 being the first cohort to study for the new qualifications.

How to participate in the consultation:

Submit your views through Qualifications Wales’ dedicated website - Have your say - Qualifications Wales. You can respond to detailed proposals for each GCSE, or give general feedback on the changes overall.

The consultation, which launched on 4 October 2022, closes on 14 December 2022. In May 2023, we will publish the final design requirements, or ‘Approval Criteria’. Awarding bodies will need to follow these criteria when developing the detailed specification and assessments for each new qualification.

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

"This will be a major shift in education in Wales so it’s really important that we gather as broad a range of views as possible as part of this consultation. We’ve developed these proposals to reimagine what future GCSEs should look like in terms of design and content – now we need to hear what people think of them. While we’re keen to hear from learners who are studying at the moment, and from teachers, we also want to hear from others with a vested interest in ensuring that the new qualifications are fit-for-purpose - including parents, carers and employers. You don’t need to be working in the education sector to get involved in this consultation. Please tell us what you think before it closes on 14 December.”

Rhodri Thomas, Headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig in Aberystwyth, said:

"We were very pleased to welcome our former pupil, Emyr George, back to the school on Have Your Say Day, to explain the proposed changes to our pupils and encourage them to share their opinions on the proposals. We are very pleased that such wide-ranging views are being sought for this consultation, to ensure that the new qualifications will offer something for everyone. We are excited to help shape the GCSEs of the future.”