Qualified for the Future

Introduction

Qualifications should prepare learners in Wales for life, learning and work.

We’ve worked with teachers, learners, expert advisers, employers, colleges, training providers and universities, to co-create new National 14 to 16 Qualifications that support the aims and purposes of the Curriculum for Wales.

Schools are now responsible for shaping what learners are taught, guided by the Curriculum for Wales Framework. The new national offer will provide an equitable, coherent and bilingual choice of qualifications for schools to provide for their learners. Arrangements for school evaluation, improvement and accountability are also changing. School performance will be evaluated based on a broad and balanced range of evidence, with less exclusive emphasis on qualification results, giving more freedom to prioritise learners’ needs when designing new qualifications.

Made-for-Wales GCSEs

In autumn-winter 2022, we consulted on proposals for new Made-for-Wales GCSEs in 26 qualifications grouped around six areas of learning and experience. We analysed the consultation responses and published our decisions on Made-for-Wales GCSEs in June 2023.

The Full 14-16 Qualifications Offer

Between March-June 2023, we consulted on three proposals for qualifications that will sit alongside GCSEs to support the breadth of the Curriculum for Wales and prepare learners for work and life. We analysed the consultation responses and published our decisions in January 2024.

National 14-16 Qualifications

A comprehensive range of new National 14-16 Qualifications will be available for schools (and other pre-16 educational settings) to offer their learners by September 2027. This will include Made-for-Wales GCSEs, and new work-related VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education), along with Skills and Foundation qualifications. Some of these qualifications are being introduced sooner, with the first set of Made-for-Wales GCSEs being taught from September 2025.

  • Made-for-Wales GCSEs
    We're working closely with the awarding body (WJEC) and Welsh Government to develop 28 new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, for approval by September 2024 and first teaching in September 2025.
  • VCSEs
    13 new VCSE (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education) qualifications are being developed for first teaching from September 2027, offering an insight into broad occupational areas.
  • Foundation qualifications
    Foundation qualifications in eight areas of learning and experience and 15 work-related subjects at entry level and level 1, will enable learners to progress at the right level.
  • Skills Suite Qualifications
    Replacing the Skills Challenge Certificate, the Skills Suite will include qualifications in Skills for Work and Skills for Life, and a Personal Project on any subject of a learner's choice.

We’re working closely with Welsh Government, and awarding bodies, including WJEC, to develop a package of support to help schools and learners through these changes.