Our Qualified for the Future reform work is driven by the needs of learners, employers and our economy. To support the breadth of the Curriculum for Wales, we’re reshaping the range of qualifications available for 14 to 16 year-olds, to meet the needs of all learners.

Our proposals
We developed three proposals for 14-16 qualifications alongside Made-for-Wales GCSEs, to create an inclusive range of bilingual qualifications (from entry level to level 2) which schools can offer learners. These proposals included:

  • a Skills Suite with an integral skills project qualification and units/qualifications in Skills for Life and Skills for Work
  • pre-vocational qualifications in broad occupational areas
  • Foundation qualifications to supplement new Made-for-Wales GCSEs

Find out more in our webinar recording or presentation.

Our consultation
We asked for your views on these proposals in our public consultation between 14 March and 14 June 2023. After analysing the consultation responses, we published our Full 14-16 Qualifications Offer consultation decisions in January 2024.

Our decisions

Our Consultation Report offers a detailed explanation of the decisions we’ve taken for 14-16 qualifications that will sit alongside Made-for-Wales GCSEs.

The Executive Summary explains our key findings and decisions in a summarised format.

Learners can read about the key decisions we’ve taken in our accessible Youth-friendly Report.

Next steps

We’re introducing new National 14-16 Qualifications, which will all be in place by September 2027. This will include qualifications from entry level to level 2, across a range of subjects. Schools will be able to offer learners a choice of the following types of qualifications:

  • Made-for-Wales GCSEs
  • VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education)
  • Foundation qualifications
  • a Skills Suite - with Skills for Work, Skills for Life and Personal Project qualifications

We’re now developing the approval criteria for the new VCSE, Skills and Foundation qualifications, which we’ll publish in late 2024.

Project background

There were around 1,200 non-GCSE qualifications available for 14 to 16 year-old learners in Wales before we began this reform work. We carried out a desk-based review of these qualifications, looking at how they align with the Curriculum for Wales, evaluating the international equivalents, and comparing them with qualifications in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

We talked with and listened to learners, teachers, headteachers, employers, parents/carers, training providers, universities, awarding bodies and others. We shared two online questionnaires, one for learners and one for others with an interest in qualifications for 14 to 16 year-olds in Wales, exploring:

  • what future qualifications and subjects are needed in this space?
  • which skills are needed for learners in this age group?
  • what role does assessment play in these qualifications?
  • how should digital technology be used in these qualifications?
  • what are the progression routes for post-16 learning?

Over several years, we’ve collaborated with dedicated working and stakeholder groups to develop proposals for qualifications for 14-16 year-old learners.

Want to find out more?

To discover more about the Full 14-16 Qualifications Offer consultation and decisions, contact