Voice Official Response: Qualified for the future
Background: The Qualified for the future consultation is looking at the kind of qualifications needed for the new curriculum, with the vision that "16-year-olds in Wales take globally respected qualifications that inspire and prepare them for life, learning and work".
We have some general concerns that need to be seriously considered when drafting new Y11 qualifications:
- It is vital that sufficient funding, training, time and other appropriate resources are devoted to ensuring that the education workforce, from Senior Leaders through to Learning Support staff are thoroughly up to speed with what is required from the new qualifications. This is easier said than done, especially when we have serious concerns that insufficient funding and time has been put aside to ensure that the education workforce is prepared for the new curriculum, let alone new qualifications.
- Any design of new qualifications needs to take into account how the teaching of such qualifications will differ from the previous qualifications. It is vital that the assessment arrangements are thoroughly considered; in particular, the viability of the proposed assessment methods throughout all settings offering the new qualifications in Wales, and the training required so that the education workforce is completely competent at assessing the qualifications when coursework or other types of non-exam based assessment is required.
- GCSEs in Wales have to be comparable in standard to GCSEs in England. This is essential so that young people in Wales are able to be able to rely on their qualifications in England, and internationally, and so that HE & FE institutions, and employers understand and trust GCSEs results from Wales.
- The purposes and aims of the new qualifications have to be clear to the education workforce, employers, parents and learners. Consistency of standards between qualifications is important as is the fact that learners who choose to go on to AS Levels and A Levels will still be doing the same post-16 qualifications, so there still needs to be appropriate progression from the new qualifications on to AS and A Levels.
- Little regard has been given to the well-being and professional development of the education workforce. The education workforce already has pressure placed on it due to inadequate schools funding and the pressure of delivering the new curriculum. Recruitment and retention of teachers in Wales is reaching a crisis point, and numbers entering Initial Teacher Education are falling year-on-year. Therefore, it is essential that consideration is given to the impact on the workforce of any new qualification provision as one of the number of impacts considered. We are still in favour ofa re-design of GCSEs to complement the new curriculum, but there has to be sufficient funding and professional development of the workforce in order for there to be sufficient and properly trained teachers to teach the new qualifications.
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