GCSEs: Make Sure You Understand Changes

Qualifications Wales is launching a NEW information campaign.

The move comes as pupils across the country prepare to sit exams this summer in the first batch of reformed subjects introduced in 2015.

More than 70,000 posters and leaflets are being sent to secondary schools across Wales for onward distribution to the parents of pupils in years 10 and 11, explaining what the changes mean to their children.

Information will also be sent to newsletters and websites run by education and employer representative organisations, and a dedicated section explaining the changes can be found on the Qualifications Wales website.

Wales is reforming GCSEs and retaining the traditional A*-G grades. England are also reforming their GCSEs, but a new 9-1 grading system is being introduced there.

"It's important that GCSEs remain rigorous and relevant for today's pupils while meeting the needs of colleges, universities and employers," said Qualifications Wales Chief Executive Philip Blaker.

"It's equally important that these changes are fully understood by the public, which is why we have launched this information campaign before the start of the summer exam series."

Examples of the changes are:

"    Splitting GCSE maths into two new exams - GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy;
"    Removing written non examination assessment from GCSE English Language;
"    Ensuring the history of Wales is a mandatory part of GCSE History. 

The new GCSEs are being introduced in Wales following a review by Welsh Government. They have been rolled out over three years between 2015 and 2017.
Northern Ireland, as well as England and Wales, are also in the process of introducing changes to their GCSE examinations.

"Even though England is changing to a 9-1 grading system for GCSEs, it's important for parents and employers to remember that it will not affect the value of GCSEs in Wales," said Mr Blaker.

"GCSEs awarded in Wales with A*-G grades will remain comparable to those taken in both England and Northern Ireland."

"Parents and employers can be confident that the qualifications taken in all three countries will continue to be of the same size and accessible to the same range of pupils."

Further information about the new GCSEs in Wales can be found at www.qualificationswales.org

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