Welsh curriculum changes | Pearson qualifications

Qualifications update: GCSE and BTEC in Wales from September 2012

22 May 2012

The Welsh government has briefed you on the changes to curriculum options for September 2012, so what does this mean for you? 

Read more

To help you understand your choices after this latest announcement, and to reassure you of the support and advice on offer from our Wales team, here's a summary of the latest information for:

  • BTEC
  • GCSE
  • ICT qualifications (AiDA, CiDA and DiDA)
  • WorkSkills.

Next generation BTECs: now available for first teaching in September 2012

The Welsh government has confirmed that it will allow Welsh schools and colleges to offer new vocational qualifications – including the next generation BTEC Firsts – from September 2012. The government has this week sent a letter to all Welsh schools and colleges explaining the background to this decision.

We are therefore delighted to confirm that both the existing QCF BTEC 2010 qualifications and the next generation BTEC Firsts are approved for teaching in Wales from September 2012.

Ofqual has accredited nine new BTEC First Award specifications in:

  • Application of Science
  • Art and Design
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Health and Social Care
  • Information and Creative Technology (I&CT)
  • Performing Arts
  • Principles of Applied Science
  • Sport

- which all retain GCSE equivalence in Wales.

To help you plan your timetabling for September 2012, we’ve created an at-a-glance grid to show the size equivalence for the QCF 2010 and next generation BTECs alongside GCSE:

BTEC and GCSE size equivalence (GLH)

GCSE size equivalence QCF
BTEC 2010 Qualification
Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Next generation NQF
BTEC 2012 Qualification
Guided Learning Hours (GLH)
1 GCSE BTEC First Certificate  90 GLH  BTEC First Award  120 GLH 
2 GCSEs BTEC First Extended Certificate  180 GLH  BTEC First Certificate*  240 GLH 
3 GCSEs     BTEC First Extended Certificate*  360 GLH 
4 GCSEs BTEC First Diploma  360 GLH  BTEC First Diploma*  480 GLH 

*The new BTEC First Certificate, Extended Certificate and Diploma sizes are still in development and subject to Ofqual accreditation.

The next generation BTEC Firsts in Applied Science will include two Awards (120 GLH), an Extended Certificate (360 GLH) and a Diploma (480 GLH) size.

We will keep you updated with accreditation news on these sizes.

A couple of important additional issues to note for your planning are:

  • Impact of Welsh Qualifications Review: This is still an interim decision to give you clarity and continuity for the 2012/13 academic year.

The final report from the Welsh Qualifications Review in autumn 2012 will determine which qualifications will be allowed in Welsh schools and colleges in the future.

We will keep you up to date with the outcomes of the Review as soon as they are available.

  • BTECs in Welsh: We are still working on offering our new next generation BTEC Firsts – including the new external assessment – in Welsh. This means that Welsh-medium centres who want the option of assessment in Welsh will need to remain on the existing QCF BTECs in September 2012. We will update you about assessment in Welsh for the next generation BTEC Firsts in due course.

GCSE: an update on linear and modular

The Welsh government has announced that awarding organisations will be free to offer both modular GCSEs and linear GCSEs in Wales. However, for students certificating after 2013, we have decided to offer only the new linear GCSEs in Wales.

We have sent information and support materials to all centres currently offering Edexcel GCSEs in Wales. If you'd like to know more about the linear reform support we're offering, please visit www.edexcel.com/GCSEreforms.

ICT: AiDA, CiDA and DiDA

Schools and colleges in Wales may continue to deliver the existing AiDA, CiDA and DiDA qualifications from September 2012 and qualify for the same GCSE equivalence in performance measures as before.
We're also developing a new 120 GLH CiDA qualification which is subject to Ofqual accreditation. You can stay up to date on this and all the latest ICT news by following our subject advisor on Twitter @ICTSubAdvisor.


The Welsh government has decided to allow schools and FE colleges in Wales to deliver the following WorkSkills qualifications to pre- and post-16 cohorts in Wales, despite them not yet being included on Section 96 for pre-16s in England:

  • 2011 BTEC Level 2 Award, Certificate, Extended Certificate and Diploma in WorkSkills (QCF).

The last registration date in Wales only for pre- and post-16 cohorts is now 31 August 2015 (although the last registration date for these qualifications in England remains 31 August 2012).

The Database of Accredited Qualifications in Wales is up to date with these two changes, which are different from the regulations governing the same qualifications in England.

The following WorkSkills qualifications are fully accredited for delivery in Wales from September 2012:

WorkSkills qualification QAN
Award 600/2292/9 
Certificate 600/2296/6 
Extended Certificate 600/2380/6 
Diploma 600/2383/1 

We’re here to help

Curriculum support for schools and FE colleges in Wales

Our dedicated team of Welsh curriculum specialists is on hand to understand the individual needs of your school or college and to offer advice, support and guidance on any Edexcel or Pearson qualification, product or service.

Please do feel free to contact them at any time to discuss your requirements, and invite them to work with you on curriculum reviews or Head of Department and teacher support sessions.


  • Paul Montague, School Curriculum Development Manager for Wales
    Paul works with the Senior Management Team to help schools develop and improve their curriculum offer.
    07825 376818
  • Verity Ellis, School Curriculum Support Consultant for Wales
    Verity works with Heads of Department to embed qualification change into schools.
    07885 834823

FE colleges

  • Jacqui Allen, FE Colleges Curriculum Development Manager for Wales, and Territory Manager for Wales
    Jacqui works with senior management teams and faculty in FE colleges to develop and improve their curriculum offer.
    07795 647110
  • Louise Perfitt, FE Colleges Curriculum Support Consultant for South Wales
    Louise works with Heads of Department to embed qualifications change into FE colleges in South Wales.
    01934 838726
    07885 834 854
  • Jacqueline Longworth, FE Colleges Curriculum Support Consultant for North Wales
    Jacqueline works with Heads of Department to embed qualifications change into FE colleges in North Wales.
    01782 564193
    07500 816 700

Are you sure you want to exit this session?