Wales Qualification Review recommendations | Pearson qualifications

Update on the Wales Qualification Review recommendations published in November 2012

5 December 2012

The Wales Qualification Review (WQR) has published its recommendations, so what do they mean for the pre- and post-16 curriculum in Wales?

Read on for a summary of how the WQR’s November 2012 publication will affect courses such as GCSEs, BTECs and skills qualifications.

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What’s happening now?

The WQR recommendations are currently under review with the Minister and we anticipate a response before spring half term 2013. We will contact schools and colleges in Wales, at that point, with more information.

How will the WQR affect 2013/14 curriculum planning?

We fully understand that Welsh schools and colleges are in the process of developing their curriculum planning and options booklets for September 2013. We’ve summarised our understanding of the current situation for each area of the curriculum:

GCSE and general qualifications

This academic year it will be business as usual; schools and colleges can continue to offer all their existing general qualifications (including GCSE and A Level) in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years. As we announced earlier in 2012, our GCSEs are now only available as linear qualifications, and we are no longer offering modular GCSEs. The recommendations do propose some future changes to the range of general qualifications available in Wales, and we will update you on final decisions and timelines in the new year.

Vocational qualifications and BTEC

Although we can be confident that BTEC courses will remain available to learners in Wales this academic year, we are awaiting confirmation from the Welsh government of their preferred versions for teaching from September 2013.

Extensions to the existing BTEC qualifications - We are currently extending our BTEC qualifications on the QCF, including BTEC Firsts and Nationals.

Next generation BTEC Firsts - Our new next generation BTEC First qualifications are under consideration for the Database of Accredited Qualifications in Wales (DAQW) for teaching pre-16 – here’s the latest situation at a glance:

Pearson BTEC Level 1 / Level 2 Firsts and the Database of Accredited Qualifications in Wales (DAQW)



120 GLH

1 GCSE Size


240 GLH

2 GCSEs Size

Extended Certificate

360 GLH

3 GCSEs Size

Art and Design On DAQW On DAQW On DAQW
Business On DAQW On DAQW On DAQW
Construction and the Built Environment On DAQW Being considered for DAQW In development
Creative Digital Media Production On DAQW Being considered for DAQW Submitted for ofqual
Engineering On DAQW Being considered for DAQW Being considered for DAQW
Health and Social Care On DAQW Being considered for DAQW Being considered for DAQW
Hospitality Being considered Being considered for DAQW In development
Information & Creative Technology (I&CT) On DAQW On DAQW On DAQW
Music On DAQW Submitted to OFQUAL In development
Performing Arts On DAQW On DAQW On DAQW
Travel and Tourism On DAQW Being considered for DAQW In development

We will send an update as soon as we have confirmation of DAQW status for all qualifications still under consideration or in development.

IVETS and BTECs - The Review also discusses the qualifications categories defined by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, and indicates that all vocational qualifications in Wales will be categorised using these guidelines. Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVETs) are defined as general or vocational education and training carried out in the initial education system, usually before entering working life, and all vocational qualifications delivered to 14- to 16-year olds in Wales would fall into this category. We are seeking final confirmation that our BTECs do qualify as IVETs and will update you in the new year.

Skills qualifications - Schools and colleges registered on Essential Skills Wales qualifications can carry on with their existing teaching plans for this academic year. The Minister will be considering some changes to the skills portfolio in Wales and, again, we will update you on this once we know more in 2013.

Next steps

While all awarding organisations are waiting to hear a response from the Minister and next steps from the regulators, we will keep Welsh schools and colleges up to date with the latest news. If you need any further support, in the meantime, please contact us.


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