Qualifications Wales announces exciting new range of 14-16 qualifications

Posted on by karen.smith

English | Cymraeg

Ysgol Gyfun David Hughes











Following a public consultation, Qualifications Wales has published its decisions on the types of qualifications that will be available to 14 to 16 year-olds – alongside new Made-for-Wales GCSEs.

The changes which will shape the qualifications landscape for secondary school learners across the country, will see the introduction of new work-related VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education) as well as new skills-based qualifications.

This will provide all secondary learners with an innovative, exciting and inclusive new qualifications offer that meets the aims and purposes of the Curriculum for Wales.

When will learners start taking these qualifications?

The full range of National 14-16 Qualifications will be available by September 2027, and will include the new Made-for-Wales GCSEs, VCSEs (Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education), Foundation qualifications, Skills for Work and Skills for Life qualifications, and a Personal Project qualification.

New GCSEs will be introduced in two phases in 2025 and 2026, with the new GCSE subjects taking longer to develop than existing subjects. GCSE British Sign Language, VCSEs, skills qualifications and Foundation qualifications will then be introduced in 2027, and schools, teachers and learners will be supported through the transition.

Cassy Taylor, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform at Qualifications Wales, commented:

“This exciting range of Made-for-Wales qualifications, together with the new GCSEs that are already in development, represents the biggest transformation of 14-16 qualifications in a generation. It will mean that all learners, whatever their interest, aptitude or ability, will be able to gain recognition and reward for what they know, understand and can do. Armed with these new qualifications, they’ll be able to progress from the Curriculum for Wales to the next stage of learning and form a basis for their own personal success.”

Ben Cottam, Head of Wales for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Developing skills for the future is of the upmost importance for the future workforce and economy in Wales. Small businesses consistently raise access to skills as a barrier to growth. Our research tells us that closer links between providers, the business community, and teaching institutions, can really benefit learner outcomes, as well as supporting businesses in harnessing the right skills to grow, and thus bolstering local economies. 

It is our hope that the new National 14-6 Qualifications offer will go some way to improve choices for learners. By supplementing the curriculum with real-life experiences and interactions with small businesses within the local community, these qualifications will help learners to progress in life, learning and work.” 

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