ColegauCymru responds to new VCSEs announcement by Qualifications Wales

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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. 

ColegauCymru Chief Executive, David Hagendyk, said 

“A strong vocational education and training sector is fundamental to Wales’ economic recovery and success. Ensuring all learners have the skills they need to progress to the next stage of their learning or employment journey is critical, and qualifications play a central role here.   

We have engaged with Qualifications Wales on their proposal for a new VCSE qualification and we agree that there is a need for better options for all young people who are interested in studying vocational subjects. 

It is essential that there is genuine parity between VCSEs and GCSEs and that young people who choose a vocational pathway are not disadvantaged. This must mean that VCSEs are taught by specialist staff and that there are partnerships with colleges to ensure pupils have access to high-quality, industry standard facilities. 

There must also be a close monitoring of who is taking up the VCSE option to ensure that it isn’t creating a two-tier qualifications system and further embedding inequalities. 

Colleges will work closely and constructively with Qualifications Wales to ensure that these tests are delivered and that all young people have access to the education pathway that is right for them. 

We also strongly reiterate our call for the Welsh Government to develop a Vocational Education and Training Strategy. For far too long we’ve had no plan in Wales for vocational education and training and the result has been a series of short-term and fragmented interventions. There is now a responsibility on Ministers to step forward and ensure a new strategic vision for the future is in place as soon as possible.” 

Further Information 

Qualifications Wales Announcement 
Qualifications Wales announces exciting new range of qualifications 
30 January 2024 

Rachel Cable, Director of Policy and Public Affairs 

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