Whatever the name and format of the qualification, Welsh pupils need to be leaving school with qualifications that are considered robust and are recognised internationally. GCSEs and A-Levels are already a very much recognised brand, but there is clearly room for improvement to ensure that the exams are accepted to be of a high quality.
The report into qualifications published today has called for a greater focus upon literacy and numeracy. This, I believe, is paramount. No matter what future journey Wales will take with regards to qualifications, we need to be ensuring all Welsh pupils are leaving schools with a high skills base. At the moment, that simply isn’t happening. As the PISA reports show, Wales is falling further and further behind internationally and this simply can’t be allowed to happen any longer. I welcome that this report has recognised that.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have often called for the regulation of exams to be taken out of the Education Minister’s hands, so I welcome that today’s report has endorsed this. The mess that unfolded this summer highlighted that it shouldn’t be left to the Education Minister to be the sole decider on the way exams are awarded. It is crucial that this new regulator is very much independent from the Welsh Government. The exam results pupils receive and have worked hard for should never again be allowed to become a political football.