Wales to see biggest change ‘in a generation’ to 14-16-year-olds’ education


Children aged 14 to 16-years-old in Wales are set to see the biggest change in their education “in a generation”.

That’s the message as plans are unveiled for a new set of work-related qualifications for the country’s secondary school students.

The Vocational Certificate in Secondary Education (VCSEs) are set to be rolled out by September 2027.

The new qualifications have been announced by regulator Qualifications Wales after a public consultation, with an aim to offer young people a more practical approach to learning about occupational areas.

Other qualifications will include skills for work and skills for life, such as first aid, financial literacy, food preparation and interview techniques.

They will sit alongside new GCSEs tailored specifically to Wales.

Cassy Taylor, the regulator’s director of qualifications policy, said the changes represented “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,” she said.

“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.”

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Ben Cottam, head of Wales for the Federation of Small Businesses, said access to skills was often raised as “a barrier to growth”.

“It is our hope that the new national 14-16 qualifications offer will go some way to improve choices for learners,” he added.

“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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