New qualifications

Summary

This report is in response to a request in the Cabinet Secretary’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2017-2018. It provides an overview on how schools and colleges are planning and implementing their curriculum after the introduction of the new GCSEs in English language, Welsh language, mathematics, mathematics-numeracy, and the Welsh Baccalaureate.
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Recommendations

Schools and colleges should:

  • R1 Challenge the full ability range and provide stimulating tasks that develop the resilience of learners
  • R2 Ensure that learners improve their writing in English and Welsh
  • R3 Have high expectations that all learners contribute orally especially in Welsh
  • R4 Improve pupils’ problem-solving skills in mathematics and in mathematics-numeracy
  • R5 Develop pupils’ higher-order reading skills in English, Welsh and mathematics and the Welsh Baccalaureate
  • R6 Improve boys’ performance in Welsh, English and the Welsh Baccalaureate
  • R7 Help more pupils to gain the highest grades in the Welsh Baccalaureate
  • R8 Provide better opportunities for pupils to develop their numeracy and ICT skills in the Welsh Baccalaureate
  • R9 Consider carefully their staffing and timetabling for the Welsh Baccalaureate and the status they place on the qualification
  • R10 Provide training for middle leaders to help them evaluate standards and teaching in their departments
  • R11 Work together better to ensure that they have legal, secure, and comprehensive arrangements for sharing information about learners’ prior attainments and to develop networks of professional practice

In addition:

  • R12 Schools should consider the breadth of their curriculum, including opportunities and encouragement to study English literature and Welsh literature
  • R13 Colleges should increase the number of learners resitting GCSE Welsh language