New body – Qualifications Wales – to regulate exams in Wales

A new body called Qualifications Wales will award and regulate exams in Wales. It will not only end the education minister’s role in regulation but put a question mark over the WJEC’s future. This is from the BBC…

The announcement on Wednesday followed a review of the qualifications taken by teenagers.

Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews was criticised when he used his powers as a regulator to order re-grade some GCSE papers.

He said he was forced to act because Welsh students had been the victims of an “injustice”.

A review into qualifications for 14-19-year-olds last month said Wales should retain GCSEs after they are phased out in England.

It is also said a new body should regulate qualifications at arm’s length from the Welsh government.

The review’s author, Huw Evans, will start work on setting up Qualifications Wales next year.

A detailed business case will be prepared in the first half of 2013.

Mr Andrews said a similar model of running qualifications had worked well in Scotland.

“We are clear as a government that this is the right way forward for us,” he said.

“Considerable thought will be given to the governance, remit, structure and operation of Qualifications Wales.”

He said the decision will have “implications” for the WJEC exam board which sets most of the exams sat by teenagers in Wales.

Discussions are underway with the board and with local councils, he said. The WJEC will continue to provide qualifications “as these discussions progress”.

A spokesperson for the WJEC said: “Our view is that this body also needs to be independent of awarding organisations, especially as it manages the risks associated with the ambitious qualifications development agenda set out by the Review of 14-19 Qualifications.”

In England exams are regulated by Ofqual.

More at:  New body Qualifications Wales to regulate Welsh exams

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