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What is the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification?

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The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification gives parity to academic or vocational routes, in line with Learning Pathways 14-19 in Wales. To achieve the full Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification students must achieve the full requirements of the Core Programme together with the necessary Options.

One of the significant features of the Welsh Baccalaureate is that it requires students to do both traditional qualifications and to develop other vital skills that prepare for both Higher Education and the world of work.

It is a widely recognised qualification. For example, UCAS has allocated 120 tariff points to the Advanced level Welsh Baccalaureate Core, the equivalent to a grade A at A Level. The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification is available at three levels:

  • Foundation level – which is broadly the level of GCSE grade D-G, or a  level 1 NVQ, for example;
  • Intermediate level – which is broadly the level of GCSE grade A*-C, or a  level 2 NVQ, for example; and
  • Advanced level – which is broadly the level of GCE A level, or a level 3 NVQ, for example.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification consists of two parts; the Options, and the Core.


Options are the subjects the learners choose from academic or vocational qualifications, such as their GCSEs, AS/A levels, BTECs, or NVQs.

‘Options’ are selected from established, approved courses/ programmes. For example GCSEs or AS/A Levels, Principal Learning and Project, and an additional qualification at an appropriate level, BTEC or NVQs.

The Options consist of recognised qualifications such as A Levels, GCSEs and NVQs. All students must achieve a minimum level of these qualifications to pass the Options part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. 
At Advanced Level, the minimum requirement is two GCE ‘A’ Levels grade A to E or NVQ level 3 or equivalent. 

At Intermediate Level it is four A* - C at GCSE or NVQ Level 2 or equivalent and at Foundation Level candidates must achieve four D-G at GCSE  or NVQ Level 1 or equivalent.

The Core

The Welsh Baccalaureate Core Programme provides greater breadth and balance in learners’ programmes and develops Essential Skills / Key Skills. It is designed to improve learners’ existing skills and build their interests.  The components of the Core Programme are:

  • Individual Investigation – the opportunity to carry out an individual research project into an area of interest;
  • Key Skills / Essential Skills Wales – as well as from their Options, students develop these transferable skills through the other four components outlined below;
  • Wales, Europe and the World – a chance to learn more about Wales and its relationship with Europe and the World. A language module at a level suitable for the student is included in this;
  • Work-Related Education – includes working with an employer and taking part in a team enterprise activity to help the student understand how businesses work;
  • Personal and Social Education – helps the student explore issues in the modern world: family, health, relationships, citizenship and sustainable development. It includes an activity in the local community.

Visit the Welsh Baccalaureate website for more information.