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Recommendations of the Review of the Structure of the General Qualifications Market in Wales

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The Review Panel has made four recommendations to the Welsh Government following their Review of the Structure of the General Qualifications Market in Wales.

The Minister for Education and Skills commissioned a review into the structure of the general qualifications market in Wales. The review was undertaken by Mike Griffiths OBE, Paul Croake and Bethan Guilfoyle CBE. The review was launched in response to the allegations made in the Daily Telegraph in December 2011 regarding awarding organisation seminars. The review ran from February to May 2012.

The review panel found no clear evidence to indicate that the current market structure has had an adverse effect on standards.  Whilst stakeholders expressed a range of views, there was no clear consensus on the efficacy of the current system. The panel does not consider the current system to be critically flawed.

However, the review panel did consider that there were some aspects of the current system that could be improved. The following four recommendations have been presented to the Minister:

  1. At this moment in time there is insufficient evidence to move away from a multiple awarding body market. It acknowledged that changes could lead to the potential destabilisation of the system. However, the panel recommends that if any Wales-only qualifications emerge from the Review of Qualifications these may be well served by a single awarding organisation structure.
  2. In the longer term the Scottish qualifications system (based on the work of SQA (external link)) be considered as a possible model for Wales. This would necessitate examination of any legal and technical implications.
  3. As WJEC (external link) is the main provider of general qualifications in Wales, it is important that it is as robust and effective as possible going forward. The panel recommends that WJEC reviews its mission, structure and governance arrangements. It should give consideration to establishing a separate and clear focus on its core awarding functions. It should also incorporate a wider stakeholder group in line with a social enterprise model.
  4. Awarding organisations review their conflict of interest policies and develop guidance regarding the updating and professional development of teachers and examiners.

The review panel’s recommendations do not indicate that any immediate changes to the market structure for general qualifications in Wales are needed. The recommendations of this review will feed into the Review of Qualifications which is being chaired by Huw Evans OBE.  That Review will report to Ministers in November this year. The Welsh Government will formally respond to both sets of recommendations at the same time in January 2013.