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Dear Geraint,

Thank you for your letter of 21 June as Chair of the Design and Delivery Advisory Group. I am extremely grateful for the effort, time and commitment the Group has invested in developing policy proposals for and supporting the subsequent implementation of alternative arrangements for qualifications this summer.

I welcome the real emphasis that has been placed on supporting learner wellbeing as well as progression, the detailed consideration that has been given to equalities, the continued focus on workload and the group’s efforts to build an approach that is flexible enough to be responsive to local circumstances whilst providing consistency and transparency to promote fairness and public confidence.

I recognise that this has not been an easy task and that it has at times necessitated detailed discussions and changes in approach – including responding at pace to the deteriorating public health situation. I also recognise that it has been a much greater commitment than any members originally envisaged. I believe that the consensus policy advice of a cross section of school leaders and college principals from across Wales, alongside the expert advice and support of Qualifications Wales and WJEC, has been crucial in developing the centre determined grades process and maintaining the broad understanding and support across the sector. I am confident we have developed a system that is transparent, fair, equitable and credible. Learners can have confidence in the grades awarded, so too can the wider education system and employers, within and beyond Wales.

I believe DDAG, reflective as it is of a broad spectrum of schools and colleges across Wales and having had the opportunity to work so intensively and in co-construction with my officials, Qualifications Wales and WJEC, has a unique insight into the challenges and opportunities we face in enabling learner progression whilst maintaining confidence and credibility in the qualification system. Therefore, in the autumn term, once the CDG process has fully concluded, I would like to invite the Design and Delivery Advisory Group to reflect on the work done during this academic year and the learning and opportunities that we can draw from it – both as we prepare for qualifications in 2022, as well as any longer term reflections on the opportunities for qualifications as we move forward with curriculum reform.

I would like to reiterate my thanks to you for your role in chairing DDAG and do not doubt that this has been challenging and required considerable personal conviction and commitment on your part. I would also like to extend my gratitude to all members of DDAG for the role that they have played this year in supporting our learners in qualifications years – recognising that they have invested their time and energy in doing so whilst fulfilling their demanding school and college leadership roles.

Yours sincerely,

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Jeremy Miles AS/MS
Gweinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg
Minister for Education and Welsh Language

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