UCAS qualification provision survey 2018

 
UCAS advisers

UCAS
qualification
provision survey
2018

June 2018
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Contents
                                          Executive Summary
                                          Survey overview
Executive summary                     3
                                          The qualification provision survey 2018 is the latest in a series of
Full report                           7   qualification reform surveys from UCAS, designed to understand
England                              12   how schools and colleges are responding to qualification reform.

England AS and A level               14
                                          Between November 2017 and February 2018, UCAS issued a survey
England: vocational qualifications   22   to all registered schools (4133) and colleges in the UK using its
England: GCSEs and the                    services, and the results of the survey cover the 2017 – 2019 cohort
                                          of students. There were 626 responses to the survey, of which 464
Extended Project Qualification       28
                                          were individual and analysable. The split by school type is detailed
Scotland                             34   on the next slide. The findings presented are not weighted by
                                          respondent type.
Wales                                42
Northern Ireland                     50
                                          Prior to 2018, the survey was focused on A level and AS level reform
Next steps                           58   in England, with the scope broadening year-on-year to include
                                          not only AS and A level provision, but also GCSEs and vocational
                                          qualifications. This year, UCAS has expanded the survey further, to
                                          incorporate a wider range of provision, and cover all four nations of
                                          the UK.

                                          The purpose of this survey is to gain a more comprehensive
                                          understanding of the response to qualification reform across the
                                          UK, and to provide recommendations for UCAS, higher education
                                          providers, and schools and colleges, based on this insight.
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    Response rate by country                                                                                                          England                                                                 Scotland
    and school type
                                                                                                                                      AS and A level provision                                                National 5 qualifications
                                                                                                                                        ++ 55% of respondents will not offer the AS at all in the 2017/18       ++ 57% of respondents do not have a policy for students
                                                                                                                                           academic year. In the 2016 /17 survey, this was 36%.                    bypassing National 5 qualifications, and 38% allow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   bypassing by individual students.
                                                                                                                                        ++ 14% are offering the AS in all reformed subjects, and 29% in
                                                                                                                                           some. Our previous survey indicated that 29% would offer the       Advanced Highers
                                                                                                                                           AS in all subjects, and 30% in some.                                 ++ 94% of respondents offer Advanced Highers.
    England                                                               Wales                                                         ++ 73% of respondents have changed their AS and A level                 ++ 67% of respondents collaborate with other centres or
                                                                                                                                           provision since 2015 /16, and 59% since 2016 /17.24% of                 providers to offer a provision of Advanced Highers, with
     School type                        Respondents     Percentage         School type                 Respondents       Percentage        respondents intend to revisit this decision in the future.              inter-school partnerships being the most common free
     Academy                            115             24%                Further education college   5                 15%                                                                                       text response.
                                                                                                                                      Vocational qualification provision
     Free school                        6               2%                 Independent school          5                 15%            ++ 55% of respondents are delivering a reformed specification,        Qualification reform in Scotland
                                                                                                                                           however an additional 35% are dual running both reformed             ++ 38% of centres have changed their qualification offering as
     Further education college          29              9%                 Sixth form college          2                 6%                and unreformed specifications.                                          a result of qualification reform.
     Grammar school                     16              5%                 State school                22                65%
                                                                                                                                        ++ 23% of respondents do not feel that HE providers have a good         ++ 81% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have
     Independent school                 100             30%                Total                       34                100%              understanding of these qualifications, a slight increase on             a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform
                                                                                                                                           2016 /17 (22%). No respondents indicated that providers had             in Scotland.
     Sixth form college                 20              6%                                                                                 no understanding, an improvement on 2017.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ++ 93% felt informed when making decisions about reformed
     State school                       48              14%                                                                             ++ The majority of respondents to this section offer vocational            qualifications.
                                                                                                                                           qualifications awarded by Pearson (91%). However, schools
     Total                              334             100%
                                                                                                                                           and colleges also offer a range of vocational qualifications
                                                                                                                                           awarded by other bodies such as OCR, City and Guilds,
                                                                                                                                           and AQA and it is important for HE providers to reflect
                                                                                                                                           this diversity.

                                                                                                                                        ++ The 360 GLH qualification is the most popular size of
                                                                                                                                           vocational qualification on offer, with 33% of respondents
                                                                                                                                           offering this, followed by the 720 GLH (25%)

                                                                                                                                      GCSE provision
                                                                                                                                        ++ Where respondents have a GCSE requirement in English and
                                                                                                                                           Maths to study post-16, the majority of respondents ask for
                                                                                                                                           a grade 4 (55% English; 55% Maths).

                                                                                                                                        ++ 75% of respondents feel confident in identifying the standard
    Scotland                                                              Northern Ireland                                                 that a student is performing at under the 9 –1 grading scale
     School type                        Respondents     Percentage         School type                 Respondents       Percentage   Extended Project provision
     Academy                            1               2%                 Grammar school              28                58%            ++ 82% of respondents offer the EPQ, and 96% believe that
     High/Secondary school              28              58%                State school                20                42%               universities and colleges have a good to reasonable
                                                                                                                                           understanding of the qualification.
     Independent school                 14              29%                Total                       48                100%
     State school                       5               10%                                                                           Qualification reform in England

     Total                              48              100%                                                                            ++ 54% of respondents have changed the range of subjects
                                                                                                                                           or qualifications offered as a result of qualification reform.

                                                                                                                                        ++ 86% of respondents felt informed when making decisions
                                                                                                                                           about reformed qualifications, however the free text
                                                                                                                                           responses indicate that there is still confusion over HE
                                                                                                                                           entry requirements and offer making with regards to
                                                                                                                                           reformed qualifications.
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    Wales                                                                Northern Ireland

    Welsh Baccalaureate                                                  AS and A level provision

      ++ 85% of respondents offer the Advanced Skills Challenge             ++ The qualifications open market in Northern Ireland means
         Certificate. Of those respondents, 69% offer it alongside two         some students will take decoupled A levels, offered by AQA,
         A levels, and 24% alongside three.                                    OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), where the AS marks do not
                                                                               contribute to the overall A level grade, while others will take
      ++ 69% felt that universities and colleges had a good to                 A levels offered by CCEA and WJEC, which include a coupled
         reasonable understanding of the Welsh Baccalaureate,                  AS level. CCEA is the largest awarding body, with 98% of
         with 3% feeling they have no understanding at all.                    respondents offering CCEA accredited A levels.

    GCSE Maths and GCSE Numeracy                                            ++ When offering non-CCEA A levels, 94% of respondents
                                                                               continue to offer the AS level in some form.
      ++ 79% of centres offer both GCSE Mathematics and
         GCSE Numeracy. 59% of respondents offer both to all
         students, and an additional 9% offer both to more than
         half of their students.
                                                                         Qualification reform in Northern Ireland
                                                                            ++ 56% of respondents have changed their qualification offering
    Qualification reform in Wales                                              as a result of qualification reform.
      ++ 41% of centres have changed their qualification offering
         as a result of qualification reform.                               ++ 80% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have
                                                                               a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform
      ++ 88% of respondents felt that universities and colleges have           in Northern Ireland.
         a good to reasonable understanding of qualification reform
         in Wales.                                                          ++ 65% of respondents felt informed when making decisions
                                                                               about reformed qualifications.
      ++ 74% felt informed when making decisions about reformed
         qualifications, and only 6% described themselves as ‘not at
         all informed’.                                                  The following full report is summarised by UK nation. Findings
                                                                         are presented alongside country profiles offering an overview of
                                                                         qualification reform in that nation.

                                                                                                                                                 Full report
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    Full report
                                                                            Overview of previous surveys                                              UCAS qualification reform roundtable

                                                                            Qualification provision survey 2017
    UCAS qualification                                                                                                                                UCAS held a roundtable session in January 2018, to act as a forum
                                                                                                                                                      to reflect on how the education sector was prepared for, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Other key findings from the roundtable, some of which are mirrored
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in the findings of this survey, include:
    provision survey                                                          ++ 59% of respondents indicated that they would offer the AS in
                                                                                 all or some subjects, with 43% indicating that they intend to        responded to, qualification reform. It focused on what went well,
                                                                                                                                                      where there were gaps in knowledge, and / or a lack of response, and             ++ recognition that there was an unprecedented level of change,
                                                                                 revisit the decision for the 2017 / 18 academic year.
                                                                                                                                                      sought to identify activities and resources that most supported the                 but other changes on the horizon (e.g. vocational qualification
    Qualification reform has led to considerable debate
                                                                              ++ 23% of respondents were offering an unreformed vocational            entire sector with the changes, and any that could be undertaken                    reform in England) would require careful preparation,
    about how secondary schools and colleges might alter
                                                                                 specification, and 22% felt that universities and colleges did       again in the event of future reforms.                                               communication, and support on both sides
    their 16 –19 curriculum. UCAS has taken a central role
    in communicating intelligence regarding qualification                        not have a good understanding of vocational qualifications.
                                                                                                                                                      The feedback from the qualification provision survey was noted                   ++ other factors surrounding higher education increased
    reform. UCAS sought to keep both the HE and pre-HE                                                                                                                                                                                    competition, and the declining 18 year old population,
                                                                              ++ 40% of respondents did not feel confident in identifying             as very useful, for both HE providers, and school and college
    sectors informed of developments, and how qualification                                                                                                                                                                               may have mitigated some of the challenges
                                                                                 a student’s performance in the reformed GCSE grading.                representatives, in understanding how the pre-HE sector responds
    reform could, and would, impact both on the provision
                                                                                                                                                      to qualification reform. As a result of this feedback, the expanded
    offered by schools and colleges, and applications to                                                                                                                                                                               ++ there was a good understanding of both the HE and school
                                                                              ++ 70% of respondents felt that they had sufficient information         survey will continue as a UK wide piece.
    higher education.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and college response to qualification reform, and UCAS should
                                                                                 regarding qualification reform, compared to 51% in 2016.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          continue to take a central role in communicating intelligence
    To date, UCAS has published the results of two A level                                                                                                                                                                             ++ qualification reform statements were cited as a key resource
    surveys – Unpacking Qualification Reform (2015 and                      Unpacking qualification reform
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          for schools and colleges
    2016) – and one qualification provision survey (2017),                  2016
    encapsulating the wider range of qualifications in
    England. We have also produced a range of resources to                    ++ The AS was more prevalent in the 2015 /16 academic year
    support all audiences with the changing qualifications                       than previously thought, with 74% of respondents indicating
    landscape, including flyers, videos, and our qualification                   they would offer the AS in all or some subjects.
    reform guide, providing a more detailed overview of
                                                                              ++ 26% of respondents indicated that the range of qualifications        Methodology
    qualification reform across the UK.
                                                                                 they offer had changed as a result of reforms.
                                                                                                                                                      UCAS emailed all registered Apply centres between November and February 2018, with information regarding the new qualification provision
    The higher education and secondary sectors have both                                                                                              survey. The questions were dynamic, and differed between UK nations. Overall, the survey received 464 individual, analysable responses. Due to
    found the intelligence gathered through these surveys                   2015                                                                      the logic of survey questions and user engagement, different questions will have differing levels of participation. The findings presented are not
    valuable in understanding the national response to                        ++ 66% said they would offer the reformed AS qualifications in          weighted by respondent type.
    qualification reform, and, as a result, the qualification                    some or all subjects.
    provision survey is now an annual publication. This year,
    this has been expanded to cover all UK nations, to help                   ++ A diverse range of influencing factors – funding, timetabling,        School type          England         Percentage        Scotland       Percentage     Wales           Percentage      Northern       Percentage
    them understand the wider impact of qualification reform                     performance measures, and university entry requirements, in                                                split*                           split*                         split*          Ireland        split*
    across the UK.                                                               addition to the belief that there is intrinsic value in a midpoint
                                                                                                                                                       Academy              115             34%               1              2%             -               -               -              -
                                                                                 assessment.
    The survey now covers a wide range of qualifications                                                                                               Free school          6               2%                -              -              -               -               -              -
    from across the UK, including AS and A levels, GCSEs, the
                                                                                                                                                       Further              29              9%                -              -              5               15%             -              -
    Welsh baccalaureate, SQA qualifications, and vocational
                                                                                                                                                       education
    qualifications (England only).
                                                                                                                                                       college

                                                                                                                                                       Grammar school       16              5%                -              -              -               -               28             58%

                                                                                                                                                       High/Secondary       -               -                 28             58%            -               -               -              -
                                                                                                                                                       school (Scotland)

                                                                                                                                                       Independent          100             30%               14             29%            5               15%             -              -
                                                                                                                                                       school

                                                                                                                                                       Sixth form           20              6%                -              -              2               6%              -              -
                                                                                                                                                       college

                                                                                                                                                       State                48              14%               5              10%            22              65%             20             42%

                                                                                                                                                       Total                334             100%              48             100%           34              100%           48              100%

                                                                                                                                                       Grand total                                                                      464
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     Has the range of qualifications or subjects you offer changed                                                                                                          How informed did you feel when making
     as a result of qualification reform?                                                                                                                                   decisions about reformed qualifications?
                                 Has the range of qualifications or subjects you offer changed as a result of qualification reform?

                                  80%                                                                                                                                                                   80%

                                  70%                                                                                                                                                                   70%
     Percentage of respondents

                                                                                                                                                                            Percentage of respondents
                                  60%                                                                                                                                                                   60%

                                  50%                                                                                                                                                                   50%

                                  40%                                                                                                                                                                   40%
                                                                                                                                                 Country                                                                                                                                                   Country
                                  30%                                                                                                                                                                   30%
                                                                                                                                                 England              334                                                                                                                                  England            296
                                  20%                                                                                                            Scotland             48                                20%                                                                                                Scotland           45

                                  10%                                                                                                            Wales                34                                10%                                                                                                Wales              31

                                                                                                                                                 Northern Ireland     47                                                                                                                                   Northern Ireland   37
                                     0                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                             England          Scotland           Wales       Northern Ireland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Very
                                                                                                                                                                                                              informed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Moderately
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   informed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Not very
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        informed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Not at all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           informed
                                                                      Country
                                                                      Yes        No

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Country

     Do you feel you have sufficient information about qualification reform                                                                                                                                      England          Scotland            Wales         Northern Ireland

     when making decisions about future provision?

     In 2016, 49% of respondents did not feel that they had sufficient information about qualification reform.

                    Do you feel you have sufficient information about qualification reform when making decisions about future provision?

                                 100%

                                  80%
     Percentage of respondents

                                  60%

                                                                                                                                                 Country
                                  40%
                                                                                                                                                 England              295

                                                                                                                                                 Scotland             45
                                  20%
                                                                                                                                                 Wales                31

                                                                                                                                                 Northern Ireland     37
                                     0
                                             England          Scotland           Wales       Northern Ireland

                                                                      Country
                                                                       Yes       No
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          England
          For the 2017 / 18 academic year, what
          was your main qualification         offer?
                          For the 2017/18 academic year, what was your main qualification offer?

                                    A level and AS level only

              A level and vocational provision, such as BTECs

                            A level and the Extended Project

                                International Baccalaureate

                                     A level and Core Maths

                                A level and Pre-U certificates

                    Vocational provision only, such as BTECs

                                                       Other

                                                                 0    10%        20%      30%          40%        50%     60%

          n=334                                Total       Independent school     Academy         All other respondents

England
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              England AS and A level
              Qualification reform                                                           Have you changed your
              in England                                                                     AS provision since:
                                                                                                        Have you changed your AS provision since:
                                                                                             2015 /16
              AS and A level reform
              Reformed A levels were first taught in 2015
              and are two-year, linear qualifications, with
                                                                                     Total
              exams taking place at the end of the course.
              Non-exam assessment has been reduced,
              and UMS marks removed. The introduction of
              reformed A levels has been phased by subject,
              and summer 2020 will see all A levels following         Independent school
              this model.

              The AS has been decoupled so that they
                                                                     All other respondents
              are standalone qualifications which do not
              count towards the A level. They are separately
              awarded and certificated, although students
              may be able to sit an AS qualification as part
              of their overall A level programme, if offered                    Academy
              by their school or college. AS levels have
              been designed to be co-taught alongside the
              corresponding A level.                                                         0          10%     20%     30%     40%     50%         60%   70%     80%

                                                                                                                              Yes      No
              Reformed science A levels in England will include

England AS
              a separate result for the practical element of
              the qualification (pass or not classified). This
              result does not contribute to the overall A level                              2016 /17
              grade, however, practical skills will be referenced

and A level
              in the final written exams.
                                                                                     Total
              The grading scales remain A* – E for A levels,
              and A – E for AS levels.

                                                                      Independent school

                                                                     All other respondents

                                                                                Academy

                                                                                             0          10%     20%     30%     40%     50%         60%   70%     80%

                                                                                                                              Yes      No

                                                                                                 Year

                                                                                                 2015/16                285

                                                                                                 2016/17                283
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     AS levels: For the 2017/18                                                                                                                                What were the key drivers when making
     academic year, we are:
                                                                                                                            “                                  decisions about your AS provision?
                               2%                                                          We used to require all students to take three A levels and
                                                                                             one stand alone AS level as their minimum sixth form              Ranked from 1 – 7, with 1 being the most important
                                                                                           programme. We now only expect students to take three
                                                                                                                                                          What were the key drivers when making decisions about your AS provision (ranked from 1-7, with 1 being the most important)?
                                                                                          A levels as their minimum sixth form programme. We have
                                                                                            done this to save money, and because universities only
     29%                                                                                                                                                        University and college entry requirements
                                                                                                         require three A levels for entry.

                                                                                                                   Grammar school                                                            Timetabling

                                                               55%
                                                                                                                                                                                              School size

                                                                                                                                                                                  Performance measures

             14%
                                                                                                                            “                                                                   Funding

                                                                                            We offered it the first year to all, then last year only to
                                                                                                                                                                                           Cohort ability
                                                                                           those who underperformed at the mocks, and there was
                                                                                             doubt about their ability to cope with the full A level.
             Not offering AS at all                                                                                                                                                                Other
             Offering the AS in all reformed subjects                                                                  Academy                                                                              0            20%       40%            60%     80%         100%
             Offering the AS in some reformed subjects
             Undecided about our AS provision
                                                                                                                                                               n=271                                 1          2    3         4   5       6      7
     n=292

     There has been a significant increase in the number of centres not
     offering the AS (36% in 2017).                                                                                         “
                                                                                            Now that all subjects are linear, we feel it makes sense
                                                                                            to embrace a linear approach. It is also clear that AS
                                                                                            qualifications have no impact on university decisions.

                                                                                                                  Independent school

                                       AS levels: For the 2017/18 academic year we are:

         Offering th AS in all reformed subjects

     Offering the AS in some reformed subjects

                       Not offering the AS at all

             Undecided about our AS provision

                                                    0          10        20         30          40         50          60

                                      Total     Independent school        Academy         All other respondents
     n=292
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           Do you intend to revisit your decision                                                                                                                          As a result of A level reform, has the
           about AS provision in the future?                                                                                                                               amount of teaching time available in
                                                                                                                                                                           your centre changed?

                                                                                                                                “                                                                                                                                                                 “
              30%                                           24%                                                                                              As a result of A level reform, has the amount of teaching time available in your centre changed?

                                                                                                All students previously sat AS levels at end of Year 12.                                               5%                                                            Lesson allocation remained the same, but gained time
                                                                                               Changed due to prohibitive cost, and the fact that grades                                                                                                            through not taking AS examinations in the summer term.
                                                                                                         were not needed for university entry.                                                                              21%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Independent school
                                                                                                                             Academy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       9%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “
                                             47%
                                                                                                                                “                                                                                                                                    We used to provide less teaching time in Year 13 to each
                                                                                                      Stopped offering AS in reformed subjects, as not                                                                                                               A level than in Year 12, now we have raised the teaching
                  Yes                                                                                     always easily co-teachable with A level.                                                                                                                   time in Year 13 to match that in Year 12 for each A level.
                                                                                                                                                                            65%
                  No
                  Undecided                                                                                                  Academy                                                                                                                                                         Grammar school

                                                                                                                                                                                 Increased
           n=289
                                                                                                                                                                                 Decreased

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “
           In 2017, 43% of respondents intended to revisit their decision about                                                                                                  Remained the same
           AS provision in the future.
                                                                                                                                “                                                Not yet clear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       At the moment, the teaching time has not changed.
                                                                                                    We no longer offer AS, as we do not have the staffing                  n=294
                                                                                                    capacity or the number of students to accommodate                                                                                                                However, it is becoming more and more clear that more
                                                                                                             separate courses at A and AS level.                                                                                                                     time is needed to fulfil the practical side, as well as the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    theory side of the sciences.
                                                                                                                            State school
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Independent school
Do you intend to revisit your decision about AS provision in the future?
                                                                                                                                                            As a result of A level reform, has the amount of teaching time available in your centre changed?

                                                                                                                                                                                     Increased
                    Yes

                                                                                                                                                                                     Decreased

                    No

                                                                                                                                                                           Remained the same

            Undecided
                                                                                                                                                                                   Not yet clear

                          0       10%        20%         30%        40%          50%        60%                                                                                                    0        10%    20%     30%     40%        50%     60%      70%       80%

                   Total       Independent school         Academy          All other respondents                                                                                 Total       Independent school            Academy          All other respondents

           n=289                                                                                                                                                           n=294
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          As a result of A level reform, has your centre sought more collaborative arrangements                                                          Subject provision
                                                                                                                                                    Subject provision from 2017/18
          with other centres for the provision of certain subjects?                                                                                      from 2017 / 18

ult of A level reform, has your centre sought more collaborative arrangements with other centres for the provision of certain subjects?                                     300

                                                                                                                                                                            250
                                                16%

                                                                                                                                                     Numberof respondents
                                                                                                                                                                            200

                                                                                                                                                                            150

                                                                                                                                                                            100

                                                                                                                                                                             50

                                                                                                                                                                              0
                  84%

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Classical civilisation
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Computer science
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Dance
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Design and technolgy
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Drama and theatre
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Economics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Electronics
                                                                                                                                                                                                              English language
                                                                                                                                                                                              English language and literature
                                                                                                                                                                                                              English literature
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Environmental science
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Film studies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Further maths
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Geography
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Geology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           History
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   History of art
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Italian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maths
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Media studies
                                                                                                                                                                                  Modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Music
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Music technology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Philosophy
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Physical education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Physics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Politics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Psychology
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Religious studies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Russian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sociology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                All of the above
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Law
               Yes
               No
                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                                 Arrangement with other nearby sixth form
                                                                                                was in place already, in order to offer minority
          n=294                                                                                      subjects such as law and language.

                                                                                                                       Academy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           AS level    A level

                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                              We are in a consortium of schools – the subjects
                                                                                             being taught at each centre will vary year-on-year,
                                                                                                            depending on need.

                                                                                                                      Free school

                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                            We collaborate with a local state school. We send our
                                                                                            students to them for sociology and politics and their
                                                                                                    students come to us for photography.

                                                                                                                  Independent school
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                 England: vocational qualifications
                 Qualification reform in England

                 Vocational qualification reform
                 Some vocational qualifications offered at Level 3 have been                                            ++ Content: A qualification specification must state the specific
                 reformed as a result of changes to school performance tables.                                             content students must pass to achieve it. Mandatory content,
                 Vocational qualifications must meet the criteria set by the                                               and the associated contribution to the overall grade, must
                 Department for Education (DfE) in order to count towards school                                           make up at least 60% of an Applied General, and 40% of
                 performance tables. For accountability purposes, vocational                                               a Tech level.
                 qualifications are now classified as:
                                                                                                                        ++ External assessment: Applied Generals must have at least
                                                                                                                           40% external assessment, and Tech levels must have 30%.
                    ++ Applied General qualifications: The purpose of these                                                Students will also be given one opportunity to resit.
                       qualifications is to provide a broader vocational education.
                       They ‘are designed for students wanting to continue their                                        ++ Synoptic assessment: The qualification must assess that
                       education through applied learning.’ These qualifications must                                      a student can use all the skills, techniques, concepts, theories,
                       meet a number of criteria, including endorsement by at least                                        and knowledge they have learnt.
                       three universities and colleges.
                                                                                                                        ++ Grading: Must be graded using three grading points or more,
                    ++ Tech level qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications                                      such as distinction / merit / pass.
                       is to lead to a ‘recognised occupation’. Examples provided                               Further information on qualification reform in England can be found
                       by the DfE include engineering, accounting, construction,                                in the UCAS qualification reform guide.
                       manufacturing, agriculture, and IT. These qualifications must
                       meet a number of criteria, including the endorsement of five
                       employers registered at Companies House.
                 Applied General and Tech level qualifications are significantly different.
                                                                                                                 Which organisation awards the
England:
                    ++ Size: Applied General qualifications require at least 150
                       guided learning hours (GLH). Tech level qualifications require                            vocational qualifications you deliver?
                       at least 300 GLH.

vocational                                                                                                             200

qualifications                                                                                                         150

                                                                                              Number of respondents
                                                                                                                       100

                                                                                                                        50

                                                                                                                         0

                                                                                                                             Pearson (BTEC)

                                                                                                                                              OCR

                                                                                                                                                     AQA

                                                                                                                                                            WJEC/Edquas

                                                                                                                                                                          City and guilds

                                                                                                                                                                                            VTCT

                                                                                                                                                                                                   NCFE

                                                                                                                                                                                                            CACHE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Other
                                                                                                                 n=218                                Awarding organisation
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                     What size vocational qualification                                                                                    If you have delayed the introduction of
                     do you offer? What size vocational qualification do you offer?                                                        teaching a new specification, what was
                                                                                                                                           the rationale behind your decision?

                             1080 GLH, the same size as three A levels

                                                                                                                                                                        “
                                  720 GLH, the same size as 2 A levels
Qualification size

                                                                                                                                            To enable subject teams to have more time to plan, and
                      540 GLH, the same size as an A level and AS level
                                                                                                                                                    allow new specifications time to ‘settle.

                                                                                                                                                                Sixth form college
                                  360 GLH, the same size as an A level

                                 180 GLH, the same size as an AS level
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                          0            30       60            90      120     150
                                                                                                                                                                        “                                  Our excellence in delivering the existing qualification
                                                                                                                                                                                                            which suits our learners, and provides those skills
                                                                              Number of respondents                                        Assessment regime. These students thrive on coursework-                      universities are looking for.
                     n=218                                                                                                                   based programmes, and don’t cope well with exams.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Academy
                                                                                                                                                                    Academy

                     For the 2017/18 academic year, are you:
                              For the 2017/18 academic year, are you:

                                                                                                                                                                        “                                                            “
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Students achieving well on unreformed BTEC; feedback
                                                                                                                                            A mix has been taught based on what was best going to        from exam boards and other schools suggests that pass
                                                                                                                                                   suit the subject and cohort for that year.             marks etc., are disadvantageous to student outcomes.
                      35%                                                                                                                                    Further education college                                              State

                                                                                 55%

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                                                                                         To introduced staged changes at school. This enabled us
                             7%                                                                                                                                                                            to become familiar with the new content of A levels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   before adding in the changed BTEC.
                                      4%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Academy
                              Delivering a reformed specification
                              Delivering a specification that has not been reformed
                              Delivering an existing specification, delaying teaching of the new version
                              Delivering both reformed and unreformed specifications in different subjects

                     n=200

                     In 2017, 23% of respondents delayed the teaching of the new
                     version of vocational qualifications, compared to 4% in 2018.
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     To what extent do you believe                                                                                                             Feedback on the delivery of reformed
     universities and colleges understand                                                                                                      vocational qualifications:
     these qualifications?
             To what extent do you believe universities and colleges understand these qualifications?

        23%
                                           13%
                                                                                                                                                                                                              “
                                                                                                                                                                           The exam element and new assessment process to the BTEC courses
                                                                                                                                                                        has significantly changed these courses, and I do not believe universities
                                                                                                                                                                            appreciate this. They are still judging these on the previous 100%
                                                                                                                                                                         coursework courses, and now the complexity of the BTEC exams needs
                                                                                                                                                                           to be taken into account. Students who previously would have been
                                                                                                                                                                        directed down the BTEC route due to the coursework nature of the course
                                                                                                                                                                         are finding the courses inaccessible, due to the exam and the structure
                                                                                                                                                                                                   of the assignments

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Academy

                                            63%

        Good understanding
        Reasonable understanding
        Not a very good understanding
                                                                                                                       “                                                     “                                                                     “
                                                                                    There has been no adjustment for the more challenging        The new qualifications are more demanding given the                  I think they are better prepared for university, the course is
     n=201                                                                                  nature of the reformed qualifications.             exams they must sit, but the skills are more robust due to             more research-based that it was, and they’ll have a deeper
                                                                                                                                               the work the students complete with external businesses.                             understanding of practitioners.
                                                                                                                   State school
                                                                                                                                                                       State school                                                              Academy

                                                                                                                       “                                                     “
                                                                                    Getting better, and valuing them more as A levels is now
                                                                                                                                                It is good that they have a final exam which keeps the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “
                                                                                   producing more students who know how to pass an exam,                                                                              Greater focus and more skills-driven, but the introduction
                                                                                      whereas the BTECs promote research and continual           students working right up until the end of the course.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of formal examination seems counter to the spirit of
                                                                                      assessment more in line with degree requirements           It puts them more in line with the A levels that most
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the qualification.
                                                                                                                                                                students are taking here.
                                                                                                                    Academy                                                                                                                 Independent school
                                                                                                                                                                       State school

                                                                                                                                                                             “                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                               The students are finding the exams impossible. Students                A greater focus on examinations seems to remove some of
                                                                                                                                                  who take these qualifications tend to be those that                 the benefits to learners of experiencing hands-on activity.
                                                                                                                                                 struggle with exams, hence them not taking A levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Academy
                                                                                                                                                                    Sixth form college
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                   England: GCSEs and the
                   Extended Project Qualification
                   Qualification reform in England

                   GCSE reform
                   Reformed GCSEs were first taught in England in 2015, and follow
                   the two-year linear model. Non-exam assessment has been removed
                   unless essential for subject-specific assessment which can’t be
                   assessed by written exam (e.g. speaking skills in English language).

                   Reformed GCSEs are graded 9-1, and no direct comparison can be
                   made between the alphabetical and numeric scales in England.
                   However, broadly, the same proportion of students who would have
                   achieved a grade C and above are expected to achieve a grade 4
                   and above, and the same proportion who would have achieved
                   a grade A and above expected to achieve a 7 and above.                                    GCSE requirement for schools
                   GCSE reform has been phased, and summer 2020 will see all GCSEs
                                                                                                             and colleges
                   graded 9 –1. Students will receive a mixture of letter and number
                   grades during this period.                                                                In this survey, 247 schools and colleges indicated that they have
                                                                                                             a GCSE entry requirement in English and Maths. These requirements
                                                                                                             are generally as follows:
                   The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
                                                                                            GCSE requirement for schools and colleges
                   Whilst the EPQ has not been reformed, there has been an increase
                   in the number of students taking the qualification, although it is not
                                                                                                                    150
                   offered by all centres.

England:
                                                                                                                    120

                                                                                            Number of respondents
GCSEs and the
                                                                                                                     90

                                                                                                                     60

Extended Project                                                                                                     30

Qualification                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                              4       5              6           7           8
                                                                                                                                              Grade

                                                                                                                                          English        Maths

                                                                                                                    Subject

                                                                                                                    English        251

                                                                                                                    Maths          248
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           How confident do you feel in                                                                                                                            Does your centre offer the Extended
           identifying the standard that a                                                                                                                         Project Qualification?
           student is performing under the                                                                                                               Does your centre offer the Extended Project Qualification?

           numeric grading scale?
                                                                                                                             “
                                                                                                                                                                    100%

         In 2017,do
   How confident  36%youoffeel
                            respondents   indicated
                               in identifying       that they
                                              the standard    were
                                                           that    not at all
                                                                a student is performing under theItnumeric
                                                                                                    will begrading
                                                                                                            at leastscale?
                                                                                                                      a couple of years to be sure.
         confident in identifying how a student was performing.                                                                                                      80%
                                                                                                                          Academy
                                        1%
                                                   13%                                                                                                               60%
               24%

                                                                                                                             “
                                                                                                                                                                     40%

                                                                                             We will review at the end of the year to see how students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “
                                                                                                                                                                     20%
                                                                                             achieving 4 in English and Maths have faired in Year 12.

                                                                                                                          Academy                                                                                                                      I would like them to have a better understanding
                                                                                                                                                                         0                                                                                of the skills, level of performance, and time
                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes                              No
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      commitment involved.
                                                                                                                                                                       Total       Independent school        Academy       All other respondents
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              State

                                                                                                                             “
                                                      62%                                                                                                          n=316

                Very confident
                                                                                            Uncertainty about equivalence to B on old scale, which was
                Reasonable confident                                                        formerly an entry requirement for many courses at Level 3.
                Not very confident
                Not at all confident                         n=293
                                                                                                                         State school                                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     EPQ is often used in the offer made, and prepares
                                                                                                                                                                   To what extent do you feel universities                                      individual students thoroughly for university assignments.
                                                                                                                                                                   and colleges understand the Extended
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            State
          How confident do you feel in identifying the standard that                                                                                               Project
                                                                                                                                                               To what extent doQualification?
                                                                                                                                                                                 you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification?

          a student
How confident                is performing
              do you feel in identifying              under
                                         the standard that       the
                                                           a student     numeric
                                                                     is performing undergrading       scale?
                                                                                         the numeric grading scale?
                                                                                                                                                                                                4%

                  Very confident                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             We wish it was valued more. Some higher
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       education providers are great, i.e. including it in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            46%                     tariff offer or reducing the grade requirement by a grade
            Resonably confident                                                                                                                                                                                                                     or two on successful completion of an EPQ. Some pay lip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    service. Given the amount of work required to complete
                                                                                                                                                                    50%                                                                                 a top grade EPQ, it should be given more credit. It
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       develops the skills higher education providers claim
              Not very confident                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       they want in students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Academy

             Not at all confident
                                                                                                                                                                               Good understanding
                                                                                                                                                                               Reasonable understanding
                                    0        10%   20%     30%      40%     50%       60%   70%    80%
                                                                                                                                                                               Not very good understanding
                     Total       Independent school          All other respondents      Academy                            n=293                                   n=259
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     What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist                                               What information or support would
     your centre in relation to qualification reform?                                                                                  you like from UCAS to assist your
                                                                                                                                       centre in implementing and navigating
                                                                                                                                       qualification reform?

                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                One issue was university faculties (especially medicine) not appreciating
                                 the scale of reforms in schools, and trying to demand AS grades or four
                                A levels when this was becoming unrealistic. Most amended their policies,
                                                                                                                                           Ongoing clarity of information regarding the
                                  but not until after a great deal of anxiety and pressure was caused to
                                                                                                                                              ‘value’ of a qualification for HE entry.
                                            students and schools trying to handle the reforms.
                                                                                                                                                        Further education college
                                                             Independent school

                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                Statements from the universities are

                                      “                                                                 “                                    very useful,and to be able to find them all
                                                                                                                                             in one place rather than hunting is great.                                                “
      Be clear on whether they are accepting 4 or 5 for GCSE                   More information on their attitude to vocational                                                                                  Continue to provide a central point for
                                                                                                                                                          Independent school
      English and maths, and be able to be confident they are              qualifications and mixed vocational-academic pathways.                                                                                  information from diverse sources.
                    not changing their minds.
                                                                                                     Academy                                                                                                                Independent school
                               State school

                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                      “                                                                 “                                   Working with universities to understand the
                                                                                                                                            value of skills learnt via vocational courses.                                             “
                                                                             Confidence that universities are dealing equally with
         Assurances to the parity of BTECs versus A levels in                                                                                              Sixth form college                              Regular, short briefings with simple information.
                                                                            students who are not taking any AS qualifications and
     being relevant and suitable qualifications for entry into HE.         relying on fully school predicted grades against students                                                                                            Sixth form college
       The whole process is centred around A level provision,                     whose schools take decoupled AS in the L6.
             and I feel that BTECs are the poor relation.
                                                                                               Independent school
                         Further education college

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “
                                      “                                                                 “                                                                                             Maybe an update on how certain vocational qualifications
                                                                                                                                                                                                        are regarded by HE establishments. Are they changing
                                                                                    To be clear about entry requirements                                                                                 their entry requirements based on reforming Level 3
       Clear admissions statements on acceptable sixth form                               for varied qualifications.                                                                                   qualifications? If BTECs have been ‘brought in line’ with A
              provision – e.g. three or four subjects etc.                                                                                                                                            levels, are any more institutions accepting them for entry?
                                                                                                    State school
                           Independent school                                                                                                                                                                             Further education college
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           Scotland
           Qualification reform in Scotland

Scotland   Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)
           Curriculum for Excellence aims to provide a coherent, flexible, and
           enriched curriculum from three to 18, which enables young people
                                                                                      National 4 and 5
                                                                                      Students generally begin Nationals at the start of S4, following a
                                                                                      broader general education at S1, S2, and S3. National 4 students
           to gain the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for learning, life,   are assessed internally throughout the year, using externally
           and work.                                                                  quality assured SQA assessments. National 5 qualifications contain
                                                                                      external assessment, and are of the same standard as qualifications
                                                                                      previously offered at SCQF Level 5, such as Standard Grade (Credit).
           The introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence brought new              National 5s previously included internally assessed unit assessment,
           qualifications (the National 4 and 5, in place of the Standard Grades      which did not contribute to the grade, however, this was removed in
           and Intermediate 1 and 2) and reformed existing Highers and                August 2017.
           Advanced Highers to better reflect the principles and aims of CfE.

                                                                                      Further information on qualification reform in Scotland can be found
           One of the main objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence was to         in the UCAS qualification reform guide.
           introduce curriculums tailored for the individual student. This means
           there is an increased flexibility in the delivery of qualifications, and
           greater diversity in the way qualifications are taken, with the aim
           being that study is tailored to the specific student or cohort.

           For example, while a student is undertaking the National 4 or 5
           syllabus in S4 (fourth year of secondary school), they may not
           undertake the actual qualifications and summative assessment,
           allowing them to move directly to their Highers at some stage in
           S4, using the National 4 or 5 syllabus as foundation knowledge for
           Highers. Equally, some applicants may take a mix of National 4 and
           5s, Highers, and Advanced Highers in a single year.

           Highers and Advanced Highers
           Highers are the primary qualification used for progression to HE by
           Scottish domiciled students, although some students may also take
           Advanced Highers. The aim of both qualifications is to provide a
           solid basis for progression into higher education, while developing
           those students with a more mature approach to study. Advanced
           Highers are not available to all students and are at SCQF Level 7,
           the same as year one undergraduate study in Scotland.

           Currently, Highers and Advanced Highers include internally assessed
           unit assessment, which does not contribute to the grade, however,
           this will be removed from August 2018 for Highers, and 2019 for
           Advanced Highers.
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      To what extent do you feel universities                                                                                                     Does your centre…
      and colleges understand qualification
     To what extent do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification?                                                 Does your centre…
      reform in Scotland?

              19%                         15%                                                                       “                                       Bypass National 5 qualifications in some subjects
                                                                                             [No]. Even within Scotland, and certainly
                                                                                                    not in other parts of the UK.

                                                                                                            Independent school                                Bypass National 5 qualifications for all subjects

                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                  Allow individual learners to bypass National 5 qualifications

                                                                                     Scottish Universities understand the changes well, but
                                                                                     I fear that English universities do not understand the
                                                                                                                                                     My centre does not bypass any National 5 qualifications
                                                                                                         Scottish System.
                                           67%                                                             High / Secondary school                                                                                0      10%    20%      30%      40%   50%     60%       70%   80%
            Good understanding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Total    Independent school      All other respondents
            Reasonable understanding
                                                                                                                                                  n=47
            Not very good understanding

     n=48
                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                  Institutions do not always appreciate that students may sit
                                                                                        Highers in S4 and S5, rather in one sitting in S5.

                                                                                                           High / Secondary school                                                   “                                                                                “
                                                                                                                                                           This is true for only one or two pupils where                              Only in extreme circumstances, i.e. if the pupil was on track
                                                                                                                                                                   they excel in one subject area.                                    to achieve an A / B, but circumstances prevented them from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       either sitting or passing the exam, and parental approval.
                                                                                                                                                                           High / Secondary school
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Academy

                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                   This is variable, dependent upon the admissions tutor and
                                                                                    his / her past experience in dealing with Scottish schools.

                                                                                                           High / Secondary school
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     Does your centre offer                                                                                                                                         Do you collaborate with other centres or providers
     Advanced Highers?                                                                                                                                              for the provision of Advanced Highers?
                                                                                                                                                                   Do you collaborate with other centres or providers for the provision of Advanced Highers?
         Does your centre offer Advanced Highers?

                               50                                                                                                                                                          100%

                               40                                                                                                                                                          80%

                                                                                                                                                                   Number of respondents
     Number of respondents

                               30                                                                                                                                                          60%

                               20                                                                                                                                                          40%

                               10                                                                                                                                                          20%

                                 0                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                    Yes                            No                                                                                                                       Yes                          No

                                         Total     Independent school       All other respondents                                                                                                 Total    Independent school     All other respondents
     n=48                                                                                                                                                           n=48

                                                                                                                                 “                                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                                                    Currently, we have 12 subjects offered to our S6 cohort, but                                                                                             Students can travel to other schools in the authority.
                                                                                                    we already know that this will not be the same picture next                                                                                                   There is also a ‘virtual campus’ provision.
                                                                                                               session, due to pupil and staff capacity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              High / Secondary school
                                                                                                                        High / Secondary school

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We have partnership agreements with other local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            schools, so as to allow students to study a subject with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            them if we are unable to run it due to uptake numbers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               We also accept students from other schools if we
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       are running courses they cannot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              High / Secondary school

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       We offer space to state schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Independent school
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                       FULL REPORT          ENGLAND      SCOTL AND            WALES
                                                                                              IRELAND
                                                                                                              NEXT STEPS
                                                                                                                                                          SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                             FULL REPORT     ENGLAND            SCOTL AND        WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   IRELAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NEXT STEPS   41

     What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist                                                What information or support would you like from UCAS to assist your centre in
     your centre in relation to qualification reform?                                                                                   implementing and navigating qualification reform?

                                                                     “                                                                                                                                   “
                                    Too often, some universities make decisions midway through an                                                                    Qualification reform in Scotland began several years ago and is now
                                  academic year, and we only find out about this from discussions with                                                             bedding down, they may be able to assist in educating universities south
                                 our pupils or other anecdotal sources. Greater clarity to ensure there is                                                           of the border as to the comparative value of Scottish Qualifications.
                                                 no change that schools are not aware of.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Independent school
                                                            High / Secondary school

                                     “                                                                    “                                                           “                                                                       “
          Universities should ensure that decision makers                       Support for Advanced Highers in principle, so they do       I am happy and understand what is required for                          Executive summary of what the key reforms are,
          throughout their organisation are well briefed.                                not disappear from state schools.               young people to enter university. Update on the reform                  and what is being looked for from applicants now that is
                                                                                                                                                           would be useful.                                                      different to previously.
                          Independent school                                                     High / Secondary school
                                                                                                                                                            High / Secondary school                                                 High / Secondary school

                                     “                                                                    “
      Possibly visits from tutors to schools, to discuss changes
                                                                                   Executive summary of what the key reforms are,                                     “                                                                      “
                                                                                  and what is being looked for from applicants now      No significant concerns, as long as some institutions don’t
          and their effect on applications through UCAS.                                                                                                                                                                    A focus on Scottish-specific issues.
                                                                                            that is different to previously.                  make changes part way through the session.
                         High / Secondary school                                                                                                                                                                                    High / Secondary school
                                                                                                 High / Secondary school                                    High / Secondary school

                                     “                                                                    “                                                                                              “
               Continued sharing of expectations to                                      ‘We would like information earlier.                                                   Continued regular updates, information, and support.
                    schools and school pupils.
                                                                                                  Independent school                                                                            High / Secondary school
                         High / Secondary school
EXECUTIVE                                                                                    NORTHERN
                               SUMMARY
                                                 FULL REPORT           ENGLAND         SCOTLAND            WALES
                                                                                                                             IRELAND
                                                                                                                                              NEXT STEPS       43

        Wales
        Qualification reform in Wales                                                 AS and A level reform
                                                                                      Revised AS and A levels were first taught in Wales from September
                                                                                      2015. Reform is largely around content. A levels offered in Wales
        The Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate                                              continue to have an embedded AS qualification, however, the
        Since 2014, there have been three variations of the Welsh                     weighting has been reduced to 40%.
        Baccalaureate Advanced Level: the pass / fail model (final award
        in summer 2014), the interim A* – C graded model (final award in              Practical or controlled assessment will be retained in subjects
        2016) and the fully reformed model (Skills Challenge Certificate              where it plays an important role in assessing the subject, including
        graded A* – E)                                                                science A levels. In subjects where there is no Wales-specific A level
                                                                                      available, state-funded students can choose from the A levels that
        The 2017 Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate was first awarded in 2017.              have been reformed for England, as long as Qualifications Wales
        It incorporates:                                                              has designated them as eligible for use on publicly funded learning
                                                                                      programmes in Wales.
           ++ a Skills Challenge Certificate qualification, which is the same
              size as an A level and is graded A* – E
                                                                                      GCSE reform
           ++ a minimum of two Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A levels)                 GCSEs in Wales will continue to be graded A*– G. In addition to some
                                                                                      content revisions and change in focus for some GCSE subjects, GCSE
           ++ GCSE maths or maths numeracy, and English language or
                                                                                      mathematics – numeracy has been introduced as a new subject. It
              Welsh language
                                                                                      is expected that most young people in Wales will study both GCSE
        The Skills Challenge Certificate comprises four components: an                mathematics qualifications. As per A levels, where there is no Wales-
        individual project (50%), an enterprise and employability challenge           specific GCSE available, state-funded students can choose from
        (20%), a global citizenship challenge (15%) and a community                   those that have been reformed for England, as long as Qualifications
        challenge (15%).                                                              Wales has designated them as eligible for use on publicly funded

Wales
                                                                                      learning programmes in Wales.

                                                                                      Further information on qualification reform in Wales can be found in
                                                                                      the UCAS qualification reform guide.

        To achieve the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate, students must complete the Skills Challenge Certificate and the supporting qualifications:

              Advanced Skills Challenge                           Level 3 qualifications:                            GCSEs:
              Certificate (grade A* – E):                         Two A levels (grade A* – E)                        English or Welsh language
                 ++ Individual project                            or                                                 (grade A* – C)

                                                       +                                                  +
                 ++ Enterprise end                                equivalent Level 3 qualifications                  and
                    employability challenge                       totalling at least 600 GLH                         Maths or maths – numeracy
                 ++ Global citizenship                                                                               (grade A* – C)
                    challenge
                 ++ Community challenge

                                                                 The Advanced Welsh
                                                                   Baccalaureate
EXECUTIVE                                                                                  NORTHERN                                                         EXECUTIVE                                                                                   NORTHERN
44        SUMMARY
                            FULL REPORT        ENGLAND           SCOTLAND           WALES
                                                                                                      IRELAND
                                                                                                                        NEXT STEPS
                                                                                                                                                                      SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                                        FULL REPORT       ENGLAND           SCOTLAND           WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   IRELAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             NEXT STEPS   45

       To what extent do you feel universities                                                                                                   Do you generally offer the Skills
       and colleges understand the Welsh                                                                                                         Challenge Certificate alongside
     ToBaccalaureate?
        what extent do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification?                                         two  or extent
                                                                                                                                                  To what three    A levels?
                                                                                                                                                                do you feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification?

                            3%                                                                                                                                                    7%
                                              21%
                                                                                                                                                     24%
       28%                                                                                                          “                                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                       This is varied. Universities in Wales, and some in                                                                                           Most applicants will complete three A levels
                                                                                    England, have a good understanding of the value of the                                                                                      alongside the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate,
                                                                                    qualification, but many universities outside Wales have                                                                                              but the minimum is two A levels.
                                                                                                little or no understanding of this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Sixth form college
                                                                                                           Sixth form college

                                            48%
                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                                       69%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “
             Good understanding                                                                                                                         Two                                                                      Any number of Level 3 qualifications from 2 to 4.
                                                                                       It has improved a lot in the last two years, but some
             Reasonable understanding                                                                                                                   Three
                                                                                         universities still don’t seem to understand it fully.                                                                                                           State school
             Not very good understanding                                                                                                                Other
             No understanding at all                                                                            State school

      n=29                                                                                                                                       n=29

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “
                                                                                                                    “                                                                                                                 We do allow students to do four and the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Skills Challenge Certificate, but most students take three
                                                                                         An improving picture. Most HEPs we deal with                                                                                                    and the Skills Challenge Certificate.
                                                                                     understand the value of the Skills Challenge Certificate,
                                                                                        and are now including the correct name of the                                                                                                                    State school
                                                                                              qualification in admissions criteria.

                                                                                                                State school
EXECUTIVE                                                                                             NORTHERN                                                                     EXECUTIVE                                                                                    NORTHERN
46     SUMMARY
                   FULL REPORT   ENGLAND   SCOTLAND                               WALES
                                                                                                              IRELAND
                                                                                                                                        NEXT STEPS
                                                                                                                                                                                          SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                                                            FULL REPORT        ENGLAND          SCOTLAND            WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IRELAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NEXT STEPS   47

     Most centres in Wales will be offering                                                                                                                         To what extent do you feel universities
     GCSE mathematics and GCSE numeracy.                                                                                                                            and   colleges
                                                                                                                                                                      To what            understand
                                                                                                                                                                              extent do you                    qualification
                                                                                                                                                                                            feel universities and colleges understand the Extended Project Qualification?
     Approximately what proportion of                                                                                                                               reform in Wales?
     your students will be taking both
     qualifications?                                                                                                                                                             12%                     15%
                                                                          80%

                                                                          70%                                                                                                                                                                                                      “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A statement from universities about the Welsh

                                              Percentage of respondents
                                                                          60%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  allow College’s to make decisions about WBQ provision
                                                                          50%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 and whether it should be compulsory (due to its benefits)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  to facilitate applications.
                                                                          40%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sixth form college
                                                                          30%

                                                                          20%

                                                                          10%
                                                                                                                                                                                                      73%
                                                                            0                                                                                              Good understanding
                                                                                                                                                                           Reasonable understanding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “
                                                                                    Less than half
                                                                                   of our students

                                                                                                            We are not offering
                                                                                                            both qualifications

                                                                                                                                  More than half
                                                                                                                                  of our students

                                                                                                                                                     All students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still a lack of understanding
                                                                                                                                                                           Not very good understanding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                about the Welsh Baccalaureate.

                                                                                                                                                                    n=29                                                                                                      State school

                                           n=34                                 Total                Independent school               All other respondents

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         WBQ and the Skills Challenge Certificate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    acceptance is variable across universities and across
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             admissions tutors in universities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Further education college
EXECUTIVE                                                                           NORTHERN                                                       EXECUTIVE                                                                            NORTHERN
48      SUMMARY
                        FULL REPORT         ENGLAND        SCOTLAND           WALES
                                                                                             IRELAND
                                                                                                               NEXT STEPS
                                                                                                                                                           SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                             FULL REPORT     ENGLAND         SCOTLAND          WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 IRELAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             NEXT STEPS   49

     What information or support would you like from universities and colleges to assist                                                   What information or support would you like from UCAS to assist your centre in
     your centre in relation to qualification reform?                                                                                      implementing and navigating qualification reform?

                                                                       “                                                                                                                               “
                                 I have seen a number of offers asking for practical grades in sciences,                                                                    Pleased that the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills
                                which have panicked students somewhat, because it comes as part of the                                                                     Challenge Certificate is being recognised much more widely,
                                 UMS marks in their grades. If offer conditions could be personalised, it                                                                       but the message still needs to be driven forward.
                                                    would appease some anxieties.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   State school
                                                               Independent school

                                      “                                                                    “                                                           “                                                                   “
        More clarity in their requirements for GCSE and A level,            Existing information is sufficient. Where we have individual      Updated information on any changes or impacts                              Bulletins and reminders of resources
       from Welsh exam boards specifically. We are afraid that                       questions, we approach the HEP’s directly.                       on offers made by universities.                                           available / CPD for staff.
        the use of 9-1 will worry our students who still provide
     A* – G, so clear sections on websites and / or other literature                                   State school                                        Further education college                                             Further education college
             to clarify their stances would be appreciated.

                            Independent school

                                                                                                           “
                                                                            Understanding of the new Welsh Baccalaureate alongside                                     “                                                                   “
                                      “                                     vocational Level 3 qualifications which have also changed.            Information on how subject reforms will
                                                                                                                                                       directly reflect degree choices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Support in educating universities about
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           the new qualifications in Wales.
               Information about how the qualification                                                 State school
            reform can be directly beneficial to our school                                                                                                  Independent school                                                  Further education college
                    and the links with universities.

                            Independent school
EXECUTIVE                                                                                   NORTHERN
                                  SUMMARY
                                                     FULL REPORT          ENGLAND         SCOTLAND            WALES
                                                                                                                               IREL AND
                                                                                                                                                NEXT STEPS        51

           Northern Ireland
           Qualification reform in Northern Ireland

           AS and A level reform: The open market                                         GCSE reform
           In Northern Ireland, schools are free to choose AS and A                       As with A levels, for GCSEs there is also an open qualifications
           level qualifications offered by any of the following awarding                  market in Northern Ireland, which means that schools are free to
           organisations: AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC (Eduqas),                      choose GCSE qualifications offered by any of the following awarding
           with the exception of science A levels.                                        organisations: AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC (Eduqas), with
                                                                                          the exception of English language as only the CCEA specification
                                                                                          that include marks for speaking and listening has been accredited
           Therefore, some students will take decoupled A levels, offered by
                                                                                          for delivery in Northern Ireland
           AQA, OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), where the AS marks do not
           contribute to the overall A level grade, while others will take A levels
           offered by CCEA and WJEC, where the AS marks contribute 40% to                 As GCSE grading is changing, this means some students will take
           the overall A level grade.                                                     GCSEs, offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson, and WJEC (Eduqas), which
                                                                                          are graded 9 – 1, while others will take GCSEs offered by CCEA. From
                                                                                          summer 2019, CCEA GCSEs will be graded using a new alphabetical
           Students in Northern Ireland taking science A levels must follow
                                                                                          grading scale. The new alphabetical scale introduces a C* grade
           a course where the marks for the assessment of practical skills
                                                                                          aligned to the 5, and a new A* grade aligned to grade 9.
           contribute to the overall grade. This means students must take

Northern
           either CCEA or WJEC science A levels.
                                                                                          The introduction of the grade C* will reduce the number of students
                                                                                          achieving the new grade B. The grade B will align with the grade 6 in
           AS and A levels delivered by CCEA                                              the numeric scale. The A* will be repositioned to align to a grade 9.

Ireland
           Revised CCEA AS and A levels were first taught in Northern Ireland             Proportionally fewer students will achieve an A* from 2019, and the
           from September 2015. Reform is largely around content. A levels                grade 8 will fall between A* and A.
           offered in Northern Ireland continue to have an embedded AS
           qualification, however, the weighting has been reduced to 40%.
           Marks for science practical skills continue to form part of the overall        A grade comparison table is provided on the next page. Further
           grade for science A levels offered by CCEA, and there is no separate           information on qualification reform in Northern Ireland can be
                                                                                          found in the UCAS qualification reform guide.
           grade.

           CCEA GCSE grading from 2019

            New A*-G Structure                                  9-1 Structure                                   Old A*-G Structure
            (summer 2019)                                       (awarding phased in from 2017)                  (phased out from 2019)
                                   A*                                                 9
                                                                                                                                      A*
                                                                                      8
                                    A
                                                                                                                                      A
                                                                                      7

                                    B                                                 6
                                                                                                                                      B
                                   C*                                                 5
                                                                                                                                      C
                                    C                                                 4

                                   D                                                                                                  D
                                                                                      3
                                    E                                                                                                 E
                                                                                      2
                                    F                                                                                                 F
                                                                                      1
                                   G                                                                                                  G
52
                                                                           Number of respondents

          n=48
                                                                  0
                                                                      10
                                                                                20
                                                                                        30
                                                                                                   40
                                                                                                        50
                                                                                                                                                                                         SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                                         EXECUTIVE

                                           CCEA qualifications

                                            AQA qualifications
                                                                                                                                                                                           FULL REPORT

                                                                                                                                              that your centre delivers?

                                         Pearson qualifications
                                                                                                                                                                                           ENGLAND

                 Awarding organisation
                                            OCR qualifications
                                                                                                                                              Which organisation offers the A levels

                                           WJEC qualifications
                                                                                                                                                                                           SCOTLAND
                                                                                                                                                                                           WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                          IREL AND
                                                                                                                                                                                         NORTHERN
                                                                                                                                                                                           NEXT STEPS

                                                                            Numberof respondents
   n=48
                                                                  0
                                                                       3
                                                                                 6
                                                                                        9
                                                                                                   12
                                                                                                        15

                                    Accounting
                               Ancient history
                          Ancient languages
                                Art and design
                                         Biology
                                        Business
                                                                                                                                                                                         SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                                                         EXECUTIVE

                                      Chemistry
                                         Chinese
                                                                                                             Subject provision from 2017/18

                         Classical civilisation
                            Computer science
                                          Dance
                                                                                                                                              are not awarded by CCEA?

                       Design and technolgy
                          Drama and theatre
                                                                                                                                                                                           FULL REPORT

                                     Economics
                                     Electronics
                             English language
             English language and literature
                             English literature
                                                                                                                                              Which A level subjects do you offer that
                                                                                                                                                                                           ENGLAND

                       Environmental science
                                    Film studies
                                Further maths
                                     Geography
                                        Geology
                                          History
                                                                                                                                                                                           SCOTLAND

                                   history of art
                                          Italian
                                             Law
                                           Maths
                                 Media studies
                                                                                                                                                                                           WALES

Modern foreign languages (Fresnh, German, Spanish)
                                           Music
                            Music technology
                                     Philosophy
                          Physical education
                                          Physics
                                                                                                                                                                                          IREL AND

                                          Politics
                                                                                                                                                                                         NORTHERN

                                     Psychology
                              Religious studies
                                         Russian
                                       Sociology
                                        Statistics
                               All of the above
                                                                                                                                                                                           NEXT STEPS

                          None of the above
                                                                                                                                                                                          53
EXECUTIVE                                                                  NORTHERN                                        EXECUTIVE                                                   NORTHERN
54      SUMMARY
                         FULL REPORT          ENGLAND    SCOTLAND    WALES
                                                                                    IREL AND
                                                                                                    NEXT STEPS
                                                                                                                                   SUMMARY
                                                                                                                                                   FULL REPORT    ENGLAND   SCOTLAND   WALES
                                                                                                                                                                                                IREL AND
                                                                                                                                                                                                           NEXT STEPS   55

     When offering non-CCEA A levels, we:                           To what extent do you feel universities
                                                                    and colleges understand qualification
                                                                    reform in Northern Ireland?

                            6%
                                                                                                           13%
                                                                               20%

                                                                                                                                               “
                                                                                                                      We are unsure that universities will understand
                                                                                                                   our new GCSE grading and be able to compare it with
                                                                                                                  the new English one, particularly as many teachers here
                                                                                                                                  do not yet understand.
                                                        53%
                                                                                                                                       Grammar school
     40%

                                                                                                     67%                                       “
                                                                                                                 Some have a good understanding, but one or two haven’t.
              Offer the AS in all A level programmes                         Good understanding
              Offer the AS in some subjects                                  Reasonable understanding                                  Grammar school
              Not offer the AS at all                                        Not very good understanding

     n=47                                                           n=46
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