From education to employment

Welsh Minister reveals qualification will go live next year

The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification will be introduced into further education colleges across Wales from September 2007, it was announced last week.

14 FE colleges across Wales have been involved in piloting the WBQ since 2003, as Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills Minister, Jane Davidson, announced last Wednesday that FE colleges welcomed the rollout.

Chief Executive of fforwm, the organisation representing Welsh colleges, John Graystone, said: “College staff involved in the pilot have performed outstandingly. They have worked extremely hard and developed a bank of materials and expertise. Thanks to their professionalism and commitment in meeting the many challenges of piloting this new qualification, the FE sector can look forward to rolling out the WBQ with confidence”.

The WBQ will give students the opportunity to improve their post-16 education skills through offering broader qualifications than the traditional A-level.

St David’s Catholic College and Coleg Llandrillo Cymru have been two FE colleges that have benefited from the WBQ pilot.

Coleg Llandrillo Cymru Principal, Huw Evans OBE, said: “Coleg Llandrillo Cymru has seen enormous benefits as a result of its involvement in the pilot phase. The Welsh Baccalaureate has provided a framework for curriculum development, which has resulted in quality, benefits, improved progression rates for students and an enhanced student experience”.

Providing an example of the qualification’s appeal, Mr Evans added: “This summer, 18-year-old Paul Lanyon from Rhos-on-Sea achieved the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma (WBAD) and a triple distinction profile for his BTEC National Diploma IT Practitioner, totalling the equivalent of 4 A grade A Levels”.

And Principal of Merthyr Tydfil College, Howard Jenkins, said: “We”re delighted to hear that the WBQ will be rolled out across Wales”. As one of the colleges waiting to introduced the Baccalaureate, he continued: “The College is keen to have an opportunity to deliver this innovative qualification across a range of vocational pathways”.

Irene Watt.

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