A Plaid Cymru Government would get rid of a 'one size fits all' examination approach

Siân Gwenllian MS, will today outline key education policies that a Plaid Cymru government would deliver, including scrapping the traditional and inflexible GCSE exam system.

Ms Gwenllian, Plaid Cymru's Shadow Education Minister, will be speaking at the Plaid Cymru conference, and her message is that "now is the time" to move away from traditional methods that see a child's future largely shaped by their ability to perform in artificial exam conditions.

Ms Gwenllian says that since the pandemic has forced the education system in Wales to assess grades based on a learner's work, the need for change is even more prominent.

Ms Gwenllian says that it is "only right" that Wales' new curriculum is aligned with a fit-for-purpose qualification system that assesses and develops wider skills that will help support the aims and purposes of the curriculum. 

The Welsh Government announced the new Curriculum for Wales framework in July 2020, and Ms Gwenllian says that students now face a "mismatched learning experience" if the way they are assessed is not aligned with the new curriculum.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Siân Gwenllian MS said,

"Many teachers welcome the freedom that will come with the brand new curriculum, but this must be matched with a revolution in the qualification system. When our teaching is based on the 'gradual development of every learner' but we grade using a 'one-sized fits all' exam at the end of five years; When we teach them the skills that will be most valued by employers, yet assess them against inflexible GCSE subjects and examinations – this creates a grossly mismatched learning experience.

"If properly grounded, the new curriculum has huge potential, but must be aligned with a fit-for-purpose qualification system. The pandemic has shown us that a grading system based on teacher assessments is possible.

"With the exam fiasco of the summer still ringing in our ears, now is the time to review the work currently being undertaken by Qualifications Wales and be braver with where this takes us – even if this means scrapping the inflexible GCSE system.

"In the long term, the people of Wales get to make their choice in May, and a Plaid Cymru Government would ensure a joined up learning experience that both teaches and assesses on the skills that are most valued by employers."