What is the Welsh Baccalaureate and how does it link with Higher Education?
Qualification reform has been a hot topic in recent years for students, parents, schools, colleges and also universities. In Wales we have seen a shift away from mirroring the qualifications on offer in England with A* - G grades being retained at GCSE as well as the AS levels continuing to contribute to the full A Level. An integral part of the qualifications suite offered by the Welsh Government has been the revamped Welsh Baccalaureate which some of you may have heard of.
What is the Welsh Baccalaureate?
The current version of the Welsh Baccalaureate was introduced to schools and colleges in Wales in September 2015, with the aim of giving students a broader range of skills compared to their A Levels, that would subsequently be useful for education and employment. With schools and colleges finding it increasingly difficult to build in additional activities around teaching curriculums, such as work experience, the Welsh Bacc is seen as an opportunity for students to develop skills that normal school work would not usually uncover.
The qualification is split into three sections and the main focus of the skill development unsurprisingly coming from The Skills Challenge Certificate. As a university who welcomes the Welsh Bacc as part of the offer made to applicants, we have seen other advantages for student through the:
Enterprise and Employability Challenge – students prepare for future career aspirations through work experience, liaising and interacting with employers.
Destination Passport – students research educational and career pathways and put together two future destination plans, which requires them to look into options, entry requirements and careers prospects.
Global citizenship challenge – examining global issues supplements a students’ knowledge of their chosen subject
Numeracy element – students learn about budgeting and financial implications of study.
How does the Welsh Baccalaureate help personal statements?:
When it then comes to writing a Personal Statement, the Welsh Bacc again comes into its own as students are expected to complete various tasks, such as:
- Volunteering / Charity work
- Work experience
- Individual Project – In-depth background research on subject area of interest
- Skills audit – where students identify the skills they already possess and those they need to develop for their personal statement
- A Personal Reflection Presentation
Completing these tasks means that students can demonstrate that they have various skills and qualities relevant to their university application, for example: critical thinking, research and analytical skills, presentation skills, initiative and problem-solving, entrepreneurial skills, heightened awareness of world cultures, digital literacy, planning and organisation, creativity and innovation, data analysis and personal reflection and evaluation.