Wales and Northern Ireland
Like all exam boards, we can only offer qualifications that comply with government policy and regulations. Recent government changes mean that policies and regulations are no longer aligned in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – so we now can't always offer the same qualifications in all three countries.
We've decided not to offer new qualifications designed specifically to meet the rules in Wales, or to adapt certain new qualifications for Northern Ireland. We're sorry about this: we know that schools and colleges in these countries will be disappointed. We will, however, be able to offer some of our qualifications in Wales and Northern Ireland as described below.
When making these decisions we had to consider the practicalities of running significantly different versions of the same qualification – including the extra administration needed, and the challenge of trying to set the same standard across different countries.
Of all the exam boards, only WJEC is committed to developing Welsh specific GCSE, AS or A-level qualifications. We haven’t been able to do this, but to ensure the continuation of the current range of subjects in Wales, we have been working with the Welsh regulator to offer GCSE, AS and A-levels in subjects where an English version is available.
We are pleased to confirm that we are now able to offer several qualifications. These have been recognised by Qualifications Wales and are now available to be entered by state schools in Wales because they are funded by the Welsh Department for Education (‘designated’ specifications).
- Chinese (Spoken Mandarin)
- Modern Hebrew
- Environmental Studies
- ELC Step Up to English
- ELC Maths
- ELC Science
While these specifications are available to all students in Wales, the assessments and other related materials will not be available in the Welsh language. Our technical, vocational and other general qualifications will also continue to be available to all students in Wales.
There’s more information on the Qualifications Wales page.
Availability of our GCSEs
Education Minister Peter Weir has overturned the decision made by former minister John O'Dowd in 2015 to allow pupils in Northern Ireland to receive GCSE grades from English exam boards who give results using numbers from 9–1.
We’re pleased that this announcement means we’ll once again be able to offer our high-quality, internationally recognised qualifications to the young people of Northern Ireland.
There is, however, an exception to this decision. We will not be able to offer GCSE English Language: because we do not meet the requirements specified for the assessment of speaking and listening, which must be included and contribute towards the overall grade.
On 10 Feb 2017 we were pleased to be informed by the Department for Education in Northern Ireland that we are now able to offer pupils in Northern Ireland our GCSE science specifications for first teaching from September 2017, first exam 2019. This updates a previous decision that prevented GCSE science specifications being offered. Unfortunately we are unable to make these specifications available earlier.
All our other GCSE qualifications will be available again with immediate effect.
The Department for Education Northern Ireland have already confirmed that if you're an independent school, you can still offer qualifications from any exam board.
Availability of our AS and A-levels
With regards to AS and A-levels, Northern Ireland has an "open qualifications market". This means that if you're a school or college in Northern Ireland, you can offer our AS and A-level qualifications, as long as they meet any subject-specific requirements – even if the qualification was specifically designed for England.
The only AS and A-levels that we can't offer are any of the science subjects. This is because our science qualifications don't have a mark for assessing practical skills that contributes to the overall grade.