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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Defending the Welsh Bac

What are these people on? It is easy to be negative. I can pick holes in any topic if I wanted to. However, for once it would be nice if newspapers like the Western Mail could recognise a success story when they see it.

Let's face it the University of Buckingham is not the most inclusive institution in Higher Education. To base a story about the Welsh Baccalaureate on the views of a senior director of Britain's only private University is like asking Genghis Khan to comment on the Geneva Convention. It is the implication that those who do not make University are failures that really irks me.

The Welsh Bacc is designed to be studied alongside A-levels. It's emphasis is on key skills. To achieve the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma, students have to complete a compulsory Core as well as Options of a minimum of two GCE A-levels or an equivalent qualification. The Core has four components - six Key Skills; Wales, Europe and the World; Work-related Education; and Personal and Social Education. Once that level has been awarded it is accepted by UCAS as worth 120 points, the equivalent of a grade A, A-Level.

Most students will do more than two A-Levels alongside the Bacc . They do not have to go onto University however, even though the majority of admission tutors, once they understand what is required to get the qualification, will reduce the required grades needed for admission as a result of a student acquiring it.

The key issue here is that the Welsh Bacc gives students the sort of key skills that many employers (and Universities) complain are lacking in today's youngsters. It gives them experience of the world of work and it allows students to acquire different disciplines that will hold them in good stead on a degree course. Maybe Professor Alan Smithers should come to Wales and see for himself.
And waht are Key Skills ??

We are told they are "naturally occuring" in A-levels. If that is the case then Key skills is just one big evidence collection routine - Pupils learn NOTHING by it.
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