Agenda item


·        World Views Qualification: Agored Cymru - Frances Lee (Please click on link for pre-reading)


·        Examination Outcomes 2023

·        Numbers on AS / A Levels


Exploring World Views Course.


SAC welcomed Frances Lee, Business Development Manager, Agored Cymru who presented a detailed overview of the fully accredited Exploring World Views course which enables pupils to gain an equivalent qualification that covers core elements of the statutory curriculum. 


SAC Members asked questions covering the following points:


·        How the World Views curriculum has been formulated? Experts from other consortia have been consulted on content.  More details to be provided by the Head of Product Development.

·        Website only provided an outline of the units e.g. Non-religious only provided the example of Humanism when there are a range of non-religious philosophical conviction.  It was queried how much flexibility there is to include other examples or if the units are specific areas of study:  It was explained that there is a qualification guide for each unit with more specific details.  An EQA schedule with the Quality Team and stakeholder panels review what is sufficient. 

·        Can schools devise their own content: The criteria are a guide and the school is able to apply interpretation.

·        Are there examinations: These are evidence-based vocational qualifications.

·        There is a problem with the Qualifications Wales GCSE general criteria that doesn’t cover the statutory requirements.  There is also disappointment that there is no standalone short course GCSE. The new curriculum is to cover Christianity and other principal religions and a range of non-religious philosophical convictions as detailed in the Monmouthshire Agreed Syllabus: The World Views qualification units allow practitioners to look at the agreed syllabus and the new curriculum and e.g. choose a range of non-religious philosophical convictions when planning units.  The units are not prescriptive to allow schools to decide how best to design units in line with learners needs and interests. Agored Cymru measures if the evidence is sufficient to meet the necessary standard for the award.  It is suggested that schools registering for the full GCSE add all the sizes and levels to their framework to allow pupils that struggle to claim a lower-level qualification.

·        How will we know that schools are covering their statutory obligations: The RE Adviser explained that it is difficult to monitor statutory provision in schools.  The legacy and new curriculum are not now directly mentioned in Estyn reports and there is only one RE Adviser covering schools in five authorities.  It is believed that schools are doing their best to fulfil statutory provision but it should be recognised that the subject may be being delivered by non-specialist practitioners.  To support schools with the provision, professional learning is planned to ensure access to resources and training to upskill teachers.


Frances Lee was thanked for her attendance.


RS Examination outcomes:


Sharon Randall-Smith had collected information from 2019 and 2023. The impact of Covid was mentioned to explain the difficulty with comparisons.


GCSE 2019: 52.8% students sat and achieved a GCSE (full and short courses). The cohort was 799 students.


A/AS Levels 2019: 11.6% (42 pupils) sat an A level and 13% (47 students) sat an AS Level.


GCSE 2023: Cohort was 772. 46.9% sat and achieved a GCSE (full and short course). 


The differential in outcomes A*-C between 2019 and 2023 is 3%. 


It was noted that Chepstow School was unable to employ a RS specialist practitioner and therefore did not offer a GCSE or A Level course which impacted on the overall figure for the authority.


A/AS Level 2023  - 5% of students sat a RS A Level demonstrating a significant reduction from 2019 and is less than half of the whole cohort.  This will be raised with schools at the summer meetings to explore help and support.  An update to SAC will be provided in due course.


It was clarified that the decline at A Level is across the authority, and not just Chepstow.


The RVE Adviser explained that there is a decline in numbers coming forward for the initial teacher training to become RVE teachers.  It was confirmed that the GCSE entries are static across Wales and short course levels have dropped, which will impact on A/AS Level.


It was explained that short course uptake is a third higher than in 2019 which will hopefully feed into an improvement in future years.


The above information will be reported annually to SAC for monitoring purposes.


SAC Members asked questions covering the following points:


·        Some concern was expressed about the Qualifications Wales consultation in which 61% wanted provision of a standalone RS short course.  As this view was not considered, there was concern at the implications for other courses.

·        It was questioned if representations could be made to support an increase in training for specialist teachers.

·        It is important that the subject is taught properly to as many students as possible.

·        The RE Adviser felt that primary schools give the subject more curriculum time, whereas secondary schools struggle more due to the amount of change, timetable issues and lack of specialist teachers.  It was reported that schools with specialist teachers can partner schools that struggle with provision and this can be arranged via the EAS for any school.

·        It is hoped that as the new curriculum settles, that more students will want to take up the subject.