Wales

Concern over lack of GCSE psychology course in Welsh

Pupils

Concern has been raised that psychology GCSE will not be available to Welsh medium education students next year.

Wales' main exam body, the WJEC, decided last year to stop offering the course in either English or Welsh due to a low uptake.

Regulating body Qualifications Wales invited other exam boards from England to provide the course but did not insist it was available in Welsh.

It said curriculum reforms may present an opportunity for further changes.

Another exam board, Pearson, is offering psychology through the medium of English for students in Wales from September 2017.

But it told BBC Wales' Newyddion 9 programme it would not provide it in Welsh, partly because it did not have "access to the expertise".

It means psychology is one of a number of GCSE subjects, including economics, available through English in Wales but not through Welsh next year.

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Media captionTeacher Chris Evans described it as a huge disappointment

Teacher Chris Evans, who established a psychology department at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham, said it was a huge disappointment.

"The GCSE course has been very popular in this school. It started with eight pupils to 100 at one point, taking the GCSE," he said.

"I'm very disappointed with Qualifications Wales that they've followed a policy where they haven't insisted that English boards offering courses in Wales, that they don't give a Welsh option."

In its statement, Qualifications Wales said the decision not to develop GCSE psychology for Wales was made before it was established.

"We understand that WJEC's decision not to develop GCSE psychology was based on the viability of reforming a subject with a relatively low uptake of learners," the statement said.

"It is for each exam board to make its own decision in relation to offering a qualification in Wales.

"We have been clear that Wales is a bilingual nation and that qualifications should be offered through both languages."

'Committed'

It added it has worked with exam boards "to understand the reasons why they may not be prepared to offer qualifications in Welsh" and has made grant funding available to cover additional costs.

A spokesman for Pearson said it was committed to offering "certain Level 2 BTEC qualifications and A level in music technology with assessments in the Welsh language" but it had no plans to provide psychology in Welsh.

"We have only been able to take on subjects being withdrawn by other exam boards when we could ensure that we have access to the expertise to deliver them to the high quality that students deserve," he added.

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