WJEC, the leading examination board in Wales, is celebrating 75 years since its inception.
The occasion was marked with an event at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, on Wednesday (November 22). The event featured notable guests, including Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Luke Fletcher MS, Senedd Regional Member, Plaid Cymru, Dr Llinos Jones, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin, as well as key figures from across the Welsh education community including headteachers, unions, consortia and regulators.
Founded in 1948, WJEC has been a key player in educational assessment and qualification development for three quarters of a century. Initially established as a consortium of Welsh Local Education Authorities, replacing the Central Welsh Board, WJEC is now a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. The board also provides examinations, professional development and educational resources to schools and colleges in England under the Eduqas brand.
WJEC employs more than 400 people, including subject specialists and experienced teaching and learning professionals. Following the introduction of reformed general qualifications in 2015, WJEC became the sole qualification provider for state-funded schools and colleges across most GCSE and AS/A level subjects. It is also in the midst of creating a new suite of bilingual GCSEs and related qualifications as part of Qualifications Wales’ ‘Qualified for the Future’ project.
In Wales, the board offers almost 200 GCSE, AS, A Level and Vocational Qualifications, and awarded over 440,00 qualifications in the 2022/23 academic year alone. WJEC is the only awarding body to provide direct access to subject experts and support teams to support the delivery of its qualifications, as well as providing free bilingual teaching and learning tools as part of an ever-growing package of resources.
In addition, in 2022, WJEC launched The Gareth Pierce Bursary Scheme in memory of its late Chief Executive. The scheme seeks to promote academic excellence and provides £3,000 support to three undergraduates studying mathematics through the medium of Welsh.
Ian Morgan, WJEC’s Chief Executive, shared his enthusiasm for the successful celebration, stating, “WJEC’s 75th anniversary underscores the dedication and contributions of all those who have been part of the organisation’s success over the years. We take pride in our heritage, our role in shaping educational policies, and our commitment to supporting Welsh students. The celebration served as a testament to our positive influence on education and our pledge to continue in the same spirit.”
Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, added: “I’m delighted to be part of the celebrations to mark this very special year for WJEC.
“It is important our learners benefit from a broad and balanced, bilingual education which offers exciting new opportunities. WJEC continues to set high standards for all, and I look forward to working together as they develop qualifications that match the ambitions behind our new Curriculum for Wales.”
In the 23/34 academic year alone, throughout Wales, WJEC served 56,000 candidates across 317 centres for GCSE, 13,500 candidates across 183 centres for A Level, and facilitated almost 76,000 entries for Welsh Baccalaureate across 237 centres.
Header image caption: L-R Jessica Leigh Jones Vice-Chair WJEC Board and Joanna Moonan Chair WJEC Board
Image credits – all images: WJEC 75th anniversary celebration at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay. Natasha Hirst photography for Deryn. 22nd November 2023