Welsh pioneer new sixth-form exam

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The Independent Online

The Welsh are pioneering a new sixth form baccalaureate they plan to export to the rest of Britain. Wales Studies or Welsh language will be compulsory for the WelshBac - Y BacCymreig - which would replace A-level, with a choice of arts and science.

The Welsh are pioneering a new sixth form baccalaureate they plan to export to the rest of Britain. Wales Studies or Welsh language will be compulsory for the WelshBac - Y BacCymreig - which would replace A-level, with a choice of arts and science.

Supporters of the change say the exam would transfer easily to any part of Britain. The Scots, for example, might do Gaelic or Scottish studies.

Pupils on the Continent have long taken baccalaureate-style exams but in Britain the idea of a sixth form exam with a broad spread of subjects in both arts and science has been slow to take off. In the wake of devolution, however, the education committee of the Welsh Assembly is to examine proposals to pilot a WelshBac.

Supporters of the WelshBac say the changes do not go nearly far enough. John David, the bac's project co-ordinator for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, said: "Most of the initial research shows that young people are choosing additional subjects which reinforce rather than contrast with their main area of study."

But Brian Connolly, chairman of the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales, said: "I am concerned about any element of compulsion and the possibility of banning A-levels."

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