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IOP responds to Qualifications Wales decision to delay double-award sciences GCSE

6 June 2024

Concerns linger over potential inequity issues for students studying multiple pathways through the sciences in Wales.


The Institute of Physics (IOP) has today welcomed Qualifications Wales’s decision to delay the implementation of the GCSE The Sciences (Double Award) until 2026, highlighting that potential inequity issues remain for students studying multiple pathways through the sciences in Wales.

Eluned Parrott, IOP Head of Wales, said: “Allowing more time for further development of the GCSE The Sciences qualification, to ensure it works for the curriculum, is a positive step. The qualification will offer all learners the opportunity to experience the benefits from a broad grounding in physics, chemistry, and biology, with the option to progress in science post-16.

“However, we remain concerned the proposed system, comprising both single- and double-award qualifications alongside a future Foundation qualification, risks entrenching inequity by allowing schools to put students onto very different routes such as the Integrated Science (Single Award) instead of The Sciences (Double Award).

“Of the three routes being proposed, only the double award GCSE in The Sciences offers students a realistic opportunity of pursuing future study or vocational qualifications in a science subject. There is a risk that decisions will be made for students that will cut them off from many future career paths.”

Qualifications Wales’s original proposal for a single-route science qualification was an evidence-based approach that would have given all learners more equal opportunities. The recent shift back to multiple qualifications risks perpetuating educational inequalities and limiting students’ future opportunities.

The IOP advocates for all students in Wales following the same route through GCSE The Sciences (Double Award), with students being differentiated by their final grade and, if necessary, the tier of paper for which they are entered.