Top marks in the life of Tom Jones

6th November 2009 at 00:00
New Welsh culture qualification to include study of pop and film stars

Welsh sporting legends, acting greats and singing stars could soon find themselves being studied alongside historical figures and folk heroes as part of the 14-19 learning pathways.

From next September, learners across Wales will be able to gain a qualification in their own country's rich history and heritage.

The new awarding body Agored Cymru is developing a unique set of made-in- Wales qualifications tailored to meet the needs of learners from all walks of life.

Formerly OCN Wales, it is the first new UK awarding body approved into the Qualifications and Credit Framework by the exams watchdog Ofqual to develop specific qualifications for Wales.

Among a number of niche units being developed is the first qualification to focus on Welsh culture and identity.

Anne Lewis, Agored Cymru's director of business development, said: "We want this to cover everything that makes us Welsh, including language, performing arts, sport, the environment, politics, the economy and history. We think that this is something that's different and sets out a mission statement."

Learners can study in either language, but Welsh will be integral to the new qualification.

Ms Lewis continued: "It is important for English-speaking people in Wales to understand their identity and heritage, so there will be a requirement for some Welsh."

The unit will initially be available for study from OCN entry level to level 3, but it could contribute to the skills-led Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, and eventually become a standalone diploma.

Janet Barlow, chief executive of Agored Cymru, said Wales needed a specific awarding body because of the country's unique educational agenda.

"The needs and priorities of Wales and Welsh learners are different and, as such, we need to build qualifications that reflect those differences," she said.

The awarding body's first qualification, a level 3 certificate in youth work, will be available by Christmas. It is also developing units recognising the significance of bilingualism, including Welsh in the workplace and Welsh for families, and considering an employability qualification with Careers Wales.

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