THE WELSH Joint Education Committee is remaining outside AQA while continuing to have close relations with members of the new alliance. So far unitary bodies have not been an issue in Wales, with the Welsh Office declining to carry out parallel consultations to the Department for Education and Employment at the time of "Guaranteeing Standards".
The Welsh committee offers GCSEs and A-levels to most schools and colleges in the principality and, since forming its partnership with City Guilds last year, has provided schools in Wales with easier access to GNVQs. The committee also co-operates with the Northern Examinations and Assessment Board over provision of minority GCSE and A-level subjects. But otherwise they remain competitors on both sides of the border.
Some schools in England, for example, prefer the committee's GCSE English syllabus to those offered by English exam boards. Brian Evans, WJEC's head of examinations, said the situation had changed slightly since AQA was set up, but the WJEC was aiming to retain its close links with alliance members. "We are working towards a formal partnership but no definitive decisions have been taken," he said.