Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma - legacy

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WJEC Level 3 Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

This QIP refers to the legacy and interim Welsh Baccalaureate.

  • Wales

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma aims to develop a learning and assessment programme that develops and accredits students’ skills.

The qualification also provides a guarantee of a degree of breadth in learning programmes and promotes inclusion, retention, completion and achievement.

It builds on the candidate’s previous education and allows for progression along and between the chosen pathway for each individual, thereby reflecting the vision laid out in the Welsh Assembly Government’s guidance in Learning Pathways 14–19 Guidance II (Circular 17/2006).

Education context

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma was initially developed as a post-16 qualification, providing a Core of compulsory learning sitting alongside the A levels, GCSE or vocational qualifications that students follow. The Core is designed to underpin learning with skills development and to add breadth to learning programmes.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is also available at Foundation and Intermediate levels (Levels 1 and 2 respectively). The Foundation and Intermediate levels are now available across the 14 –19 age range.

Students in both general and vocational qualification routes follow Welsh Baccalaureate programmes, and progression from Foundation and Intermediate levels to the Advanced Diploma is one of the reasons for the steady growth in candidate numbers for the Advanced Diploma, from an initial cohort of 299 in 2005 to over 10,000 in 2013.

The independent Review of Qualifications for 14 –19 year olds in Wales reported in November 2012 and broadly endorsed the Welsh Baccalaureate. The Review made a number of recommendations, including that the Welsh Baccalaureate should:

  • be revised and made more rigorous at all levels (the reformed form is being introduced from programmes starting in September 2015)
  • be graded at Advanced level
  • when revised, be universally adopted as the basis for programmes of learning in schools and colleges

Grading was introduced for Advanced programmes starting in 2013, based on the existing model. Students holding this interim Welsh Baccalaureate will largely be applying to higher education in the 2015 and 2016 entry cycles.

A reformed model is being implemented in September 2015 and will include grading at Advanced and Intermediate levels. Further information about the reformed Baccalaureate can be found at:


Awarding organisation
  • WJEC
Qualification code

For courses commencing September 2013 and 2014:

  • To gain a Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma candidates must successfully complete both the compulsory Core and optional requirements comprising Level 3 qualifications such as A levels vocational qualifications, etc.

A programme of personal development which also provides opportunities to develop skills.

The Core programme includes:

  • Personal and Social Education – including Community Participation
  • Wales, Europe & the World (WEW), including a Language Module
  • Work Related Education including work experience and an enterprise activity-all evidenced through the Candidate Diary Individual Investigation – Independent study which meets specified assessment criteria and is graded at either Pass, Merit or Distinction (see section 11)
  • Essential Skills Wales (ESW) / Wider Key Skills – A minimum of three Essential Skills Wales / Wider Key Skills at Level 3 and three at Level 2. At least one of the Level 3 skills must be from ESW i.e. Application of Number, ICT or Communication.

Optional qualifications:

  • Level 3 qualifications which total 720 GLH or 108 credits or 100% of the Level 3 threshold (i.e. equivalent to two A levels graded A*– E).
  • The optional qualifications contributing to the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma can be drawn from no more than three Level 3 qualifications.
  • Although these optional qualifications are required to achieve the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma, grades achieved in these qualifications do not affect the grade awarded for the Core (see section 12).
  • The component parts of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma may be taken in either the Welsh or English language.
Subject areas

Core components:

Wales, Europe and the World (WEW), the focus is on political, social, economic, and cultural issues setting them in the context of Wales, Europe (including the UK) and the world. There are eight identified key issues that each candidate must evidence (e.g. why people should be concerned about politics and political issues, ways of projecting the economic and technological image of Wales). There is also a Language Module aimed at developing language skills in a candidate’s chosen language (any modern foreign language, Welsh second language or sign language). Candidates may be developing existing skills, or starting a new language.

Personal and Social Education (PSE), includes developing relationships, sustainable development and will promote active citizenship and good health. Candidates are required to consider four key issues (one from each of the following elements: positive relationships, health & emotional well-being, active citizenship, sustainable development & global citizenship). There is an additional community participation element which involves candidates working in active community volunteering.

Work Related Education (WRE) enhances understanding of the world of work, the importance of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Candidates work on two elements: working with an employer and a team enterprise activity.

The Individual Investigation provides an opportunity for candidates to develop their skills of research, information processing, creative and critical thinking, analysis, presentation and evaluation by investigating a contemporary area of interest covering Wales and one other country or region. The investigation must be based on a local/Wales perspective and at least one other country or region of the world.

Essential Skills Wales (ESW)/Wider Key Skills (WKS) will be embedded in each candidate’s programme of study either in the Core and/or Options.

  • Essential Skills Wales: Communication, Application of Number, ICT
  • Wider Key Skills: Working with Others, Problem Solving, Improving own Learning & Performance.
  • Level 3

The Baccalaureate Core is graded:

Pass (awarding in 2014)

A*/A/B/C (awarding in 2015 and 2016).


Assessment of the Core of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification is based on a Candidate Diary, Individual Investigation and achievement in Essential Skills Wales/ Wider Key Skills qualifications.

The Candidate Diary is compulsory for all candidates and is assessed on a pass/ fail basis. It provides evidence of the development of candidate knowledge, understanding and skills in respect of the requirements for achievement of:

  • Personal and Social Education including Community Participation
  • Wales, Europe & The World including the Language Module
  • Work Related Education including work experience and an enterprise activity

Assessors authenticate that candidates have met all the requirements of all the components, (e.g. confirming that required hours have been completed on language modules and Key / Essential skills).

The Individual Investigation is presented in written form that will normally include graphs, images, statistical tables, diagrams, drawings, etc. It must be at least 3,000 words (excluding graphs, tables and diagrams).

The Individual Investigation is assessed in terms of five learning themes, and eight associated assessment criteria, each allowing achievement at Pass, Merit or Distinction. Points are available for each criteria as follows:

Pass = 1

Merit = 2

Distinction = 3

Candidates must achieve at least a Pass in each of the eight assessment criteria, thus the range of possible pass marks is from 8–24. Overall grades are determined on the basis of the total points score as follows:

Pass = 8 - 11

Merit = 12 - 19

Distinction = 20 - 24

ESW/Key Skills are separately certificated by the relevant awarding organisation.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

WBQ Core Component:

WEW: Pass

PSE: Pass

WRE: Pass

Individual Investigation: Six ESW/ WKS at Level 2 or 3.

Distinction: Four or more at Level 3 with at least two ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: A*

Distinction: Three at Level 3 with at least two ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: A

Merit: Four or Level 3 with at least two ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: A

Merit: Three at Level 3 with at least one ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: B

Pass: Four or more at Level 3 with at least two ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: B

Pass: Three at Level 3 with at least one ESW. Overall grade for WBQ Core: C

Resit arrangements

Individual Investigation can be entered as a discrete unit within the Advanced Level Baccalaureate Diploma in either the March or August series.

Candidates may resit this unit once.

Qualifications achieved in fulfilment of optional requirement and ESW/Key skills have their own resit arrangements.

Guided/notional learning hours
Wales, Europe and the World: 100 hours
Personal and Social Education: 100 hours
Work Related Education: 100 hours
Individual Investigation: 50 hours
Tutoring/Mentoring: 6 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Components for Wales, Europe and the World: Eight Key Issues + Language Module

Components for Personal and Social Education: Four elements + Community Participation

Components for Work Related Education: Working with an employer + Team Enterprise

UCAS Tariff points

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Grade Points

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Grade Points


Key issues for UK HE admissions

The Welsh Government has worked with stakeholders to revise and strengthen the Welsh Baccalaureate and to increase its rigour. This followed recommendations from the independent Review of Qualifications and also addresses recommendations in a report the Welsh Government commissioned from Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) (2013):


Within a relatively short period of time higher education admissions tutors will see a number of iterations of the Welsh Baccalaureate:

  • 2014 saw the final award of the Welsh Baccalaureate that was pass grade only
  • 2015 and 2016 will see the interim Welsh Baccalaureate awarded, which is graded A*-C
  • 2017 onwards will see the award of the fully reformed Welsh Baccalaureate, graded A*-U.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Students may achieve different elements of the Core at different points throughout the year.

Welsh Baccalaureate results are awarded twice a year in March and August.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2007 (Grading introduced for courses starting in September 2013 (first certification 2015).)
This is a current qualification. (Reformed Welsh Baccalaureate programmes will be first taught from September 2015. Further information about the reformed Welsh Baccalaureate can be found at)
This is a current qualification. (http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/welsh-baccalaureate/welsh-bacc-from-2015/)
Reporting and certification information

Grade distributions and total entries are published at


Further information

Links to qualification and subject level regulations and rules published by Welsh Baccalaureate Organisation


Link to Welsh Government Review of Qualifications 14–16: