The Welsh Baccalaureate (Welsh Bac or WBQ) is designed to combine traditional qualifications with experiences and projects to help develop students’ skills and knowledge.
The Qualification consists of two parts - a compulsory Core, which is a programme of activities, and a choice of Options, which are made up of optional subjects or qualifications such as A-Level, BTECs and NVQs. The qualification is offered at Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Those taking foundation tier GCSEs (grades D-G) would work toward the Foundation Diploma, those expecting GCSEs grades A*-C would towards the Intermediate Diploma and those undertaking A-levels would work towards the Advanced Diploma.
The structure of the core is the same at all three levels and consists of:
- Essential Skills Wales/Key Skills qualifications (Exact requirements depend on the level followed)
- Wales, Europe and the World (WEW)
- Personal and Social Education (PSE)
- Work-related Education (WRE)- work experience and a team enterprise activity
- Community Participation
- Language Module
- Individual Investigation (Exact requirements depend on the level followed)
- The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is equal to 120 UCAS points, or an A at A-Level and is awarded by WJEC.
The majority of universities accept the WBQ, and they are looked upon favourably as good preparation for degree-level studying. This is because they improve students’ critical thinking, research and analytical skills, presentation skills, and initiative and problem solving. The work experience and community participation also gives students plenty to talk about on their personal statements.
However taking the WBQ as an extra subject can exacerbate a student’s workload. In this case, it's better to concentrate on achieving high A-Level grades rather than mediocre grades plus the WBQ. Furthermore, often universities ask for general grades (i.e. three As) and specific grades (i.e. an A in History). Although universities accept the WBQ, it will not count towards a specific grade. This means that students may still need high grades in each subject, depending on course requirements.