Y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc ac Addysg - Y Bumed Senedd
Children, Young People and Education Committee - Fifth Senedd02/05/2018
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Darren Millar AM|
|Hefin David AM|
|John Griffiths AM|
|Llyr Gruffydd AM|
|Lynne Neagle AM||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Mark Reckless AM|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Emyr George||Cyfarwyddwr Cyswllt—Cymwysterau Cyffredinol, Cymwysterau Cymru|
|Associate Director—General Qualifications, Qualifications Wales|
|Gareth Pierce||Prif Weithredwr, CBAC|
|Chief Executive, WJEC|
|Mike Ebbsworth||Cyfarwyddwr Cynorthwyol—Cymorth Addysgol, CBAC|
|Assistant Director—Educational Support, WJEC|
|Philip Blaker||Prif Weithredwr, Cymwysterau Cymru|
|Chief Executive, Qualifications Wales|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gareth Rogers||Ail Glerc|
|Sarah Bartlett||Dirprwy Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:33.
The meeting began at 09:33.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's meeting of the Children, Young People and Education Committee. We've received no apologies for absence. Can I ask Members whether there are any declarations of interest, please?
Yes, I have a declaration of interest, Chair. I understand that my daughter features in one of the videos that is going to be used to contribute evidence to this inquiry. And, in addition, I'm a governor of one of the schools that features in the video.
Thank you, Darren.
So, item 2, then, today is our first session on the provision of textbooks and learning resources for pupils, which is a video of interviews with young people and teachers. The committee team has been out to take video evidence around Wales, and we're now going to watch the results of that on the screen.
Dangoswyd cyflwyniad clyweledol. Mae’r trawsgrifiad mewn llythrennau italig isod yn drawsgrifiad o’r cyfraniadau llafar yn y cyflwyniad.
An audio-visual presentation was shown. The transcription in italics below is a transcription of the oral contributions in the presentation.
Ffion: Does dim rhai Cymraeg ar gael o CBAC o gwbl. Y rhai Saesneg sydd ar gael. Mae’r dyddiad maen nhw’n cyhoeddi nhw yn rhy hwyr i ni. Mae mis cyn yr arholiadau, a rŷm ni’n ffeindio fe’n rili anodd i drio ffitio fe mewn efo’r nodiadau rŷm ni wedi eu gwneud yn barod. Efo popeth rŷm ni wedi ei wneud, mae e jest bach yn rhy hwyr i ni.
Caitlin: Achos rŷm ni newydd gael y llyfrau, dim ond tua mis sydd tan yr arholiad. So, mae’r rhan fwyaf ohonom ni wedi dechrau—wel, wedi bron â gorffen gwneud nodiadau adolygu. So, mae'n bach yn hwyr. Byddai wedi bod yn lot o help i gael y llyfrau wrth astudio’r cwrs gan fod rhaid inni iwso lot o erthyglau, ac mae'n rhaid cyfieithu popeth. Mae hynny'n rhoi lot o bwysau ar yr athrawes, i orfod cyfieithu popeth inni. Mae cymaint o waith i'w wneud ar gyfer daear fel y mae hi, mae e jest yn ychwanegu mwy o amser.
Ffion: There are no Welsh language versions available at all from the WJEC. The English ones are the ones that are available. The publication date is too late for us. It’s a month before the exam, and we find it really difficult to fit it in with the notes we’ve already taken. And with everything else that we’ve done, it’s just a bit too late for us.
Caitlin: Because we’ve just had the books, and there's only about a month before the exam, so most of us have nearly finished making our revision notes. So, it’s a bit late. It would have helped a lot to have had the books while we were studying the course, as we have to use a lot of articles and translate everything, and that puts a great deal of pressure on the teacher to translate everything for us. There's so much work to do for geography as it is, it just takes more time.
Mary: Yes, it's very hard to condense the information in such a short space of time, because there's so much material to get through, and, in so little time before exams, it's hard to learn it all as well as condense it, as well.
Harry: So, it's meant that, with other subjects, we have to start revising already to finish the course, going over things, whereas with religious education, we're still going to be in class trying our very hardest to even get what we had done in a condensed form done before May half-term, which is when most of our exams start. So, it's meant that our revision and the timetables have all been obscure, and it's made life very difficult for both us and our teachers in terms of what we need to learn.
Eluned: Ond ar y pryd, cyn i'r llyfr gael ei gyhoeddi, roeddwn i'n teimlo'n rhwystredig achos nad oeddwn i'n deall y geiriau, ac roeddwn i'n poeni y byddwn i'n methu â gwneud yn dda yn yr arholiad oherwydd nad oedd gyda fi'r eirfa roeddwn i angen. Ar yr un pryd, roeddwn i'n becso y byddwn i'n methu â deall yn hollol yr hyn roeddwn i eisiau ei ddysgu.
Ffion: Mae’n bach o bryder i fi yn bersonol oherwydd efo pwnc fel astudiaethau crefyddol rydym ni’n defnyddio llawer o ddyfyniadau gan arbenigwyr ac os maen nhw’n Saesneg, neu os yw'r cyhoeddiad yn rhy hwyr i ni rydym ni'n methu â'u defnyddio nhw, mae’n anodd eu cofio nhw.
Joanna: Mae gennym ni gymaint o bynciau eraill ac mae angen cydbwyso. Mae e jest yn ychwanegu mwy o bwysau arnom ni.
Megan: Rydw i wedi troi nawr at ddefnyddio pethau fel blogs a gwefannau yn lle’r gwerslyfrau oherwydd mae e jest lot yn haws, oherwydd maen nhw'n fanna’n barod i ni.
Eluned: But at the same time, before the book was published, I felt frustrated because I didn't understand the words, and I was worried that I wouldn't do well in the exam because I didn't have the vocabulary I needed. At the same time, I was worried that I wouldn't understand all the things I needed to learn.
Ffion: It’s a bit of a concern for me personally because, with a subject like religious studies, we use a great deal of quotations from specialists, and if they're in English, or if the publication is too late for us, then we can’t use them and they're difficult to remember.
Joanna: We have so many other subjects and we need to find a balance. It puts us under more pressure.
Megan: I now use things such as blogs and websites instead of the textbooks, because it's a lot easier, because they’re already there for us.
Mary: The resources have been good when they've come, but it's just that not having them makes it very stressful.
Georgina: It's very stressful, because at the uni I'm going to—I have a lot of competition from people in other subjects that have their textbooks and other people from England who have all their exam boards giving them out textbooks, and it's just going to be a lot more difficult to compete with them.
Rhodri: Do, mae e wedi dala fi nôl, achos y ffordd draddodiadol o adolygu, sef edrych ar nodiadau dosbarth a gwneud nodiadau eich hunain—nid yw e wedi gweithio i bob un, a’r ffordd sydd yn gweithio i fi yw mynd trwy werslyfrau a drwy edrych ar gwestiynau a hen gwestiynau. Felly, nid ydw i'n teimlo ei fod e'n deg achos, mewn rhai pynciau, mae gyda nhw’r adnoddau hyn, ac oherwydd fy mod i wedi dewis pynciau, a hefyd achos rydw i wedi dewis ei wneud e drwy'r Gymraeg, nid wyf i'n cael cymaint o gymorth ag y byddai rhywun sydd wedi dewis ei wneud e trwy'r Saesneg neu bynciau eraill sydd gyda’r adnoddau hyn.
Rhodri: Yes, it has held me back, because the traditional way of revising by looking at class notes and preparing your own notes hasn’t worked for everyone, and the way that works for me is to go through textbooks and look at questions and past questions. So, I don’t feel it’s fair, because they have these resources in some of the subjects. The subjects I've chosen and the fact I've chosen to do them in Welsh means that I don’t get as much support as someone who has chosen other subjects that do have these resources or to study through the medium of English.
Libby: It makes me feel particularly nervous, because my top university wants three As, and I'm confident in my other subjects, but this one, because of the amount of work I have to go through—it's something that I struggle with and maybe think I'd like other insurance choices to go to. I'm not going to be able to go to the one that I'd think that I want to go to.
Catrin: Mae’r athrawes a ni wedi gorfod defnyddio adnoddau Saesneg ac erthyglau Saesneg. Mae e wedi bod yn anodd iawn i'w cyfieithu nhw, yn enwedig efo'r termau daearyddol sydd ar gael, ac mae e jest yn cymryd llawer o amser. Felly, buasai fe wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol iawn pe buasai yna adnoddau Cymraeg.
Meurig Jones: Yn sgil y ffaith bod dim gwerslyfrau, mae’n rhaid inni fod yn ofalus fan hyn gyda fel rydym ni’n hysbysu dysgwyr a rhieni o hwn, achos, yn glou iawn, bydd pobl yn—ac maent wedi yn ein hysgol ni, a hefyd mewn ysgolion Cymraeg cyfagos—codi’r cwestiwn, ‘Wel, a ydy fy mhlentyn i'n well 'off' yn astudio trwy’r Saesneg oherwydd bod adnoddau gyda nhw, a'ch bod chi eich hunain yn cydnabod nad oes yr adnoddau cyfrwng Cymraeg?’ Wel, mae hynny i fi yn broblem fawr.
Joanna: Mae’r adnoddau Saesneg sydd ar gael dipyn bach yn gymhleth i ni oherwydd mae angen edrych arnyn nhw tra ein bod ni wedi bod yn astudio drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, felly mae’r derminoleg yn gwbl wahanol.
Megan: So, rydym ni’n ffocysu mwy ar gyfieithu’r gwaith yn lle deall a dysgu’r gwaith.
Ffion: Mae'n rhaid inni gofio pethau mewn dwy iaith yn lle un, sy’n ei wneud e'n 'really, really' cymhleth i ni.
Joanna: Mae cymaint mwy o adnoddau ar gael drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg, felly mae e dipyn bach yn annheg arnom ni ac efallai bod eu marciau nhw yn mynd i droi allan yn well na'n rhai ni.
Casey: Rwyf i'n astudio 'maths' ac rwyf i’n gweld bod y rhan fwyaf o’r hen gwestiynau sy’n cael eu rhoi i ni fel deunydd adolygu yn Saesneg, felly mae’n rhaid i ni dreulio mwy o amser yn eu cyfieithu nhw i’r Gymraeg. Felly, mae’n annheg ac mae'n ein rhoi ni o dan fwy o anfantais na phobl sydd ddim yn astudio 'maths' yn y Gymraeg.
Cerys: Rydw i’n astudio Ffrangeg ac yn enwedig yn y pwnc yma mae’n 'really' anodd gan fy mod i’n cyfieithu 'anyway' fel rhan o’r pwnc so mae’n 'really' anodd i gyfieithu o Ffrangeg i Saesneg ac wedyn o Saesneg i Gymraeg eto. Felly, mae’n dyblu'r gwaith i fi so rydw i’n teimlo ei fod e’n fy rhoi i o dan anfantais a'i fod e’n rhoi mwy o bwysau eto.
Alwen: Mae’r adnoddau rydym ni wedi'u defnyddio nawr i gyd yn uniaith Saesneg ac felly mae’r derminoleg i gyd yn Saesneg ynddyn nhw—yr erthyglau, yr holl werslyfrau rydym ni'n eu defnyddio nhw ar gyfer ein gwaith cwrs ni hefyd. Felly rydym ni wedi gorfod cyfieithu rheini ac mae wedi cymryd cymaint o amser— cymaint o'n hamser ni ac amser yr athrawes, chwarae teg. Mae wedi cymryd gymaint o amser i'w gyfieithu fe.
Mewn ffordd mae’n anoddach i'w ddeall, achos mae astudio astudiaethau achos yn Saesneg ac wedyn gorfod cyfieithu fe i’r Gymraeg yn hollol wahanol i beth fyddai ei astudio fe yn y Gymraeg yn y lle cyntaf. Byddem ni'n deall yn syth wedyn.
Meurig Jones: Beth mae’n ei wneud yw rhoi mwy o bwysau ar staff yn y sector Cymraeg, oherwydd maen nhw’n mynd ati i gynhyrchu pethau, i gyfieithu pethau eu hunain, fel nad ydyn nhw'n teimlo wedyn bod dysgwyr cyfrwng Cymraeg dan anfantais.
Dyfrig Huw Jones: Mae yn sefyllfa druenus i bob pwrpas, oherwydd mae gwerslyfrau yn cael eu cynhyrchu, mae modd dod o hyd iddyn nhw drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg, ond mae’n her i ni yn y sector Cymraeg, oherwydd mae safon y deunyddiau yn llwyr ddibynol ar ewyllys da'r staff, mewn gwirionedd. Nhw sydd â’r cyfrifoldeb i gyfieithu’r gwaith yma ac mae hynny'n eu tynnu nhw oddi ar gyfrifoldebau pwysig eraill, efallai, sydd gyda ni o fewn yr ysgol, a sicrhau dysgu ac addysgu da, lle mae lot o amser yn cael ei dreulio ar greu deunyddiau Cymraeg.
Rachel Edmunds: Ac mae’r amser rŷm ni'n treulio yn cyfieithu hefyd—buasai'r amser yna yn gallu cael ei ddefnyddio ar gyfer cymaint o bethau gwell, petasai'r adnoddau Cymraeg ar gael.
Dyfrig Huw Jones: Mae'n rhaid cyfaddef, fel mae Rachel wedi nodi o ran y manylebau newydd, mae yna ddatblygiad wedi bod yn fanna. Rydw i'n credu bod CBAC yn haeddu llawer iawn o ganmoliaeth am hynny. Mae deunyddiau wedi cael eu creu ar y cyd â Hodder ac mae’r deunyddiau yna yn y Gymraeg, sydd yn wych, achos maen nhw'n syth ac maen nhw'n barod. Mae’n wir i ddweud bod y deunyddiau Saesneg wedi bod yn barod ac ar gael am ragor o amser, ond, wedi dweud hynny, ar gyfer y TGAU newydd, mae’r adnoddau nawr ar gael i’r disgyblion ac rydym ni’n gallu eu rhoi nhw iddyn nhw ac yn gallu eu defnyddio nhw. Maen nhw’n ffit i bwrpas fel petai, ac mae hynny yn rhywbeth a ddylai gael ei ganmol.
Rachel Edmunds: Rydw i’n cytuno’n llwyr gyda Dyfrig. Mae’r gwerslyfrau sydd gyda ni, pan maen nhw’n dod allan yn y Gymraeg, maen nhw o safon uchel ac mae nifer o adnoddau digidol hefyd ar wefan CBAC sydd wedi eu creu, ac maen nhw yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg. Nid oes dim adnodd ar gyfer pob un thema ond mae lot fawr o adnoddau digidol ar gael hefyd, sydd wedi bod yn hyfryd.
Meurig Jones: Dylai fod yna oes lle efallai ein bod ni’n edrych ar bethau yn fwy digidol, a bod y templedi yna ar gael i ni eu defnyddio a’u haddasu, efallai, i gyd-fynd â'r cymwysterau newydd yma. Ac rydw i yn ddiolchgar i uned iaith CBAC achos, ar ôl y drafodaeth a gawsom ni, mi wnaethon nhw ryddhau un o’r cyfrolau addysg grefyddol, er enghraifft, a oedd gyda nhw mewn fformat drafft, i staff eu cael nhw yn hytrach nag aros nes oedd y copi caled, 'posh, glossy' wedi cael ei gyhoeddi yn swyddogol. Felly rydw i’n meddwl bod angen mwy o gydweithio gyda hynny.
Rachel Edmunds: Gyda’r ardal yma, rydym ni wedi creu rhwydwaith o athrawon AG sydd yn dod at ei gilydd i rannu a chreu’r adnoddau ar y cyd, wedyn. Ond, yn amlwg, mae hynny'n golygu lot o waith, lot o amser yn ystod y gwyliau i greu'r pecynnau yma, ac rydym ni'n colli diwrnodau o ysgol i fynd i gwrdd, ac rydym ni'n colli’r gwersi cyfnod allweddol 4 a 5 lle mae cymaint i'w wneud gyda’r manylebau newydd. Does dim amser gyda ni; ni angen pob gwers sydd gyda ni.
Catrin: So, we, and the teacher, have had to use resources and articles in English, and it’s been very difficult to translate them, especially the geography terminology. It’s taken a lot of time. It would be really useful to have had the resources in Welsh.
Meurig Jones: A consequence of the fact that there aren’t any textbooks is that we have to take care when we inform the students and parents of this fact, because people will immediately ask—and they have in our school, as in our neighbouring Welsh-medium schools—'Would my child be better off learning through the medium of English, because they’ll have the resources, and you yourselves acknowledge that resources aren’t available in Welsh?’ For me, that is a big problem.
Joanna: The English language resources that are available are a little complex for us because we need to use them when we've been studying in Welsh, so the terminology is completely different.
Megan: So, we focus more on translating the work rather than on learning and understanding it.
Ffion: We have to remember things in two languages instead of one, which makes things really complicated for us.
Joanna: There are so many more resources available through the medium of English, so it’s a bit unfair on us and perhaps they might get better marks than us.
Casey: I’m studying maths and I can see that most of the past questions given as revision material are in English, so we have to spend more time translating them into Welsh. So, it's unfair and it places us under more of a disadvantage than people who aren’t studying maths in Welsh.
Cerys: I’m studying French and it’s really difficult, particularly in this subject, as part of it involves translating anyway. It’s really difficult to translate from French to English and then from English to Welsh again. It doubles my workload, so I feel that it puts me at a disadvantage and it puts me under more pressure too.
Alwen: The resources that we’ve used now are all solely in English, and so the terminology is all in English, in the articles and the textbooks that we’ve used for our coursework. We’ve had to translate them, and it’s taken so much of our time, and the teacher’s time, to be fair. It’s taken so much time to translate it.
In a way, it’s more difficult to understand, because studying case studies in English and then having to translate them into Welsh is completely different to studying them in Welsh in the first place, as we would have understood that immediately.
Meurig Jones: What it’s doing is increasing the pressure on staff in the Welsh-medium stream, because they produce things themselves, to translate things themselves, so that they don’t feel that Welsh-medium students are at a disadvantage.
Dyfrig Huw Jones: It’s a sorry state of affairs, if truth be told, in that textbooks are produced, they can be found in English, but it’s a challenge for us in the Welsh-medium sector, because the quality of the materials depends entirely on the goodwill of the staff, in all honesty. They take responsibility for translating this work at the expense of the other important responsibilities we have in school, and of ensuring quality teaching and learning, as a lot of time goes on creating Welsh language materials.
Rachel Edmunds: And there’s the time we spend on translating as well. That time could be spent on so many better things if we had the resources in Welsh.
Dyfrig Huw Jones: I have to admit, as Rachel said with regard to the new specifications, there has been some development there, and I think that the WJEC deserves a great deal more praise for that. Materials have been created jointly with Hodder and these materials are in Welsh and are excellent because they’re there straight away, they’re ready. It’s true to say that the English language materials have been readily available for longer, but, having said that, with the new GCSEs, the resources are now available to pupils and we are able to get hold of them and use them. They’re fit for purpose, so to speak, and that’s something that deserves praise.
Rachel Edmunds: I agree entirely with Dyfrig. The textbooks we have, when they come out in Welsh, are of a high standard, and there are several digital resources also available on the WJEC website that have been created in English and Welsh. Not every single theme is supported by a resource, but a great many digital resources are available, and that has been great.
Meurig Jones: It should be an age in which we perhaps look for more digital solutions, where templates are available for us to use and adapt, perhaps in conjunction with these new qualifications. I’m grateful to the WJEC’s language unit, because, following the discussion that we had, they released one of the RE books they had in draft form, so that staff wouldn’t have to wait until the official publication of a posh, glossy, hardback edition. So, I think that more co-operation along those lines is needed.
Rachel Edmunds: In this area, we’ve created a network of RE teachers who come together to share and create resources jointly, but, clearly, creating the packages takes a lot of work and time during school holidays. We miss days of school on these meetings and we miss lessons in key stages 4 and 5 where there’s so much to do with the new specifications. We don't have the time; we need every lesson we have.
Okay. Well, I'm sure that the committee would want me to place on record our thanks to the young people and the teachers who took part in that very helpful and informative video.
We'll move on now then to our evidence session, and I'm very pleased to welcome Gareth Pierce, chief executive of the WJEC, Mike Ebbsworth, assistant director educational support, WJEC, Philip Blaker, chief executive of Qualifications Wales, and Emyr George, associate director general qualifications at Qualifications Wales. So, thank you all of you for attending and thank you for the papers that you provided in advance as well.
If you're happy, we'll go straight into questions now, and if I can just start by asking you to outline what you see as your role in ensuring that students and teachers in Wales have the resources that they need to pass general qualifications and what you think the role of commercial publishers and Welsh Government is.
Shall I start? So, Qualifications Wales is the regulator of the awarding bodies, so we regulate awarding bodies. Our powers are structured around the regulating of awarding bodies. We don't regulate commercial publishers nor the provision of textbooks within that. In regulating the awarding body, our primary focus is also on the design of the qualifications and then the delivery of the assessment. So, it's much more around the assessment side than teaching resources.
That said, when we are going through the design of the qualifications, we go through an approval process, so we develop approval criteria and we ask WJEC to submit their specifications against those approval criteria and sample assessment materials as well. So, our focus is very much on making sure that teachers are able, through the sample assessment materials and the specifications, to have a good understanding of what is going to be expected of them in the examinations and of their pupils in the examinations. So, that's setting out the knowledge, skills and understandings that will be assessed by WJEC when those exams are sat.
We have in the past pulled together groups of people to look at issues like resources. So, during the last round of approvals, we pulled together interested parties in Welsh Government, regional consortia and WJEC to look at resources that would be available with a view to facilitating the discussion about who would be best placed to fill the gaps where there may be perceived to be gaps in resources.
Our other primary role is in maintaining standards. So, as the regulator of qualifications, what we want to do is we want to make that the awards of qualifications—so, the grades that people get—are fair. One of the things we do is set out the way in which the awarding bodies will set grades—so, the awarding process, the methods that will be used—and then we monitor WJEC's award of grades against those processes. During a period of change, we prescribe the use of comparable outcomes as the primary approach, largely because comparable outcomes are designed for circumstances like this, where there's a change in a specification particularly, because there are any number of reasons, including resources, why performance may be different from one year to the next, but comparable outcomes is there to ensure that, all things being equal, if the cohorts have the same ability, the same grade should be awarded from one year to the next.
We do recognise that there have been delays in textbooks. Much of that has been related to the timelines that we've all had to deliver new specifications against, which have been far from ideal for everybody involved. We think that particularly our role moving forward will be looking at the timelines for reforms that will be necessary for the new curriculum to make sure that this situation isn't repeated and that there is sufficient time in future reforms to allow for greater system readiness.
In terms of the roles of others, Welsh Government have a role at the moment in terms of grant funding of translation of materials into Welsh medium. And there is, through the common model at the moment—and this is a model that is common between England and Wales—a reliance on commercial publishers to provide textbooks. Now, that's something that probably needs to be looked at in the future in terms of potential different models for how that might be achieved and also, potentially, around a paradigm shift in what's expected of those materials. So, I think that sets out Qualification Wales's position in particular.
Thank you. Gareth.
Diolch yn fawr. Mae CBAC yn darparu'r hyn sydd ei angen yn rheoleiddiol, a dau beth mewn gwirionedd sydd o fewn hynny—y fanyleb sydd, y dyddiau yma, yn tueddu i fod yn gynhwysfawr o ran rhoi arweiniad i lunio rhaglen ddysgu, a hefyd asesiadau enghreifftiol, sy'n cynnwys cynlluniau marcio, ac mae'r rheini yn mynd at y rheoleiddiwr i gael eu cymeradwyo cyn bod ni'n eu cyhoeddi nhw.
Mae CBAC hefyd yn buddsoddi yn sylweddol iawn mewn adnoddau rydym ni yn eu cynhyrchu yn ddigidol yn y ddwy iaith ar yr un pryd. Mae gan bob cwrs newydd ganllaw addysgu sylweddol, ac mae hwnnw eto yn cynnwys llawer iawn o fanylion defnyddiol i'r athrawon ac i'r disgyblion. Ac rydym ni'n rhedeg rhaglen datblygiad proffesiynol i'r athrawon am ddim pan fo'r cwrs yn newydd, ac wedyn yn flynyddol mae yna rhyw gymaint o dâl ar gyfer y digwyddiadau hynny. Maen nhw'n ddigwyddiadau wyneb i wyneb, neu, yn gynyddol, maen nhw'n webinarau.
Mae CBAC hefyd yn annog cyhoeddwyr i fod â diddordeb mewn darparu gwerslyfrau. Nid oes gennym ni fyth gytundeb masnachol gyda chyhoeddwyr. Yn wir, mae'r rheoliadau ar hyn o bryd yng Nghymru ac yn Lloegr a Gogledd Iwerddon yn gwahardd cyrff arholi rhag bod yn fasnachol gysylltiedig gyda darparwyr gwerslyfrau, ond mae hwnnw yn rhywbeth sy'n deillio o'r gyfundrefn tair gwlad a oedd yn bodoli ar gymwysterau. Felly, rydw i'n meddwl bod hwnnw yn un pwynt rydym ni wedi ei nodi efallai sydd eisiau ei ystyried ar gyfer Cymru wrth symud ymlaen. A oes modd—? Gan nad ydym ni'n sôn am gyrff arholi yn cystadlu â'i gilydd yng Nghymru y dyddiau yma ar gyfer TGAU a lefel A, efallai bod hynny, wrth basio, yn rhywbeth y dylwn i ei grybwyll fel pwynt gwerth ei adolygu.
Rydym ni'n annog y cyhoeddwyr i fod â diddordeb. Ar hyn o bryd, mae'r rheini'n tueddu i fod yn gyhoeddwyr yn Lloegr—er enghraifft, Hodder Education ac Illuminate Education—ac wedyn mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn darparu cyllid i CBAC i gefnogi'r broses o ddarparu fersiynau cyfrwng Cymraeg ar gyfer y gwerslyfrau hynny. Felly, rydym ni'n defnyddio'r arian yna i roi cefnogaeth olygyddol i'r broses, a hefyd i dalu am gyfieithu, ac rydym ni'n rhoi arweiniad sylweddol o ran terminoleg. Mae gennym ni dîm gwasanaethau iaith sy'n cynnwys golygyddion ardderchog a chyfieithwyr o fewn CBAC, ac rydym ni'n gweithio gyda chyfieithwyr allanol hefyd, ac rydym yn defnyddio technoleg cyfieithu yn fwyfwy, sydd yn hwyluso llawer iawn o bethau.
Tu hwnt i hynny, rydw i'n credu bod CBAC yn gweld yr angen i fod yn hyblyg iawn, yn enwedig pan fo yna anawsterau'n codi, ac fe glywsoch chi fanna am rai o'r dulliau mae Mike ac eraill wedi eu gweithio i gael adnoddau ar gael yn ddigidol, o leiaf, ynghynt nag mae'r fersiynau print ar gael. A hefyd efallai y dylwn i nodi, gan fod CBAC yn ymwneud yn helaeth iawn â rhanddeiliaid, ein bod ni'n teimlo bod gennym ni gyfraniad i'w wneud o ran syniadau ar gyfer y dyfodol.
Thank you very much. The WJEC does provide what's required in a regulatory sense, and there are two things there—the specification, which tends to be very comprehensive in providing guidance in terms of drawing up a programme of teaching, and also exemplar assessments, which include marking, and those go to the regulator before they are published. So, those samples go to the regulator.
The WJEC also do invest a great deal in resources that we produce digitally in both languages simultaneously. Each new course has substantial teaching guidance, which includes a great deal of useful information for teachers and pupils. And we run a professional development programme for teachers that is free of charge when courses are new, and then annually there is some charge for those events. They are face-to-face events, or, increasingly, they are webinars.
The WJEC also encourages publishers to take an interest in providing textbooks. We don't have a commercial agreement with publishers. Indeed, the regulations as they stand in Wales, Northern Ireland and England preclude examination bodies from having commercial links with providers of textbooks, but that is something that emerges from the three-nation regime that existed in terms of qualifications. So, that is one point that we noted as something that needs to be considered for Wales as we move forward, whether it would be possible—. As we are not talking about examination boards competing with each other in Wales for GCSE and A-levels, in passing, that is something that I would want to suggest may deserve review.
We encourage publishers to take an interest. At the moment, these tend to be England-based—Hodder Education and Illuminate Education, for example—and then the Welsh Government does provide funding to the WJEC to support the process of providing Welsh-language versions for those textbooks. So, we use that funding to provide editorial support to the process, and also to pay for translation costs, and we give significant guidance in terms of terminology. We have a language services team including excellent editors and translators within the WJEC, and we work closely with external translators too, and we use translation technology increasingly, which facilitates a great many things.
Beyond that, I think the WJEC does see the need for flexibility, particularly when difficulties arise, and you heard there of some of the methods used by Mike and others to get digital resources available earlier than the print versions. And I should also note perhaps that, as the WJEC is very much involved with stakeholders, we feel that we do have a contribution to make in terms of ideas for the future.
Thank you. We heard in the video that teachers are spending a lot of their time actually translating materials. What is your view on that as a good use of teachers' time in Wales?
Rydw i'n credu bod y cwestiwn o gyfieithu yn un diddorol iawn. Roedd yna sôn am ddisgyblion yn cyfieithu ac athrawon yn cyfieithu. Rydw i'n meddwl efallai bod angen i ni ddeall beth sy'n achosi'r angen yna o gwbl oherwydd, fel yr oeddwn i'n sôn gynnau, mae yna gymaint o ddefnyddiau ar gael yn ddigidol yn y ddwy iaith ar yr un pryd. Efallai cwestiwn diddorol yw: a ydy'r ffynhonell yna yn ddefnyddiol i athrawon, gan allu tynnu defnyddiau o ddwy ffynhonell? Cwestiwn arall diddorol, rwy'n credu, yw—. Mae'r Gymraeg, wrth gwrs, yn iaith sy'n cael ei defnyddio yn addysgol ond, wrth gwrs, rydym ni mewn byd mawr Saesneg ei iaith. Rydw i'n ymwybodol iawn, er enghraifft, fod llawer iawn o'r gwefannau rydym ni'n cyfeirio atyn nhw yn ein hadnoddau a llawer iawn o achosion achos, fel a gyfeiriwyd atynt—maen nhw ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig. Ac, felly, rydw i'n meddwl efallai cwestiwn arall diddorol yw: a oes modd canfod beth ydy'r adnoddau ychwanegol yna sy'n werth eu cyfieithu? Ac, yn sicr, byddai fe'n anffodus iawn iawn pe bai yna ddwsin o ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg, er enghraifft, yn cyfieithu deunydd o'r un wefan yn annibynnol o'i gilydd. Os oes yna ambell i wefan ac ambell i sefyllfa achos yn y byd mawr digidol tu fas sydd yn werth eu cyfieithu, oni ddylem allu canfod y rheini yn fuan? Achos nid ydw i'n credu ei fod yn ddefnydd da o amser athrawon.
Ond rydw i'n meddwl hefyd fod y defnydd o'r ddwy iaith yn gwestiwn diddorol iawn. Beth yw'r weledigaeth o ran addysgeg mewn dosbarth cyfrwng Cymraeg, efallai'n enwedig yn y cyrsiau safon uwch? Rydw i'n siŵr bod rhai athrawon yn gweld bod modd cyfoethogi'r dysgu trwy gyfeirio at dermau yn y ddwy iaith, yn ogystal ag egluro'r termau yna yn eu hiaith nhw eu hunain. Ond yr argraff roeddwn i'n ei gael yn y fideo oedd bod yna dipyn o gyfieithu mecanyddol efallai'n digwydd, ac a oes efallai eisiau deall yn well y cyd-destun?
I think the question of translation is an interesting one. There was talk about pupils translating and teachers translating. I think perhaps we need to understand what causes the need for that because, as I mentioned earlier, there are so many resources available digitally in both languages at the same time. Perhaps an interesting question is: is that source useful for teachers, being able to draw resources from two sources? Another interesting question, I think, is—. The Welsh language, of course, is a language that is used in an educational context, but we are in a big world that's an English language world. I'm very aware that many of the websites we refer to in our resources and many of the case studies, as was mentioned in that video—they are available in English only. Therefore, I think another interesting question is: can we discover what those additional resources are that are worth translating? And, certainly, it would be very unfortunate if there were a dozen Welsh-medium schools, for example, translating material from the same website independently of each other. If there are a few websites, or a few case studies, in this big external digital world that are worth translating, shouldn't we able to source those early? Because I don't think it's a good use of teachers' time.
But I also think that the use of both languages is an interesting one. What is the vision in terms of teaching in a Welsh-medium class, in particular, perhaps, in the A-level classes? I'm sure that some teachers feel that there is a way of enriching the teaching by referring to terms in both languages, as well as explaining those terms in their own language. But the impression I got from the video was that there was quite a lot of mechanical translating happening, and perhaps there is a need to understand more of the context.
Llyr on this.
Jest i bigo lan ar y pwynt ynglŷn â'r deunydd ychwanegol yma, hynny yw, rôl i bwy fuasai asesu neu gymryd yr orolwg yna, ac wedyn, wrth gwrs, ymateb i'r galw?
Just to pick up on your point on the additional materials, whose role would it be to assess this or to take that overview, and then to respond to the demand?
Wel, yn CBAC, mae'r tîm y mae Mike yn rhan ohono yn cael sgyrsiau ynglŷn ag adnabod anghenion.
Mike, in the WJEC, has conversations about resources in the team he's part of.
Ydym, ydym. Mae hynny'n bwysig tu hwnt—i adnabod, fel y mae Gareth newydd ei ddweud, y pethau sydd angen eu cyfieithu ac nid pob peth. Rydym ni wedi gwneud lot o ddefnydd yn ddiweddar o siarad â'r athrawon, siarad â'r consortia a phethau felly, a sicrhau wedyn ein bod ni yn ffocysu ar y pethau sydd wir angen sylw yn y pendraw.
Yes. That is extremely important—to identify, as Gareth has just said, those materials that need to be translated, and not everything needs to. We've made a lot of use recently of speaking with teachers and the consortia, and ensuring then that we are focusing on those things that need that attention.
Ond a fyddech chi—? Y cwestiwn rwy'n gofyn yw: a fyddech chi'n dal yn gweld hynny fel rhan greiddiol o'ch gwaith chi? Er nad yw e'n angenrheidiol o safbwynt darparu'r gwasanaeth rydych chi'n ei ddarparu, byddech chi'n teimlo bod hwnnw'n sicr yn rhan ganolog o'ch gwaith chi.
But would you—? The question I'm asking is: would you still see that as a core part of your work, although it's not necessarily essential in terms of the provision that you're required to provide?
Ie, fe allai fe fod, oherwydd rydym ni'n buddsoddi'n sylweddol iawn, iawn o gyllideb CBAC mewn adnoddau digidol. Felly, drwy sgyrsiau, fel yr oedd Mike yn ei ddweud, o ran canfod anghenion, penderfynu ar flaenoriaethau gydag athrawon mewn pynciau unigol, gall hynny roi gwybodaeth ddefnyddiol iawn i ni o ran beth i'w flaenoriaethu. Wrth gwrs, mae'r pecynnau digidol yr ydym yn eu creu eisoes yn seiliedig ar sgyrsiau gydag athrawon.
Yes, we invest substantially from the WJEC budget into digital resources. So, through the types of conversations that Mike mentioned, in terms of identifying needs, deciding on priorities with teachers in individual subject areas, that can provide very useful information for us in terms of prioritisation. Of course, the digital packages that we create are already based on conversations with teachers.
Felly, mae'n digwydd yn barod i raddau.
So, it's already happening to a certain extent.
I raddau, ydy, ond mae wastad yn bosib mynd cam ymhellach.
Well, yes, but we could always go a step further.
Ac a oes angen adnoddau i wneud hynny ymhellach?
And do we need further resources for that?
Wel, mae hi'n gwestiwn diddorol. Mae CBAC yn gwneud gymaint ag y gallwn ni—
Well, it's an interesting question. The WJEC is doing as much as we can—
Ond pam nad yw e'n digwydd i'r graddau y mae angen iddo fe ddigwydd, te?
Why isn't it happening to the extent that it needs to happen, then?
Mae wastad yn bosib gwneud mwy. Mae CBAC yn trio defnyddio'i gyllideb yn ofalus, oherwydd mae'r rhan fwyaf o'n harian ni yn dod o daliadau y mae'n hysgolion a'n colegau ni yn eu talu i ni i sefyll yr asesiadau. Felly, mae gennym ni gyllideb, ond nid yw'n ddiderfyn. Felly, mae angen gwneud dewisiadau o fewn y gyllideb sylweddol sydd gennym ni ar gyfer gwaith Mike a'i dîm.
One can always do more, of course. The WJEC is trying to use its budget prudently, and most of our funding comes from payments made by schools and colleges in terms of taking assessments. So, we do have a budget, but it's not a bottomless pit. So, we do need to make choices within the substantial budget we have in terms of the work that Mike is undertaking.
Mae'n rhaid bod yn ofalus hefyd, wrth adnabod anghenion, fod yr anghenion hynny yn wir i'w anghenion nhw. Yn aml iawn, byddai gan athro—a minnau wedi bod yn athro fy hunan—y syniad yma bod angen pob peth. Ond, yn sicr, nid yw hynny'n wirioneddol wir. Yn aml iawn, mae'r ffocws ar bethau hollol wahanol. Mae yna symud tuag at asesu gwahanol iawn wedi bod dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf yma nawr, ac felly rydym ni wedi symud ein adnoddau ni at y math yna o beth i ateb anghenion athrawon ar sut i fynd ati i gynnal y math yna o asesu.
There is a need to be careful as well in identifying resources and needs, and that those are suited towards the requirements. Quite often a teacher—and I've been a teacher myself—has this idea that there is a need to have everything. But, certainly, that's not always the case. Quite often, the focus is on different things. There has been a move towards different means of assessment over recent years, and we've moved our resources towards that to meet the needs of teachers on how to undertake that sort of assessment.
Okay. Thank you.
Did you want to come in on any of this?
I'm just going to say one thing. Teachers will want to be creative in the use of resources, and, in doing that, they'll potentially want to adapt resources from either language. I think one of the things that we would be quite keen to try and establish moving forward is what is the common core that should by default be available bilingually, and then what sits around that that would be for schools to use creatively and adapt. And what I wouldn't want to see is a default position where all materials were bilingual—a wide range of resources that might be created from all sorts of diverse, different channels—because that may inhibit the creation of some of those materials that may be more creative, which could then be used by teachers as they see appropriate. But I think it is reasonable to expect for that core, common body of knowledge to be available bilingually by default, and for teachers not to have to spend time translating that.
Okay. Thank you. A final question from me, then. The £500,000 funding for Welsh-medium educational resource that's in the budget for 2018-19—are you able to share any information with the committee as to how that's going to be spent?
Mae gan CBAC peth gwybodaeth ar y gyllideb yna. Cyllideb Llywodraeth Cymru yw hi, wrth gwrs, ac mae'n nhw'n trafod gyda ni yn flynyddol pa adnoddau rydym ni'n debyg o fod yn gweithio arnyn nhw gyda chyhoeddwyr, ac, felly, lle byddwn ni'n dymuno gwneud hawliad yn erbyn y grant i dalu am y costau golygu a chyfieithu y byddwn ni wedi eu gwario. Mae yna sgyrsiau wedi bod hefyd yn ddiweddar am gefnogaeth bosibl o'r grant honno ar gyfer peth gwaith ymchwil i'r defnydd o adnoddau o wahanol fath, a hefyd, er mai elfen fach iawn fyddai hon, cyfraniad tuag at seminarau ar gyfer cyhoeddwyr. Ond nid yw hynny'n ddarlun llawn o'r £500,000; rwy'n meddwl y byddai'n rhaid gofyn i Lywodraeth Cymru ynglŷn ag union ddefnydd yr holl arian. Ac mae'n bosibl bod peth hyblygrwydd. Rydym ni newydd ddechrau'r flwyddyn ariannol hon; mae'n siŵr bod peth hyblygrwydd yn eu meddyliau nhw o ran defnydd peth o'r adnoddau. A wyt ti eisiau ychwanegu rhywbeth, Mike?
Tthe WJEC has some information in terms of that budget. It is a Welsh Government budget, and they have annual discussions with us as to what resources we are likely to be working on along with publishers, and where we would like to make a claim against that grant to pay for the editorial and translation costs that we will have incurred. Now, there have been conversations recently about possible support from that grant for some research work into the use of various materials and resources, and also, although this would be a very small part, a contribution towards seminars for publishers. But that isn't a full picture of the £500,000; I think you would have to ask the Welsh Government about the exact allocation of that total fund. But there may be some flexibility. We've just started this financial year; I'm sure there is some flexibility in their thinking in terms of the use of some of this resource. Do you want to add anything, Mike?
Yn sicr. Rydym ni wedi cyfrannu rhestr o gyhoeddiadau, er enghraifft, sydd ar y gweill, felly mae'n nhw'n ymwybodol o hynny, a bydd yna ganran o'r arian yna wedyn yn mynd at sicrhau bod rheini yna trwy'r Gymraeg.
Certainly. We have contributed a list of publications, for example, that are ongoing, and they're aware of that, and a percentage of that funding then will go towards ensuring that those are there through the medium of Welsh.
Thank you. Darren Millar.
This is a huge mess, isn't it? It's a huge mess, which is causing lots of pressure and extra work for teachers, lots of pressure and extra work for learners, and is affecting the well-being of students, at a time when they need to be mentally fit, in order to go through the general stress that learners face when they have exams coming up. We know that the problems are not confined to Welsh-medium resources; they're also being experienced in English language resources as well, particularly in terms of the availability of textbooks. You've both mentioned—both of your organisations have mentioned that there needs to be some sort of common core of resources available for learners and teachers, and I would agree with you on that front. But isn't a textbook a pretty basic element of anybody's toolkit for supporting a child getting through the information that they need to learn, and swot up on, in advance of exams?
Rwy'n meddwl mai'r dystiolaeth yw bod gwahanol bobl ifanc, gwahanol ddysgwyr, yn gweld eu hanghenion yn wahanol. Ac rwy'n cytuno bod gwerslyfr yn rhan o'r darlun a ddylai fod ar gael. Ond rwy'n credu bod y dystiolaeth hefyd yn dangos na fydd pob person ifanc yn eu defnyddio nhw; weithiau, yr athro sy'n eu defnyddio nhw. Roedd pwyslais, er enghraifft, gan un bachgen yn fanna, onid oedd, ar y model traddodiadol o adolygu, sef nodiadau dosbarth a'i nodiadau adolygu ei hun, ond ei fod e'n bersonol hefyd yn dymuno gweld gwerslyfr. Felly, yn sicr mae'r cynnwys sydd mewn gwerslyfr yn mynd i fod yn bwysig—bod hynny ar gael mewn rhyw fodd neu ei gilydd. Roedd hi'n ddiddorol iawn gwybod, er enghraifft, pan oedd e'n disgrifio'r model traddodiadol o adolygu, ei fod e'n teimlo ei fod e wedi cael llawer iawn o gynnwys y gwerslyfr trwy'r nodiadau dosbarth. Mae llawer iawn, wrth gwrs, o'n cynnwys digidol ni yn cyfateb i'r meysydd cynnwys o fewn gwerslyfr, dim ond ei fod mewn ffurf wahanol. Ond ie, yn gyffredinol, fe ddylai fod yna werslyfr. Ac wedyn peth o'n rhwystredigaeth ninnau hefyd yw nad yw amserlenni a rhwystrau unigol rhai cyhoeddwyr ac ati ddim wastad yn ein cael ni i'r pwynt bod yna werslyfr ar gael mewn pryd. Yn anaml mae hynny wedi digwydd yn y Saesneg, ond wrth gwrs rydym ni yn gwybod am y bwlch amser gyda'r Gymraeg.
I think that the evidence is that different learners see their requirements differently. And I agree that a textbook is part of the picture that should be available. But I think the evidence also shows that not every young person will use them; perhaps the teacher uses them. There is an emphasis, for example, from one pupil there, on that traditional model of revision, namely class notes and his own revision notes, but that he personally also wanted a textbook. So, certainly, the content of a textbook is going to be important, and that that's available in some form or other. It was very interesting to know, for example, that when he was describing the traditional model of revision, he felt that he'd had quite a lot of the content of the textbook through the classroom notes. Much of that digital content, of course, corresponds to the content areas of a textbook, but it's just in a different form. But, in general, there should be a textbook. And some of our frustration as well is that the timetables of some individual publishers don't always get us to the point where there is a textbook available in time. That doesn't happen so often in English medium, but we know about that gap in time in the Welsh provision.
Well, it's happened fairly regularly in the English-medium textbook world, hasn't it? My daughter—she featured in that video—has got her RS qualifications coming up, and she only had a textbook over the Easter period. I mean, it's completely unacceptable. And many others in that video are also being affected. You mentioned digital resources; not everybody's got access to digital resources in their own homes, even, in Wales. So, aren't we giving a significant disadvantage to those learners who might need the traditional 'swotting up from a textbook' method of revision and benefit from that?
Rŷm ni'n sicrhau bod yr adnoddau hynny sy'n ddigidol yn rhai sydd yn cynnwys pethau sydd hefyd yn bosib i athrawon eu hargraffu yn ogystal. Adnoddau i athrawon yw'r rhan fwyaf o'r rhain, er mwyn i'r athrawon wedyn eu haddasu yn eu ffyrdd eu hunain er mwyn siwtio'r dysgwyr sydd o'u blaen nhw ar y pryd. Ond, yn sicr, mae yna ddeunyddiau yna. Os oes rhyw weithgaredd, mae yna weithgaredd yna hefyd sydd yn bosib ei argraffu a rhoi i'r disgybl i fynd adref gyda nhw. Felly, buaswn i'n amheus o'r sylw hwnnw o ran hynny. Rŷm ni yn meddwl am y cyfan yn y pen draw.
We do ensure that those digital resources include things that the teachers can also print. Most of these are resources for teachers so that the teachers can adapt them for their own use, to suit the learners who are in front of them at any given time. But certainly there are materials there. If there are activities, then those activities can be printed off and handed to pupils so that they can take them home. So, I would be sceptical about that comment. We are thinking of the totality, ultimately.
Rwy'n meddwl eich bod chi'n gywir; mae argaeledd technoleg yn rhan bwysig o'r darlun mawr yma, onid ydy? Roedd pobl ifanc yn sôn am wefannau a blogiau, ac rŷm ni'n sôn am adnoddau digidol, felly mae gallu cyrraedd yr adnoddau hynny, rwy'n credu, yn hanfodol yng Nghymru. Mae'n ddiddorol gweld dau sylw gwrthgyferbyniol gan ddwy gymdeithas athrawon yn eu llythyron. Mae un yn canmol yr hyn sydd ar gael yn ddigidol, tra bod cymdeithas athrawon arall yn ei weld fel rhagor o waith i athrawon. Fel mae Mike yn ei ddweud, rydym wedi eu creu nhw fel adnoddau y gellir eu haddasu. Mae un gymdeithas athrawon yn dweud, 'Wel, mae hwnna jest yn ychwanegu rhagor o waith', tra bod y gymdeithas athrawon arall yn gweld y cyfrwng digidol fel rhywbeth gwirioneddol werthfawr. Wrth gwrs, roedd y prifathro ar y diwedd yn canmol y ffaith, mewn sefyllfa o argyfwng neu amserlen annerbyniol, ein bod ni wedi llwyddo i wneud peth deunydd a fydd ar gael yn nes ymlaen mewn gwerslyfr, ond ar gael yn ddigidol yn gynnar. Ond rwy'n cytuno gyda'ch sylw creiddiol chi; mae'r dechnoleg yn hanfodol, ac argaeledd y dechnoleg, a hefyd mae cynnwys gwerslyfr mewn rhyw ffurf yn hanfodol hefyd.
I think you're right that the availability of technology is an important part of this big picture. The young people talk about websites and blogs, and we're talking about digital resources, so being able to reach those resources, I think, is vital in Wales. It's interesting to note two contradictory remarks from the teaching associations in the letters. One praises what's available digitally, whereas another teaching organisation sees this as more work for teachers. As Mike said, we've created those resources that can be adapted. One teaching organisation says that it just creates more work, while another organisation says that the digital resource is something that's very valuable. Of course, the headteacher at the end was praising the fact that, in a situation of crisis or unacceptable timetables, we have succeeded in creating some resources that will be in the textbook later, but available digitally at an early stage. But I agree with your core comment that technology is vital, and access to that, and also the content of a textbook in some form is vital as well.
Mr Blaker, you would agree that a textbook should be an essential core piece of the resource pack available for each qualification.
I think we wouldn't want to underplay the desirability of textbooks, recognising that different learners have different learning styles and may look to different resources. I think what I'd like to raise is a wider concern about textbooks in their current model, which is very much around the fact that every time there's a change in a specification, there's a new textbook, which is designed around that specification and is endorsed by an awarding body, which is a nice model for a publisher, because every time there's a change, there's an opportunity for a new textbook.
There are two concerns that I'd like to raise on that. First, the focus on teaching and learning. Ofsted and also Estyn have raised concerns about the focus in teaching on teaching to the test as a common concern in both nations. I have a concern that having a textbook that is endorsed by the awarding body and is designed specifically around that specification may lead to some of that tendency. And also, there's the sustainability of the model. We know that we're about to go into another round of reforms associated with the curriculum change. That's going to lead to another round of textbooks that may need to be focused on qualifications. I think I'd much rather see that textbooks are seen as a curriculum resource that are broader than, perhaps, the model of endorsement and the current model of publication suggest.
So, you don't think that a textbook for each subject should be a core resource for pupils who are learning in advance of examinations.
I'd just like to pick you up on that. I think a textbook for each subject is absolutely an essential part of the broad range of resources that you'd want to see available for people to choose what they prefer, but on a subject, perhaps, rather than a specific specification, because I think there's a tendency to conflate the two, and much of the underlying content that is assessed in one specification, or a new updated specification, will remain unchanged. It is true that there may be a different focus or emphasis, or a different style of questioning, but that can be picked up more nimbly through supplementary digital resources, for example, which can highlight that change, particularly to a teacher, so that they can shape their lesson planning around that. What we are looking at here are reformed GCSEs and reformed A-levels in subjects that are well-established, traditional subjects, and so whilst it is not necessarily the ideal, I think it's important to remember that there is already a good deal of pre-existing resources, including textbooks, out there in schools already. We're not for a moment saying that that is the situation that we would want everybody to be in. I think it might be preferable if the textbook was perfectly bespoke to the course and didn't contain any extraneous material, but that perhaps is an ideal picture and I think we do need to remember that there are already many resources out there that are available to teachers and to students.
But of course, unlike their peers in perhaps other parts of the UK, we have teachers who are having to go meticulously through some of these other resources that might be available to determine whether they're appropriate for use in the classroom, given that the specification is different in terms of the new qualifications. Can I just ask you about the disadvantage that some learners might face as a result of the lack of textbooks? Mr Blaker, I note that you sought to reassure the committee in some of your opening remarks about the fact that equivalent outcomes are what you aim to achieve in discussion with the WJEC in terms of the outcome of assessments, and I think that that's a very positive thing. But, how do you differentiate between the different learning styles of individual students who are in that cohort to ensure that the disadvantage that one faces because they're somebody who relies particularly heavily on textbook-type learning, traditional sort of swotting up for examinations, versus someone who is much more digitally aware and able to use digital resources—? How do you make sure that it's fair to the cohort as a whole, while still enabling some of these individuals for whom textbooks are important not to face disadvantage within that cohort?
The systems that are in place are very much around making sure that awarding is fair across the whole cohort. It's very difficult—in fact, it would be impossible—to unpick all of the different factors that might affect performance, because you could well have a textbook that's been available for some time, it may be somebody's preferred leaning style to use a textbook, but did they use that textbook effectively? You know, did they open it in revision or did they not open it in revision? So, there are so many different factors that can affect individual performance. I think it's impossible to unpick a particular aspect like the availability of resources. Motivation would be one thing, an individual learner's motivation in the subject. The biggest input would be the quality of teaching. I think evidence has been provided to you by the regional consortia, which we saw yesterday. They particularly wanted to stress this point I think; that the quality of teaching is probably the most dominant and the most important factor in relation to a learner's ultimate performance in the examination.
I understand that, but you also understand that someone who doesn't have the resources that they feel are best suited to them face some element of a greater disadvantage than others for whom, perhaps, textbooks are less important.
Rwy'n meddwl efallai hefyd, yn y maes yma, ei bod hi'n bwysig crybwyll llythrennedd digidol fan hyn. Hynny yw, dylai fod pob person ifanc yng Nghymru, gobeithio, sy'n dilyn cwrs TGAU neu safon uwch—fod ganddyn nhw'r llythrennedd ddigidol i allu cyrchu tuag at adnoddau gwerthfawr sydd ar gael, a bod y sgiliau ganddyn nhw. Mae'r dewis ganddyn nhw wedyn. A ydyn nhw'n mynd i lawr y llwybr digidol neu a ydyn nhw'n gwneud beth roedd Mike yn ei awgrymu—mae lot o'r pethau digidol yn gallu cael eu hargraffu—neu a ydyn nhw'n troi at werslyfrau, gan obeithio y byddai'r rheini ar gael? Mae hynny wedyn yn caniatáu i arddull bersonol ar gyfer dysgu gael ei adlewyrchu. Rwy'n credu ei fod yn bwysig i athrawon hefyd gadarnhau bod eu ffordd nhw o addysgu yn cefnogi dulliau dysgu gwahanol sydd gan eu disgyblion nhw. Nid pob disgybl mewn dosbarth fydd eisiau dysgu nac adolygu yn gwmws yn yr un ffordd. Felly, mae'r hyblygrwydd yna ar gyfer yr unigolyn sy'n ddisgybl yn bwysig, rwy'n credu.
I think also, perhaps, related to that, it is important to mention digital literacy here. Every young person in Wales, I would hope, taking GCSE or A-level, should have that digital literacy in order to source the valuable materials available—that they should have those skills. Then, they have the choice whether they go down the digital route, or do they do as Mike suggested—much of the digital material can be printed—or do they then turn to textbooks, in the hope that those would be available? That would then allow for a pupil's personal learning choice to be reflected. It's also important for teachers to confirm that their ways of teaching do support these alternative approaches taken by pupils. Not every pupil will choose to learn or revise in exactly the same way. So, the flexibility for the pupil is very important, I think.
I understand that, but I've got people in my constituency who haven't even got a broadband link at home, so there's a digital disadvantage as well.
Can I just ask you about the reason why this has taking so long to sort out? It was back in 2015 that concerns were first raised about the availability of textbooks in both English and Welsh for the new qualifications. We're three years on, what on earth has been happening in the interim and why is it taking so long? If you've got these resources digitally, why can't they just be compounded into textbooks pretty straightforwardly?
Rydw i'n meddwl mai'r prif reswm yn y fan yna yw bod yna dair cyfres o ddiwygio cymwysterau wedi digwydd. Roedd yna rai ar gyfer eu dysgu yn 2015, pynciau eraill ar gyfer 2016, a phynciau eraill ar gyfer 2017. Mae'r tri chylch yna o ddiwygio i gyd wedi dioddef o'r amserlen fer oedd rhwng cymeradwyo cymhwyster a chyhoeddwr yn gallu dechrau ar y gwaith. Efallai cymhariaeth ddiddorol fyddai pwnc a oedd yn cael ei ddysgu am y tro cyntaf yn 2015—lle mae'r pwnc yna wedi cyrraedd erbyn hyn o ran adnoddau. Buaswn i'n gobeithio bod pob un o'r pynciau yna â mwy o adnoddau ar gael erbyn hyn, ac felly rydym ni'n ychwanegu pob blwyddyn—ddim yn ychwanegu gwerslyfrau ond ychwanegu adnoddau digidol. Mae yna fwy o gyn-bapurau ar gael, wrth gwrs. Rydym ni'n gweithio ar ddeunydd enghreifftiol y mae athrawon yn gofyn i ni eu creu. Felly, rydw i'n meddwl bod pob pwnc yn symud yn ei flaen dros gyfnod o efallai pump neu chwe blynedd tra mae'r fanyleb yna'n cael ei hastudio. Ond mae'r un un trafferthion, yn anffodus, wedi effeithio ar bynciau 2015 a phynciau 2017, ac felly dyna pam ein bod ni'n trafod yr un peth yn 2018.
I think the main reason for that is that there are three series of reforms of qualifications that have happened. There were some in 2015, other subjects in 2016, and other subjects in 2017. Those three cycles of reform have all suffered from the short timetable that was between approving a qualification and publishers being able to start the work. Perhaps an interesting comparison would be a subject being taught for the first time in 2015—where that subject has reached now in terms of resources. I would hope that each one of those subjects have more available now in terms of resources, and therefore we are adding each year—not textbooks but digital resources. There are more past papers available, of course. We are working on sample work at the request of teachers. So, every subject is moving on over a period of time of five to six years while that specification is being studied. But those same difficulties have, unfortunately, affected 2015 subjects and 2017 subjects, and that's why we're discussing the same thing in 2018.
So, it's the scale of the challenge and the volume of the work?
I think Gareth, in the evidence that he has provided to the committee previously, has said about the timeline, the schedule, for reforms. Now, that's a schedule that we inherited and was largely dominated by the schedule for reforms in England. Now that we've reached a point of divergence in GCSEs and A-levels, between England and Wales, it gives us much more agency in the future to establish a timeline that doesn't place the pressures on the system. So, Gareth has quite rightly pointed out that there are three waves of reforms, but the pressures that build up in the first wave are consequential onto the next wave and the wave after that. So, the whole system has been pressured both from a regulatory perspective of the approval process, the awarding body preparing its submissions to use, and then system readiness thereafter.
That timeline was obviously set by the Welsh Government. I assume that advice was given by WJEC and Qualifications Wales and your predecessor organisation to the Welsh Government at that time protesting about the timescale that you were being expected to abide by.
Oedd, ac yn yr un modd yn Lloegr, byddai'r cyrff arholi sy'n gweithio yn Lloegr wedi rhoi'r un cyngor yn gwmws i'r Llywodraeth yn fan honno. Ac, wrth gwrs, mi oedd rhaglen Llywodraeth Cymru ynghlwm â'r rhaglen ddiwygio yn Lloegr, yn arbennig ar gyfer y pynciau Safon Uwch, lle'r oedd yna ddylanwad cryf gan y prifysgolion ar draws Prydain o ran beth roedden nhw eisiau ei weld yn wahanol yn y Safon Uwch. Felly, mae Cymru a Lloegr wedi rhedeg ar amserlen fer iawn, iawn, yn gyffredin i'r ddwy wlad, a buaswn i'n dweud bob pob corff arholi a phob cyhoeddwr wedi gweld hyn yn heriol iawn yng Nghymru ac yn Lloegr. Ond ein cyngor ni yw bod wir eisiau rhwng 18 mis a dwy flynedd rhwng cwblhau manyleb sydd wedi ei chymeradwyo, wedyn gallu gweithio gydag athrawon ar beth fydd eu hanghenion nhw, o feddwl sut beth fydd y rhaglen ddysgu, ac wedyn, ar yr un pryd, i ddechrau gweithio gyda chyhoeddwyr a chael adnoddau ar gael—yn ddelfrydol, gyda blwyddyn o baratoi wedyn i'r athrawon cyn dechrau dysgu. Felly, wrth iddyn nhw wybod pa adnoddau fydd ar gael, fe fyddwn ni'n gallu trafod defnydd yr adnoddau yn ein rhaglenni datblygiad proffesiynol ni, ac wedyn mae'r llinell amser yn hwylus i bawb.
Yes, and similarly in England, the examination boards working in England would have provided the same advice to the Government there. And, of course, the Welsh Government programme was associated with the reform programme in England, in particularly for those A-level subjects, where there was a strong influence from the universities across the UK in terms of what they wanted to see differently in the A-level subjects. So, England and Wales have run on a very short timetable common to both countries, and I would say that every exam board and every publisher has seen this very challenging in Wales and England. But our advice is that there is a real need for between 18 months and two years from completing a specification that has been approved, then being able to work with teachers on what their needs and requirements will be, thinking about what the teaching programme will be, and then starting to work with publishers and get resources available—ideally, with a year of preparation then for the teacher before they start teaching. So, as they will know what resources will be available, we'll be able to discuss the use of those resources in our professional development programmes, and then that timeline is convenient for everybody.
Okay. Darren, I've got to bring Llyr in now.
Mae Estyn, NAHT, UCAC, NASUWT, CBAC a Cymwysterau Cymru wedi pwyntio at y modd y mae'r Llywodraeth wedi rheoli'r diwygiadau sydd wedi bod yn digwydd dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf fel un o'r achosion sydd wedi arwain at rai o'r trafferthion yma. Roeddech chi'n sôn am y ffaith eu bod nhw'n dod ton ar ôl ton ar ôl ton. Wel, beth am y tswnami o ddiwygio cwricwlwm sydd o'n blaenau ni? Hynny yw, pa mor hyderus allwn ni fod na fydd y sefyllfa'n gwaethygu wrth i'r cwricwlwm newydd gael ei gyflwyno—yn hytrach na gwella?
Estyn, NAHT, UCAC, NASUWT, WJEC and Qualifications Wales have pointed to the way in which the Government has managed the reforms that have been happening over the past few years as one of the things that has led to some of these difficulties. You mentioned the fact that they come wave upon wave. Well, what about the tsunami of curriculum reform that we're currently facing? That is, how confident can we be that the situation won't deteriorate as the new curriculum is introduced—rather than improve?
Mae hwnnw'n gwestiwn allweddol iawn, onid yw? Rydym ni wedi dechrau trafod hyn, yn benodol mewn fforwm sy'n cynnwys cyhoeddwyr yng Nghymru, gyda Llywodraeth Cymru rownd y bwrdd, a chyda Cymwysterau Cymru rownd y bwrdd hefyd. Rydw i'n meddwl mai un o'r cwestiynau diddorol a phwysig iawn yw: beth fydd natur y wybodaeth a fydd ar gael yn Ebrill 2019 ynglŷn â'r cwricwlwm newydd? Ar ba lefel o fanylder fydd e? I ba raddau y bydd e'n cael ei addasu eto ar ôl Ebrill 2019? A ydy e'n ddigon manwl, mewn ffordd, i athrawon ddechrau trafod rhaglenni dysgu tebygol, a'n bod ni wedyn yn dal i gael rhyw fath o rôl gyda chyhoeddwyr, er mai ar gyfer y cwricwlwm mae hyn ac nid ar gyfer cymhwysterau? Mae gan CBAC draddodiad o ymwneud â chyhoeddi adnoddau ar draws y cyfnodau allweddol eraill hefyd.
Rydw i'n meddwl bod eisiau trafod goblygiadau'r amserlen fel mae'n dechrau ymddangos, oherwydd mae eisiau dechrau dysgu y cwricwlwm newydd ym Medi 2022. Os ydym ni'n sôn am flwyddyn baratoi, mae hynny'n dod â ni nôl i Fedi 2021. Os ydym ni'n sôn am weithio ar adnoddau a fydd ar gael ar gyfer y flwyddyn baratoi, rydym ni'n sôn am Fedi 2020. Wel, mae'r amserlen eisoes yn ymddangos yn fyr, yn enwedig os mai rhywbeth cymharol amhendant fydd y datganiad cwricwlwm yn 2019, a bod yna lawer o waith i'w wneud i droi hwnnw i mewn i raglenni dysgu. Felly, rydw i'n credu ei fod e'n gwestiwn allweddol, a gallaf i ddim bod yn hyderus ar hyn o bryd fod hyn yn mynd i weithio.
That is a very key question, isn't it? We have started to discuss this, specifically in particular in a forum that includes publishers in Wales, with the Welsh Government around the table and Qualifications Wales around the table. I think one of the very interesting questions and important questions is: what will the nature of the information available in April 2019 be in terms of the new curriculum? At what level of detail will it be? To what extent will it be adapted again after April 2019? Is it detailed enough, really, for teachers to start discussing their programmes of teaching, and that we then still have a role with publishers, even though this is for this curriculum and not for qualifications? WJEC has a tradition of publishing resources over the key stages and other key stages as well.
I think there is a need to discuss the implications of the timetable as it starts to appear, because there is a need to start teaching the new curriculum in September 2022. If we're talking about a year of preparation, that brings us back to September 2021. If we're talking about working on resources available for that preparation year, we're talking about September 2020. So, the timetable does appear already tight, particularly if there's something that's not quite certain about that curriculum statement in 2019, and that there is a lot of work to turn that into teaching programmes. So, I think it is a key question, and I can't be confident at the moment that this is going to work.
Did you want to come in, Philip?
I think one of the big differences is it's a tsunami we can see coming. So, young people will be assessed for the first time, assuming linear exams, in the summer 2027, which is some way away, and, actually, given the reform process historically, this is probably the most foresight we've seen of a big change like this. There is a big dependency on the curriculum and the curriculum being described in such a way that we can relate qualifications to that curriculum, because qualifications should relate to the curriculum rather than drive the curriculum, so we do need to see something coming out of that.
I think, for us, once we've seen the curriculum, and we've got better sight of it, we'll be able to plan things out. We've already started engagement with awarding bodies over the possible supply chain for these new qualifications, and, ultimately, there'll be a go/no-go decision that would need to be made, probably in 2023, which would be that if the conditions don't appear right for safe implementation, then we would make a recommendation to Welsh Government that these reforms are delayed in terms of the qualification, not in terms of the curriculum, for a year to allow the system to be able to catch up. So, we're starting to plan out not only the whole of the process, but also thinking about where we might have to make key decisions.
Ac un sylw byr iawn, iawn yn y cyd-destun yna hefyd: rydw i'n meddwl bod sylw'r consortia ar y cyd yn bwysig yn fan yna. Maen nhw'n pwysleisio, yng nghyd-destun y cwricwlwm newydd, hunanryddid neu awtonomi'r athrawon o ran dehongli a darparu, felly rydw i'n meddwl bod wir eisiau trafod y cwestiwn yna. A ydy hynny'n awgrymu na fydd yna gymaint o angen am adnoddau cenedlaethol, neu a oes eisiau adnoddau cenedlaethol i gefnogi hunanryddid ac awtonomi ta beth? Mae eisiau trafod hynny yn fuan ac yn fanwl, rydw i'n credu.
Just one very brief comment in that context: I think that the comment of the consortia jointly is important there. They emphasise, in the context of the curriculum, the importance of the autonomy of teachers in interpreting and providing, therefore I think we truly need to discuss that. Does that suggest that there won't be so much need for national resources, or are those resources required to support that autonomy in any case? We need to discuss that at an early stage and in detail, I think.
Oes, yn sicr, ac mae rhywun yn poeni bod y drafodaeth yna ddim yn digwydd eisoes, ond, ie, ocê, mae'r pwynt yn cael ei wneud yn glir.
I ddod yn ôl, felly, at yr issue masnachol yma—yn amlwg, mae yna ddiffyg yng Nghymru o ddarparwyr, ac wedyn rŷm ni yn ddibynnol ar eraill. Fe wnaethoch chi awgrymu efallai y byddai CBAC â diddordeb i gamu lan i ryw fath o rôl felly petai'r rheoliadau yn cael eu newid. Rydw i'n tybio y byddai hynny'n rhywbeth y byddech chi'n awyddus i'w weld yn digwydd o ran newid y rheoliadau yn y cyd-destun yna.
Yes, certainly, and one is concerned that that conversation isn't already happening, but, yes, okay, you've made that point clearly.
If I could return, therefore, to the commercial issue—clearly, there is a shortage of providers in Wales, and we are reliant on others. You suggested that the WJEC may be interested in stepping up and taking some sort of role if regulations were changed. I assume that that would be something that you would be eager to see happening in terms of the change to regulation in that context.
Byddem, ac rŷm ni wedi bod yn rhan o sbarduno'r drafodaeth ymhlith gweisg yng Nghymru. Mae yna yn sicr ddiddordeb. Rydw i'n meddwl fy mod i wedi camddisgrifio pwrpas seminar meithrin diddordeb: mae'r diddordeb yna, ond mae yna angen dealltwriaeth o beth ydy goblygiadau gweithio i'r math hwn o amserlen, beth ydy goblygiadau gweithio mewn dwy iaith, pa fodel busnes, efallai, a fyddai'n addas i'r gweisg yng Nghymru, faint o sicrwydd mae'n bosib rhoi iddyn nhw fod yna gyfnod o waith, achos bydden nhw eisiau adeiladu'r timoedd, a datblygu sgiliau o fewn y timoedd hynny, a chael digon o sicrwydd bod hyn yn werth ei wneud. Ac felly, dyna'r math o bethau rydym ni'n sbarduno trafodaeth yn eu cylch nhw, gan obeithio cael sgwrs ym mis Mehefin i symud hynny ymlaen. Wrth gwrs, mae Llywodraeth Cymru, Cymwysterau Cymru a rhanddeiliaid eraill yn rhan o'r drafodaeth hefyd, nid dim ond CBAC, ond rŷm ni wedi bod yn rhan o sbarduno'r drafodaeth.
Yes, and we've been part of starting that discussion amongst publishers in Wales. Certainly, there is interest. I think that I haven't described correctly the purpose of a seminar to encourage interest: the interest is there, but there needs to be an understanding of what the implications are of working towards that kind of timetable, what the implications are of working in two languages, what kind of business model, perhaps, would be suitable for the publishers in Wales, how much certainty could be given to them that there is a period of work, because they would want to build their teams, and develop skills within those teams, and to have enough certainty that this is worth doing. And therefore, those are the sort of issues that we're starting a discussion on, in the hope of having a discussion in June to move that forward. Of course, Welsh Government, Qualifications Wales and other stakeholders are part of this discussion, not only WJEC, but we've been part of initiating that discussion.
A ydy'r drafodaeth yna'n datblygu ar y cyflymdra y byddech chi'n dymuno iddi wneud?
Is this developing at the pace that you would like to see it developing?
Ydy, rydw i'n credu, ac mae yna frwdfrydedd. Er enghraifft, mae nifer o'r cyhoeddwyr yng Nghymru o fewn cymdeithas sy'n galw eu hunain yn Cwlwm Cyhoeddwyr Cymru. Myrddin ap Dafydd yw cadeirydd Cwlwm ar hyn o bryd, felly mae yna frwdfrydedd a gweledigaeth, yn bendant. Felly, mae yna gyfle gwych, rydw i'n meddwl, i Gymru i ddehongli’r posibiliadau yma yn glou a gobeithio gweithredu arnyn nhw.
Yes, I think, and there is some enthusiasm. For example, a number of publishers in Wales are within an association describing itself as Cwlwm Cyhoeddwyr Cymru. Myrddin ap Dafydd is chair of Cwlwm at the moment, and there is enthusiasm and vision, certainly. So, there's a wonderful opportunity, I think, for Wales to interpret these possibilities swiftly and then hopefully take action on them.
Ac rŷm ni'n sôn yn fan hyn nid jest am gyfieithu ond am ddatblygu adnoddau, ac mae’r pwynt, rydw i'n meddwl, yn un pwysig o gwmpas peth o’r dystiolaeth rŷm ni wedi’i chael ynglŷn â phwysigrwydd datblygu adnoddau yn naturiol ddwyieithog o’r cychwyn cyntaf, yn hytrach na gorfod cyfieithu rhywbeth. Oherwydd mae yna sylwadau wedi bod fod cyfieithiadau’n glogyrnaidd, yn anodd eu dilyn a ddim—dywedaf i ddim nad ydynt yn ffit i bwrpas, ond yn sicr ddim yn hwyluso dysgu mor rhwydd, efallai, ag y byddai rhywun yn ei ddymuno.
And we're talking here not just about translating but developing resources, and the point, I think, is an important one around some of the evidence that we've received about the importance of developing resources naturally bilingually from the very beginning, rather than having to translate something. Because there have been comments that translations are clunky, difficult to follow and not—I'm not saying that they're not fit for purpose, but certainly don't facilitate teaching, perhaps, as easily as one would wish.
Ie, rwy’n cytuno, ac mae hynny'n dechrau gydag awdur, onid ydy? Mae’n rhaid cael yr awduron—
Yes, I would agee, and that begins with the authors, doesn't it? We must have the authors—
Felly, yr arbenigedd, a’r un capasiti, felly, hefyd, yn y gweisg.
So, the expertise, and the same capacty with the publishers as well.
Ie, ac rydym ni wir eisiau meithrin awduron o fewn Cymru, yn enwedig o sylweddoli bod angen i’r cwricwlwm newydd wneud cyfiawnder â dimensiwn Cymreig o fewn y cwricwlwm mewn cynifer o bynciau. Felly, rydym ni eisiau awduron sy’n gallu cael eu meithrin, ac awduron a fydd yn hapus i weithio gyda’r gweisg. Mae honno’n thema benodol iawn o fewn un o’r syniadau ar gyfer y seminarau gyda’r cyhoeddwyr.
Yes, and we do want to nurture authors within Wales, particularly given that the new curriculum has to do justice to a Welsh dimension within the curriculum in so many different subjects. So, we need authors who can be developed, and authors who would be willing to work with the publishers. That's a very specific theme within one of the ideas of the seminars with publishers.
A fyddai’r farchnad honno’n hyfyw heb unrhyw fath o sybsidi—a’i bod hi’n datblygu’n ddwyieithog? Neu a oes rhaid inni dderbyn bod yn rhaid cael elfen o sybsidi cyhoeddus?
Would that market be viable without any sort of subsidy, if it were to develop bilingually? Or do we have to accept that they have to have an element of public subsidy?
Ein barn ni yn CBAC yw y bydd angen sybsidi. Ond mae’n bosib ailfeddwl y model ar gyfer y sybsidi, efallai. Ar hyn o bryd, mae’r sybsidi’n cael ei ddisgrifio fel sybsidi ar gyfer y fersiwn cyfrwng Cymraeg. Beth am ailfeddwl hynny a meddwl am sybsidi ar gyfer cynhyrchu adnoddau mewn dwy iaith ar gyfer cwricwlwm Cymru? Ac efallai bod eisiau ychydig bach mwy o gyllid. Ond fe fydd yna gyrff fel CBAC yn dal â diddordeb mewn cyfrannu, oherwydd rydym ni yn elusen, ac o fewn ein cenhadaeth ni—mae buddsoddi mewn gwahanol bethau sy’n cefnogi addysg yng Nghymru yn rhan o’n cenhadaeth ni.
Our view in the WJEC is that subsidy will be necessary. But we could rethink the model for the subsidy, perhaps. At the moment, the subsidy is described as a subsidy for the Welsh-medium version. Why not rethink that and think of a subsidy for producing resources in two languages for the Welsh curriculum? And perhaps we would need a little more funding for that. But there will be organisations such as the WJEC who will still be interested in contributing, because we are a charity, and within our mission is investment in various things that supports education in Wales.
Ond o safbwynt lle rŷm ni nawr, mae adnoddau’n gorfod cael eu cyfieithu. Rydw i'n stryglo weithiau i ddeall pam ei bod hi’n cymryd cymaint o amser i gyfieithu adnodd. Byddwn i’n licio gwybod yn well, efallai, beth yw’r prif rwystrau yn hynny o beth. Ond hefyd, pa mor hir sy’n dderbyniol i aros am gyfieithiad, yn eich barn chi?
But in terms of where we are now, resources have to be translated. I struggle at times to understand why it takes so much time to translate a resource. I would like to know better, perhaps, what the main barriers are in that sense. But also, how long is acceptable to wait for a translation, in your view?
Rydym ni wedi gwneud lot o waith yn ddiweddar, dros y blynyddoedd yma nawr, i sicrhau bod yr oedi yna rhwng cael y Saesneg a derbyn yr un Gymraeg wedi dod lawr tipyn. Rydym ni wir yn ymwybodol o’r ffaith mai'r senario gorau fyddai bod y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg yn bodoli ar yr un pryd. O ran hynny, rydym ni wedi cymryd camau enfawr ymlaen gyda’r cyhoeddwyr rydym ni wedi’u henwi y bore yma, fel ein bod ni wedi trafod efallai cyfieithu wrth i'r llyfrau gael eu cynhyrchu. Mae yna risg yn hynny, wrth gwrs. Natur llyfrau yw bod y person sy’n awdur yn newid meddwl, neu’n addasu wrth iddyn nhw fynd ymlaen. Wel, gyda'r model hwnnw, byddai'n rhaid sicrhau, fesul pennod efallai, ein bod ni’n cymeradwyo wrth inni symud ymlaen, fel nad oedd yna newid o hynny ymlaen.
Ar ddiwedd y broses, wedyn, mae’r cyhoeddwyr yn Lloegr wedi cytuno i ddal y Saesneg yn ôl am gyfnod nes bod y fersiwn Gymraeg yn barod, ac wedyn cyhoeddi’r ddau ar yr un pryd. Oni bai bod yr amserlen yna wedyn yn cael ei dilyn reit drwyddi. Mae yna lot o risgiau yn y broses honno, wrth gwrs, fel rydw i wedi codi’n barod o ran cyfieithu wrth inni symud ymlaen, o ran sicrhau wedyn bod yr amserlen honno’n digwydd.
We've done a great deal of work recently, over recent years, to ensure that that delay between having an English version and a Welsh version is reduced. We are highly aware of the fact that the best-case scenario is that the Welsh and the English are available simultaneously. In those terms, we've taken huge steps forward with the publishers that we've named this morning, so that we have discussed translation as the textbook is being produced. There is a risk there, of course. The nature of books is that the author may change his or her mind, or edit as he or she is writing. Well, with that model, we would have to ensure that we approved as we moved forward, chapter by chapter perhaps, so that there would be no changes to be made from then on.
At the end of the process, then, the publishers in England have agreed to hold the English version back for a period of time until the Welsh version is available, and then to publish both simultaneously. Unless that timetable is followed throughout the process, there are inherent risks in that process, of course, as I've mentioned in terms of translation as we author materials, and in ensuring that that timetable is stuck to.
Ac efallai bod eisiau pwysleisio mai cyfieithu a golygu fel pecyn yw’r broses, ac weithiau mae yna lawn gymaint o amser yn gorfod mynd ar y golygu, sut mae’r Gymraeg yn gweithio o ran diagramau a phethau sydd ddim yn destun o fewn y gyfrol—lluniau ac yn y blaen. Felly, wyth wythnos, rydw i'n credu, yw’r amser rŷm ni wedi llwyddo i’w cytuno gyda’r cyhoeddwyr, ac efallai ein bod ni’n gallu troi rownd y fersiwn Gymraeg o fewn y cyfnod hwnnw.
And perhaps there is a need to emphasise that the process is translation and editing as a package, and that sometimes the same amount of time goes on the editing, how the Welsh works in terms of diagrams and things that aren't text necessarily—pictures and so forth. So, eight weeks, I think, is the time that we've succeeded in agreeing with the publishers so that we can turn around the Welsh version in that period of time.
Okay, thank you. Darren.
I just want to ask about this eight-week delay. So, you’re telling us, Mr Ebbsworth, that the WJEC has agreed with Hodder and Illuminate that, in future, even if an English textbook is available for publication, and it’s already late, you will further delay the availability of that textbook so that it can be published on the same day as the Welsh-medium textbook?
Gallwn ni ddim ond gweithio ar lyfrau sydd yn y broses o gael eu gwneud, yntefe? Yn naturiol, byddai amserlen sydd yn hwyr yn y Saesneg yn sicr yn cael effaith ar y penderfyniad y bydd yn rhaid cael ei wneud yn y pen draw. Ond dyna yw’r gobaith: pan fydd yna lyfrau newydd yn cael eu cynhyrchu yn y Saesneg a’u hawduro yn Saesneg, byddem ni'n yn edrych ar yr wyth wythnos yna.
We can only work on those books that are in the process of being developed. Naturally, if something is late in English, then that timetable would be affected in terms of a decision that will ultimately have to be taken. But that's the hope: that when new textbooks are produced in English and authored in English, we would look at that eight-week period as a turnaround.
I understand the point that you made earlier about the chapter-by-chapter approach, which seems much more equitable. But to suggest that you will delay books that could be available for students and could be available for teachers to be able to access by two months because you haven't got the systems in place to be able to produce them on the same day, seems to be wholly inappropriate.
Can I ask, also, why on earth it isn't possible to produce Welsh-medium textbooks first and then translate them to English on occasions?
Rydym ni'n hollol agored i hynny. Hollol agored i'r fath yna o fodel.
We're entirely open to that and to that sort of model.
So, why has that never ever been done?
Wel, wrth gwrs, bydd e'n digwydd mewn pynciau sydd â'u targed yng Nghymru, ond rydw i'n meddwl mai'r broblem yw ein bod ni’n gweithio gyda chyhoeddwyr ac mae’r cyhoeddwyr hynny a’u hawduron, felly, yn tueddu i fod yn bobl sy’n gweithio trwy’r Saesneg.
Ond, jest i fod yn glir, mae’r syniad yma o oedi cyfrol Saesneg yn rhywbeth y mae Llywodraeth Cymru’n frwd ein bod ni’n arbrofi gydag e, ond nid gyda chyfrolau sy’n hwyr ydy’r bwriad yna. Maen nhw o fewn y rhaglen newydd o werslyfrau sydd yn y grant yr oeddech chi’n sôn amdano o £500,000. Felly, mewn ffordd, arbrawf yw hwn ac mae Llywodraeth Cymru eisiau defnyddio hwn fel un ffordd o ymateb i’r gŵyn fod yna wahanol amseroedd.
Well, of course, it would happen with subjects that stem from Wales, but I think the problem is that we work with publishers and those publishers and their authors, therefore, tend to work through the medium of English.
But, just to be clear, this idea of delaying an English version is something that the Welsh Government is eager for us to experiment with, but not with textbooks that are already late. They are within the new programme of textbooks that are contained within the grant that you mentioned of £500,000. So, in a way, this is an experiment and the Welsh Government wants to look at this as one way of responding to the complaint that there are different timetables available.
So, you're being forced to do this by the Welsh Government, rather than—
Well, we've agreed to do it in discussion with them.
So, are you happy with that approach?
Wel, cyn belled â bod y gwerslyfr ddim yn hwyr i ddechrau, ydyn; mae’n werth rhoi cynnig arni. Mae yna her ynglŷn â’r wyth wythnos, mae yna her ynglŷn â bod y cyhoeddwr yn gallu cadw at yr amserlen o ran y gyfrol Saesneg i ddechrau, ond rŷm ni’n fodlon arbrofi, ac rydw i’n meddwl mai dwy gyfrol rŷm ni’n sôn am wneud hyn gyda nhw.
Well, as long as the textbook isn't late in the first place, then yes; it's worth trying. There is a challenge on the eight weeks, there is a challenge in the publisher sticking to the timetable in terms of the English version first of all, but we are willing to use this as a test bed, and we're working on two specific textbooks on this.
I think the committee is struggling with this idea, so what do you understand to be the rationale behind that, then? Is it that both sets of pupils should be equally disadvantaged?
Wel, na, mewn ffordd, mae’n defnyddio’r un egwyddor ag sydd gennym ni ar gyfer ein deunyddiau digidol. Gyda’n deunyddiau digidol, y bwriad yw bod pethau ar gael mewn pryd a’u bod nhw ar gael yn y ddwy iaith yr un pryd. Felly, ceisio efelychu hynny ond gyda thestun print, ond nid gyda testunau sydd eisoes yn hwyr. Felly, os ydy’r llyfrau yma’n cadw at eu hamserlenni, yna byddan nhw ar gael mewn pryd yn y ddwy iaith, ond bod y fersiwn Saesneg wedi aros cyn mynd mas ar y silffoedd.
Well, no, in a way, it uses the same principle as we have regarding our use of digital resources. With the digital materials, the intention is that things are available in time and that they're available in both languages at the same time. So, trying to imitate that with printed text is what we're trying to do, but not with texts that are already late. So, if these books keep to the timetable, then they will be available in time in both languages, but that the English version has stayed before going out on the shelves.
Hynny yw, bydd y fersiwn Saesneg wyth wythnos yn gynt yn cael ei chwblhau fel eich bod chi'n cael wyth wythnos i gyfieithu.
So, that's to say that the English version will be completed eight weeks beforehand so that you have eight weeks for translation.
Wel, y peth yw, yn y pen draw, efallai fy mod i wedi defnyddio’r geiriau anghywir o ran dweud ein bod yn dal y Saesneg yn ôl. Mi fydd y Saesneg yn y broses yr un fath â’r Gymraeg, felly byddan nhw’n dal i fyny, wedyn, wrth iddyn nhw ddod at yr elfen o gyhoeddi yn y pen draw, o ran yr argraffu. Mae yna elfen, wrth gwrs, o olygu’r Saesneg yn ogystal â’r Gymraeg a bydd hynny’n digwydd ar yr un pryd. Felly, efallai bod yna ffurf ddrafft a rŷm ni yn sicrhau bod y llyfrau drafft ar gael ar ein gwefan ddiogel cyn gynted â bod hynny’n bosib, ond wrth gwrs mae’n rhaid dal i fyny wedyn yn y pen draw, cyn argraffu.
Well, ultimately, I may have used the wrong words in saying that we're holding the English back. The English version would still be in the process, just as the Welsh version would be, and then they would catch up as they approach the date for publication and printing. There is an element of editing the English as well as the Welsh and that would happen in that eight-week period. So, a draft form might be available, and we do ensure that our draft versions are available on our secure website as soon as possible, but then that has to be held up before publication.
Thank you. John.
Just on that, Chair, it's nonetheless the case, as we've heard, I think, and as the letter to the committee from Kirsty Williams has made clear, that there might be a situation where the English-language version of a textbook could be made available, but it isn't made available because there isn't a Welsh-language version. And, as the Chair said, is that about putting those students in Wales on the same footing, and if so, how does that relate to the fact that these students, including those who could have had earlier access to the English-language version, are competing with students over the border, as we heard on the video earlier, for those precious university places? Doesn't it place the English-language student using the English-language version at a potential disadvantage, compared to students over the border?
Rydw i'n meddwl efallai fod hwn yn bwynt i Gymwysterau Cymru i raddau, ond mae'r ymgeiswyr ar gyfer cymhwyster yng Nghymru yn cael eu hasesu fel carfan genedlaethol, mewn gwirionedd, ac felly, mae pob darn o wybodaeth sydd gyda ni ynglŷn â safonau yn cael ei gloriannu ar gyfer y grŵp cenedlaethol cyfan. Mae tarddiad y safonau yn mynd nôl i'r gyfundrefn tair gwlad. Felly, trwy drafodaeth gyda Chymwysterau Cymru, rydym ni'n sicrhau nad oes yna unrhyw anfantais i unrhyw garfan yng Nghymru mewn unrhyw bwnc, boed hynny oherwydd nad oedd gwerslyfr ar gael neu boed hynny am unrhyw reswm arall.
I think this is a point for Qualifications Wales to a certain extent, but applicants for qualifications in Wales are assessed as a national cohort, if truth be told, so, each piece of information we have on the standards is evaluated for that national cohort. The standards stem from the three-nation system. So, in discussion with Qualifications Wales, we ensure that there is no disadvantage to any cohort in Wales in any subject, be that because of a textbook being unavailable or for any other reason.
Certainly, from a comparable outcomes perspective, the fewer differences that there are that are differential—. So, the idea of textbooks being available in English and Welsh at different times could potentially create another dimension in terms of disparity. So, if we're looking at it strictly speaking from a comparable outcomes perspective, it makes the awarding easier if everybody's on a common playing field.
It's worth remembering—we provided some evidence in our original letter particularly looking at religious studies on the basis that religious studies was a subject that had been mentioned. This subject has already been awarded at AS-level last year, so it has gone through an award and will go through the full A-level award this year. The comparable outcomes approach did protect those learners last year, in the absence of a textbook, and we saw stability in the results that came out of the cohort level.
Similarly, with other subjects that have gone through reforms, we've seen it with the GCSEs that were awarded last year, ASs that were awarded last year and A-levels that were awarded last year: we saw good comparability year on year.
Go on then, Darren. Is that okay, John?
Just a very brief follow-up on that, at the cohort level, yes, you suggest that there is some evidence that students were protected, but what you don't know and can't tell, because you're not able to drill down to the individual student level, is whether children, young people, were disadvantaged as a result of their learning style being more textbook orientated than that of their peers.
I guess we're in a situation where there's no evidence either way that that—
The absence of evidence doesn't mean that it didn't happen.
No, but there is no evidence to suggest that. We have no positive evidence to suggest that.
Well, I think you've seen plenty of evidence about the stress that it's causing, and the concern that learners have about their outcomes. I think it would be very interesting, actually, to take some teacher assessments and expected grades and compare those to the actual grade outcomes. Is that something that Qualifications Wales could do on a sample basis?
Historically, that sort of evidence has been very unreliable. Gareth would probably have a stronger view on that than me. Predicted grades used to be provided. Certainly, back in my day at an awarding body they were provided, and there tended to be a very low correlation between the predicted grade and the actual achieved grade. I don't know if you've got anything on that, Gareth.
No, we agree with you that the comparisons are not that reliable, because there are so many factors. But I think, at the end of the day, what we see is, yes, I agree there is evidence of stress, but I think there's also evidence of young people and their teachers really using the available resources and the available skills in approaching revision and preparation, and tending to do that very well. That's the evidence that we've got, for example, in the AS religious studies last year, that the cohort did extremely well in fact. We can't disagree that there's evidence of stress, but I think we can also point towards resilience and excellent approaches to drawing together the various sources that they've got: classroom notes, revision notes, as they mentioned, and the various other materials that they referred to.
Coming back to the effect of the lack of resources, we heard on the video, as you've just mentioned, Gareth, that pupils were experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, and it affected their well-being in terms of their perception that they might be disadvantaged by the lack of resources, as we discussed. We know exam time is very, very stressful—I'm sure all of us would agree with that—in general, without any additional problems or perceptions of problems.
So, with that sort of background, would you accept then that some students have been negatively affected by the lack of suitable support materials for general qualifications? I know we've discussed this in terms of it being difficult, perhaps, to show cause and effect, but I think most people watching that video would clearly come to the view that some students have been negatively impacted. Would you accept that?
Mae'n rhaid i fi gytuno. Mae yna dystiolaeth o'u pryder nhw, onid oes? Ond fel roedd Philip yn dweud, beth sydd gennym ni ddim yw tystiolaeth bod y pryder yna wedyn yn trosglwyddo i effaith ar eu cyflawniad nhw, oherwydd mae yna gymaint o ffactorau, mae yna gymaint o wahanol fathau o adnoddau maen nhw'n cyfeirio atyn nhw—hyd yn oed y rhai sy'n dymuno gweld gwerslyfr, maen nhw hefyd yn sôn am gymaint o bethau eraill sydd ganddyn nhw. Wrth gwrs, mae'n amlwg hefyd eu bod nhw'n bobl ifanc cydwybodol sydd wedi gweithio'n galed, felly rydw i'n meddwl bod y darlun sydd yna o bobl ifanc sydd yn pryderu, ac fel rydych chi'n dweud, mae arholiadau yn gyfnod pryderus yn gyffredinol, ond maen nhw hefyd yn bobl ifanc sy'n mynd ati i wneud eu gorau glas ac fel arfer yn cael y canlyniadau maen nhw wedi gweithio tuag atyn nhw. Dyna'r dystiolaeth sydd gennym ni: mae'r canlyniadau yn tueddu i'w bodloni nhw.
I'd have to agree. There is evidence of their concern, isn't there? But as Philip said, what we don't have is evidence that that anxiety then has an impact on their attainment, because there are so many factors, there are so many different kinds of resources that they've referred to—even those who want to see textbooks, they're also talking about so many other materials that are available to them. Of course, it's also clear that they are conscientious young people who have worked hard, so you have a picture there of young people who are concerned, yes, and as you've said, examinations are a stressful time in general, but they are also young people who are doing their level best, and usually do get the results that they have worked for. That's the evidence that we have: the results tend to be achieved.
Okay. Coming back again to matters that we've already discussed, but just to put to you in a fairly focused way, would you accept that it isn't fair that some pupils are not having the support material that others are having, depending on whether their particular subject is involved and the language that they're studying through? Would you accept that that is a basic unfairness in the system as it currently exists?
Yn ddelfrydol, dylai fod adnoddau ar gael, hygyrchedd digidol ar gael, llythrennedd digidol ar gael i bob disgybl yn gyfartal. Ond rydw i'n meddwl pe baem ni'n dadansoddi hyn yn fanwl iawn, byddai gwahanol unigolion efallai yn gallu dweud, 'Ocê, mae yna wahanol fathau o annhegwch.' Roedd yna gyfeiriad gynnau at annhegwch digidol. A oes yna annhegwch economaidd? Mae peth o'r dystiolaeth gan yr undebau athrawon yn awgrymu nad yw pob ysgol yn yr un sefyllfa â'i gilydd o ran prynu hyd yn oed yr adnoddau sydd ar gael.
Felly, rydw i'n credu bod eich cwestiwn chi yn mynd at bwynt pwysig iawn: pa fathau o annhegwch a allai fod yn effeithio ar bobl ifanc o ran eu cyflawniad nhw yn y cyfnod ysgol? Yn ddelfrydol, dylai pob un o'r elfennau yna o annhegwch posibl cael eu gwastatáu. Felly, nid ydw i'n credu fy mod i'n gallu mynd ymhellach na chydnabod bod unrhyw annhegwch yn annheg, ond mae yna gymaint o wahanol fathau ohonyn nhw, nid y gwerslyfr ydy'r unig un, ac felly nid ydym ni'n mynd i allu dadansoddi effaith hwnnw ar ei ben ei hun.
Ideally, resources, digital accessibility and digital literacy should be available for every pupil on an equal basis. But I think perhaps if we analysed this in much detail, different individuals would be able to say, 'There are different types of unfairness.' You referred earlier to the digital inequalities. Is there an economic inequality? There is some evidence from the teaching unions that suggests that not every school is in the same situation as each other in terms of buying the resources that are available.
So, I think your question drives at a very important point: what sort of inequality could be having an impact on young people in terms of their achievement during their school time? Ideally, each one of those elements of potential inequality should be levelled. So, I don't think I can go any further than acknowledging that any inequality is unfair, but there are so many different kinds and the textbook is not the only one, and therefore we're not going to be able to analyse the impact of that on its own.
Could I put to you, finally then, what Estyn have said about reported delays in the production and distribution of educational resources such as textbooks, marking criteria and specimen papers, that that delay has impeded the ability of teachers to plan adequately, and that this effect on their ability to plan adequately is very likely to have had an impact on pupils' achievement? Would you accept that?
Mae'n ddiddorol—maen nhw'n cyplysu tri pheth eithaf gwahanol fanna, onid ydyn nhw? Rydym ni wedi trafod y gwerslyfrau yn eithaf helaeth. Pan maen nhw'n cyfeirio at asesiadau enghreifftiol, rydym ni'n gorfod darparu'r rheini o fewn yr amser rheoleiddiol, ac maen nhw'n gorfod cael eu cymeradwyo. Felly, ym mhob pwnc mae yna asesiadau enghreifftiol a chynlluniau marcio, ac mae'r rheini ar gael yn rheoleiddiol, yn statudol mewn ffordd.
Pan maen nhw'n sôn am exemplars, mae yna wahanol ddehongliad ar hynny. Un cais rydym ni'n ei gael yn aml iawn gan ysgolion yw exemplars o waith disgyblion sydd wedi'u hasesu a'u marcio gennym ni. Wrth gwrs, nid yw'r rheini ar gael nes bod y bobl ifanc wedi sefyll yr arholiad am y tro cyntaf. Rydym ni'n gallu gwneud y rheini ar gael yn ddigidol trwy wahanol ddulliau. Ond mewn rhai pynciau mae'r galw hwnnw wedi bod mor gryf rydym ni wedi cydweithio gydag ysgolion i gael gwaith wedi'i gynhyrchu gan ddisgyblion cyn yr arholiad cyntaf a'i farcio gennym ni, gyda sylwadau, a rhoi'r rheini ar gael. Felly, rydym ni yn gallu ymateb i'r galw yna pan fydd hynny'n digwydd.
Buaswn i'n cael hoffi sgwrs gydag Estyn, a dweud y gwir, er mwyn dehongli ar lefel fwy manwl rai o'r pethau maen nhw'n cyfeirio atyn nhw.
It's interesting—they link three quite different things there, don't they? We've discussed the textbooks in some detail. When they refer to sample assessments, we have to provide those within the regulatory time frame, and they have to be approved. So, in every subject there are sample assessments and marking schemes, and they are statutorily available, in a way.
When they talk about exemplars, there are different interpretations of that. One request that we receive often from schools is for exemplars in terms of the work of pupils that has been assessed and marked by us. Of course, they're not available until the young people have taken those exams for the very first time. We can make them available digitally, and through various other methods. But in some subjects the demand has been so strong that we have worked with schools in order to ensure that work is produced by pupils before that first examination, is marked by us, and is then made available. So, we can respond to that demand when it arises.
I would like to have a conversation with Estyn, indeed, to interpret on a more detailed level some of the things that they refer to.
A gaf i gynnig sylw ar y dyfyniad gan Estyn fanna? Maen nhw'n sôn am ostyngiad mewn cyrhaeddiad, ac mae hynny, i ryw raddau, yn dod â ni nôl at y pwynt o ran deilliannau cymaradwy—y dull comparable outcomes rydym ni'n sôn amdano. Mae'r dull hwnnw yn seiliedig ar ymchwil a thystiolaeth sydd yn dweud mewn cyfnod o newid i arholiad neu i gymhwyster, rydym ni'n gwybod bod perfformiad mewn arholiad yn medru disgyn, ac mae hynny oherwydd amryw helaeth o ffactorau. Mae athrawon yn llai cyfarwydd gyda'r fanyleb a gyda gofynion yr arholiad. Mae yna lai o ddeunydd asesu hanesyddol i'w gael; nid oes papurau cynt i'w cael, er enghraifft. Yn sicr, mae gwybod mai chi yw'r cyntaf i gymryd yr arholiad yna efallai yn codi eich pryder chi am yr arholiad yna, ac mae arholiadau yn barod yn achos pryder.
Mae'n anodd iawn, os nad yn amhosibl, gwahaniaethu rhwng y ffactorau hynny, ond beth rydym ni'n gwybod yw, ar y cyfan, eu bod nhw'n dod gyda'i gilydd i effeithio ar berfformiad disgyblion neu ymgeiswyr mewn arholiad, a dyna pam, pan fo hi'n dod i osod ffiniau gradd ac i ddyfarnu cymwysterau am y tro cyntaf, rydym ni'n edrych yn ofalus iawn ar beth mae'r marc yn ei olygu o ran gradd er mwyn trio y gorau gallwn ni, ar lefel y garfan gyfan yn genedlaethol, lleihau gymaint ag sy'n bosibl unrhyw annhegwch i'r garfan honno achos mai nhw yw'r cyntaf i sefyll yr arholiad.
May I offer a comment on that quote from Estyn? They talk about a reduction in attainment and that, to some extent, brings us back to the point in terms of the comparable outcomes method that we're talking about. That method is based on research and evidence that says that in a period of change to an exam or qualification, we know that performance in an exam can fall, and that is due to a number of different factors. Teachers aren't as familiar with the specification and the requirements of the exam. There are fewer past assessment resources available; there aren't any past papers, for example. Certainly, knowing that you're the first to sit that exam perhaps raises your concerns about that examination, and examinations are a matter of concern already.
It's very difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate between those factors, but what we know on the whole is that they come together to have an impact on pupils' performance in an exam, and that's why, when it comes to awarding qualifications for the first time and looking at the grades, we look very carefully at what that the mark means in terms of the grade in order to try as best as we can, on the level of the whole national cohort, to eliminate as much unfairness as possible because they are the first cohort to sit the exam.
A allaf i ychwanegu rhywbeth byr iawn ynglŷn â'r asesiadau enghreifftiol? Yn ddiddorol iawn, pan oedd y TGAU Saesneg, y TGAU Cymraeg a'r TGAU mathemateg a mathemateg rhifedd yn newydd, roedd Llywodraeth Cymru yn frwd iawn ein bod ni'n buddsoddi mewn rhagor o asesiadau enghreifftiol. Roeddem ni'n gorfod gwneud un ar gyfer y rheoleiddiwr ond roedden nhw eisiau ein gweld ni'n cynhyrchu llawer mwy, ac fe wnaethom ni hynny. Ond mae'n ddiddorol iawn—mae yna risgiau, rwy'n meddwl, o gylch hynny hefyd. Os ydym ni'n creu mwy a mwy o asesiadau enghreifftiol, a ydy hynny efallai yn creu mwy o risg o ddysgu tuag at y prawf? A hefyd, wrth gwrs, bob tro rydym ni'n cynhyrchu asesiad enghreifftiol, rydym ni'n defnyddio syniadau asesu da ac maen nhw mas yna i'w defnyddio ar gyfer ymarfer. Felly, mae'n rhaid i ni fod yn ofalus rhwng gwanhau ansawdd y papurau asesu go iawn trwy fod wedi defnyddio gormod o syniadau da yr arholwyr yn y maes enghreifftiol. Felly, mae'n thema ddiddorol, ond buasai'n ddiddorol cael sgwrs bellach gydag Estyn am hynny, rwy'n credu.
Could I just make a brief comment on the sample assessments? Now, interestingly, when the English, Welsh, maths, and maths and numeracy GCSEs were new, the Welsh Government were very eager that we invest in more sample assessment materials. We had to produce one for the regulator, but they wanted to see us produce far more, and we did that. But there are risks inherent in that, too. If we create more and more sample assessments, then does that create more risk of teaching to the test? And every time we produce one of these, of course, we are using robust assessment ideas, and they're out there to be used for test purposes. So, we need to be careful that we don't weaken the real assessment by providing too many of the examiners' good ideas in the sample material. So, it's an interesting theme, but it would be interesting to have a further conversation with Estyn on that.
I just wanted to say, looking towards—. Reforms always throw up issues like this. It's almost an inevitability of any change that there will be impact. I think what we need to do is we need to think about the future reforms, particularly knowing that we've got some on the radar already, and to think about what this paradigm is and how we can isolate some of these factors in the future. So, if we look at resources and if we look particularly at textbooks as being a curriculum resource, rather than a qualification resource, I think we can change the timeline to which some of those materials are produced.
So, going back to when I studied my A-levels in the 1980s, there was this common body of knowledge that was an A-level textbook in biology that wasn't focused around an individual awarding body. When we talked to unions about this on Monday, they said, 'Yes, when we used to teach many years ago, there were curriculum resources like that, and then when a particular topic or a particular area of content dropped out of the qualification, we either did or didn't teach it according to whether it was in the curriculum'. That's a little bit worrying by virtue of the fact there might have been a component of that subject that didn't get taught because it was no longer in the text, despite the fact that it was in the common body of knowledge.
But I think if we can shift this paradigm—and I would really like to a shift in the paradigm for resources particularly, away from the focus on the qualification and into more of a focus on the curriculum—then that provides an opportunity for, I would suggest, a much healthier model in the future. There are various ways of doing that. In the United States, for example, there are some states within the United States that produce a state textbook. Now, that can have issues, particularly if it's politically orientated—so, if politicians are seen to have a strong influence in the content that's taught. But if there is independence in that state model, then I think that can be quite strong model. Equally, if you look at somewhere like Hong Kong, they've actually tried to de-emphasise textbooks. So, Hong Kong, which is a very high-performing jurisdiction, is trying to move away from that model in the future.
Could I just add very, very briefly—
Very briefly, because I want to bring Hefin in.
I know that, in our letter to you, we emphasised that this is not just to do with the body of knowledge. The assessment objectives have shifted in many subjects towards analysis and evaluation. So, therefore, we really do need resources that support that way of working, and I'm sure that lots of the young people we've heard from—what they're really doing in their revision is actually not just studying the content, but thinking about how they respond analytically and evaluatively. In fact, an interesting question for us as an awarding body to debate with the qualifications regulator, maybe, is whether some of the content should actually be able to be taken into the assessment hall. Do young people need to remember all these terms and their precise definitions, sometimes in both languages if they've learnt it in that way? Shouldn't some of the reference material be more and more available in the assessment arena? And then you are really getting towards analysis and interpretation and evaluation.
Thank you. Hefin.
I want to welcome these particular comments, because having come from a higher education background, what I've tried to deliver in my courses are textbook-free modules, where you're relying on academic journal articles and you're piecing together the story yourself, based on the curriculum you develop yourself. So, curriculum-focused resources are very welcome. I fear that students who are nurtured on a textbook diet, when they go to university, they are not expected to repeat what's in the textbook; they're expected to do exactly as Gareth says and analyse and combine information into a discursive argument. So, therefore, I'm interested to know how you've worked with higher education to develop that approach. I also welcome what you've just said too.
Can I ask for brief answers, please?
Yes, well some of the people who provide ideas into our digital resources certainly are either teachers who are very well aware of that progression to HE and therefore what their learners want or, in some cases, they are HE people themselves. We do draw on a body of expertise, and we are more than willing to emphasise the importance of that approach to the support resources we provide.
I think the difficulty and the difference is that, at HE level, the kind of journal articles that are available are probably not consumable at GCSE level. That's part of the problem you have with that approach.
Yes. And I think, interestingly—I know we've pointed towards some of our religious studies resources as examples—I think some of the websites we point to are quite ambitious. They would be described as scholarly, and I think some of the young people on the video made that point, didn't they—that they need to engage with that material to understand some themes? But we need to assist them in doing so. We need to almost make those scholarly items that are worth including in their curriculum accessible and user friendly for them at their point of learning.
It was just one point. We recently published a report on the Welsh baccalaureate and skills challenge certificate, and I think it's relevant to pull in at this point that the independent study that pupils would be expected to do through the skills challenge certificate in doing their project work is really designed to try and draw out some of those skills that would be relevant in higher education. Through the reforms that we are starting to think about for the skills challenge certificate, there's a real opportunity to start honing some of those skills, particularly at the advanced level bacc, to make people really HE-ready so that they're better able to engage with that different style of learning. So, I think there's a huge opportunity that shouldn't be diminished within the advanced Welsh bacc.
Thank you. Last questions from Mark then.
Gareth, can I just put to you—? On the Estyn criticism, I think you've answered one aspect of their criticism that WJEC did not make as many sample assessment materials available as schools would have liked early on in the reform process, and I understand your position there, but they went on and said,
'At times the sample assessment materials were provided with incorrect mark schemes'
'It would be helpful if the WJEC ensure that all necessary resources were made available before the start date of each qualification.'
Do you have a response to those points?
Again, probably, I'd like a conversation with them about any problems with the specimen assessments and their mark schemes, because if they are the statutory regulatory ones they would have gone through Philip's team as well or his Welsh Government predecessors as regulators, depending on which qualifications they were. Obviously, we need to be spot-on with those. Very occasionally, somebody will identify an error, and obviously we then correct them, because these are available digitally online. So, if there is a problem, we want to hear about it and then we can correct it. But, yes, I agree with their fundamental premise, that ideally the whole package of resources should be available before teaching starts, including, as we mentioned earlier, so we can draw on that set of resources in the events we run as WJEC free of charge for teachers leading up to the first teaching. We need that information ourselves as well so we can talk about the use of these valuable resources in an appropriate pedagogical context in that preparatory year. So, the ideal is that everything is there 12 months ahead.
So, what mechanism do you have for picking up on this type of criticisms from Estyn and having that conversation with them? Has that not happened?
We have met with Estyn a couple of times recently, actually—once when they were beginning their review of the key stage 4 qualifications that had been in place for two years and a bit, and also when they were planning a review of some of the A-level work. Because we do have regular meetings with them, we will have an opportunity to explore their comments here I'm sure.
Looking at the structure and the relationship between Qualifications Wales and the WJEC—. I understand in the model in England—you've got Ofqual, the regulator, and you have various competing exam boards, some I think with for-profit motivation. We don't have that in Wales; there is a sole regulator and a single, dominant examination board. Does that mean that there's significant overlap and potentially cost duplication between the work of the two bodies, particularly given WJEC is a charity and seems to have many of the same objectives as you in Qualifications Wales have?
The roles are very distinct, so I'd tell you there's no overlap. What we try and do is try and make sure that there's a good connection between the work that we do. WJEC has very clear responsibilities around the delivery of qualifications. We have a role in monitoring to ensure that those qualifications are delivered securely and fairly.
I would say a strength of the Welsh model is that there is an independent regulator and a single awarding body largely, because much of the work that Ofqual would need to do in terms of its maintenance of standards is about ensuring that the competition between awarding bodies doesn't lead to what's been termed in the past as a race to the bottom in terms of standards.
Now, the opportunity that we have in Wales is, where we have a single awarding body, we can have a close and good working relationship with WJEC, but guarding very strongly to make sure that we keep that regulatory distance to make sure that we preserve our role as the regulator and look at WJEC as one of our regulated bodies.
A allaf i wneud pwynt cyffredinol? Efallai mai'r cyfle pwysig yng Nghymru yw edrych o'r newydd ar sut gall cyrff cenedlaethol a rhai rhanbarthol fel y consortia gydweithio i wneud llwyddiant o'r maes eang o adnoddau a datblygiad proffesiynol fydd eu heisiau i gefnogi'r cwricwlwm newydd, a hefyd y cymwysterau nesaf a fydd yn cael eu diwygio. Rŷm ni wedi cyfeirio at nifer o gyrff heddiw, ond mae yna rai eraill. Mae Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru yn rhan o'r trafodaethau, er enghraifft. Mae Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru yn chwaraewr sydd eisiau cyfrannu syniadau at ddimensiwn Cymreig y cwricwlwm. Roedd cyfeiriad gynnau at y sector addysg uwch. Mae cymdeithasau athrawon â sylwadau a gweledigaeth bendant ynglŷn â rhai o'r pethau yma. Rwy'n meddwl bod cyfle gwych i ni dynnu at ein gilydd a chreu dull cenedlaethol o symud ymlaen. Bydd eisiau peth cefnogaeth ariannol gan Lywodraeth Cymru—bydd, yn bendant—ac mae CBAC yn gallu cyfrannu peth adnoddau ei hun, ond yn sicr rwy'n credu ein bod ni i gyd eisiau cydweithio i sicrhau llwyddiant y cylch nesaf o gynhyrchu adnoddau.
Can I make a general point? Perhaps the important opportunity in Wales is to look anew at how national and regional organisations, such as the consortia, can collaborate to make a success of the broad range of resources and CPD that will be required to support the new curriculum, and also the next set of qualifications that will be reformed. We've referred to many organisations today, but there are others. The Welsh Books Council, for example, is part of this discussion. The Learned Society of Wales is a player that wants to introduce ideas into the Welsh dimension of the curriculum. There was mention of the HE sector earlier. Teachers' associations have very specific comments to make on some of these areas. There is a great opportunity for us to come together and to have a national approach. There will be a need for some financial resource from the Welsh Government—yes, certainly—and the WJEC can provide some resources, but I think we all want to collaborate in order to ensure the success of the next round of resources.
But doesn't that national approach and collaboration preclude the model that Philip was talking about earlier, where we had textbooks based on the curriculum, and there's that core, but that was separate from what the exam body decided to do and the textbook wasn't there for the particular exam approach? If you have a single, dominant exam board, and you have a Welsh curriculum that's developed with that board, how do you then have this separation between textbook and exam?
So, if we look at qualification, a qualification should be based on the curriculum that's being offered, because learning should be based around the curriculum, and the role of the qualification is to measure attainment against knowledge of that curriculum—knowledge, skills and understanding, the dispositions that that curriculum is trying to develop. So, I think there are two very distinct things. Now, of course, what will inevitably happen is once the curriculum is known and developed, there will be a level of detail that comes across from what the qualification is looking for. I think what we're trying to say is, from an educational perspective, what we'd like to see is a broader focus on the curriculum and less of a narrow focus on the qualification and some of the problems that that can drive, so that, if a learner is well-versed in the curriculum and has been taught well and has acquired the knowledge, skills and dispositions that the curriculum is trying to create, they should succeed in the qualification.
And you suggested earlier that, if need be, the qualification could be pushed back a year, but not the curriculum. Does that mean that it would be possible to teach the new curriculum while keeping the old qualification?
It would be possible.
Because, if we're looking at qualifications predominantly being 14 to 16, what Professor Donaldson said at the very beginning, with 'Successful Futures', was, actually, if the curriculum is preparing people better for that qualification stage, so that they're better versed as learners and better able to perform in those qualifications and we see a rise of attainment—. Ideally, you'd be in a position where you've got GCSEs that have been reformed to marry up to any change, but I don't see there being a huge problem in itself of a delay if we think that is the right thing to do. Clearly, we consider that to be a sub-optimal thing. We would much rather be in a position of having reforms, but, equally, I'd want to see any reforms delivered safely, and I wouldn't want to compromise fairness and safety of delivery of those qualifications on the basis of a timeline. But I think all too often the case is that a timeline dominates over doing what is the right thing and I think as we get further into this we'll have to really assess and keep a grip of what's the right thing to do.
Very briefly, Darren.
Just on this issue of shaping the curriculum and making sure that we've got textbooks that can be used to support the delivery of the curriculum—. So, obviously, the WJEC's interested in the examinations and the qualifications. That's your role as well in terms of Qualifications Wales. So, who should be responsible for developing these curriculum resources?
I think, for a new model, that needs to be determined. Welsh Government has a role in curriculum at the moment. They have responsibility for curriclum and they've already started work with the seminar last year, and then drawing people together now to look at a new model for the future. I think we need to evolve that approach, and I think Welsh Government taking a lead on some of this thinking about how things might be prepared for the future is probably a good position to be in at the moment.
Are there any other models that you can point us to in terms of how these things are done elsewhere?
Yes, there are models where you can have—. For example, in Northern Ireland, you have the regulator, the awarding body and the curriculum body all under one roof. So, you can have a position where everything is tied together as it is in Northern Ireland with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. Equally, if you look at somewhere like Hong Kong, you have very distinct bodies that are looking after each individual component. So, there are lots of different models that can be developed. But, of course, in Wales, and also previously in England, the qualifications regulator has also had a responsibility for curriculum. So, there has been that model in the past in Wales.
Jest yn fyr iawn.
Just very briefly.
Really quickly, please.
Jest un peth yn fyr iawn iawn o ran CBAC. Mi wnes i sôn gynnau, efallai, yn y gorffennol, bod CBAC wedi cynhyrchu tipyn go lew o adnoddau drwy gydweithio gyda chyhoeddwyr ar gyfnod allweddol 3 a hyd yn oed yr oedran cynradd. Ond rydw i'n meddwl yn sicr bod cyfnod allweddol 3 yn perthyn yn agos iawn i'r cyfnod TGAU, ac felly os ydy CBAC yn parhau yn chwaraewr—fel rydw i'n gobeithio y bydd—yn y maes adnoddau ar gyfer TGAU a Safon Uwch, yna mae CBAC hefyd mewn sefyllfa dda o ran ein buddsoddiad ni mewn golygu, cyfieithu a'r defnydd o dechnoleg i hefyd gyfrannu at gyfnod allweddol 3 yn sicr ac efallai hyd yn oed y cyfnod cynradd. Felly, rydw i'n siwr y byddai CBAC am gynnig ei hun fel corff cenedlaethol sydd am gyfrannu y gorau gallwn ni yn y maes yma.
Just one thing very briefly, in terms of the WJEC. I mentioned earlier that, in the past, the WJEC has produced a fair few resources in collaboration with publishers in key stage 3 and even at primary stages. Certainly, key stage 3 is closely linked to GCSE, and, therefore, if the WJEC continues to be a player—as I hope it will—in the area of resources for GCSE and A-level, then the WJEC is also well positioned in terms of our investment in editing, translating and the use of technology to contribute to key stage 3 most certainly and perhaps even the primary stages. So, I'm sure that the WJEC would want to offer itself as a national organisation that wants to contribute as best we can in this area.
Okay. Thank you very much. Well, we're out of time, so can I thank you very much for attending this morning and for answering all our questions? I think it's been a very useful and informative session. As usual, you'll be sent a transcript to check for accuracy, following the meeting. But thank you very much, again, for your attendance.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi.
Thank you very much.
Item 4 is papers to note. In view of the time, can I ask whether Members are happy to note all those papers in a block? Can I just flag that I would like to return to paper to note 3, which is the letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Education on minority ethnic, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller learners, when we go into private, if that's okay with Members?
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Item 5, then, is for me to propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, that the committee resolves to meet in private for the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content? Thank you.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:06.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:06.