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Welsh Bac deservedly held in high regard; YOUR LETTERS TO THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF WALES.

* SIR - Isn't it typical of Wales that just when we seem to be creating something really worthwhile and internationally significant through the Welsh Baccalaureate, we try to shoot ourselves in the feet by creating discord out of a few curmudgeonly comments by people who demonstrate that a little learning is a very dangerous thing.

We would advise David Davies MP, Jeff Jones and the Rev Gethin Rees to consult the Bath University website. This English university has "a high regard for the Welsh Baccalaureate and Admissions Tutors are aware of the range of skills and qualities which it develops in school students and of the additional work it demands."

They would also be well advised to consider the fact that well-informed Russell Group universities including Oxford and Durham give offers based on success in the Welsh Bac, a standard offer at Oxford being two A grades and a pass in the Welsh Bac.

These are of course considered judgements made by some of our leading academics after a full professional review of the qualification.

Those of us who have devoted our careers to inclusive and socially equitable schooling seek to foster social awareness, community involvement and active citizenship among our young people as well as the academic rigour and investigative skills so much in demand by employers eager to compete in world markets. The Welsh Bac enables our students to acquire all these skills.

At Lewis School Pengam we have some years' experience of the great benefits the Welsh Bac provides to our students when the qualification is delivered as a holistic course rather than a series of tick-box opportunities imposed on the top of more traditional qualifications.

We believe that there is still a job to be done to convince some course admissions tutors of its value. We regret that these include too many in our capital city.

This work is best done through a professional dialogue with admissions tutors and with the support of the excellent Welsh Bac unit in the WJEC rather than sensationalist comment that demonstrates a lack of detailed knowledge of both the qualification itself and the full picture of our universities' attitudes towards it.

Nor should we be seduced by the bizarrely mistitled English Baccalaureate introduced recently over the border. This "back of an envelope" policy is nothing more than a revived School Certificate that does nothing in itself to promote the ideals enshrined in both the International and Welsh Baccalaureates.

By the way, when did you last meet a sixth-form student who didn't complain about having to do a bit of extra work even when they actually enjoyed doing it? GARETH PRICE Assistant Head, Lewis School Pengam
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 20, 2011
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