Education in Wales

Education in Wales

Education in Wales differs in certain respects from the systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom.A significant number of students all over Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh; lessons in the language are compulsory for all until the age of 16. Welsh medium education is available to all age groups through nurseries, schools, colleges and universities and in adult education. There are also plans to increase the number of Welsh medium schools.Currently, especially in the South Wales Valleys and Cardiff, demand has passed supply for education through the medium of Welsh. Some schools in South Wales are now having to turn Welsh students back as there are no spaces in the schools compared to the "English schools" where in some cases pupil levels are only reaching 50% capacity. There are plans in Cardiff to close 2 "English Schools" and open two large "Welsh schools", there are now plans for Newport to have its first Welsh medium secondary school, and there are also plans for Swansea and Llanelli to have more "Welsh schools". This is in line with Welsh Assembly policy of having a totally bilingual Wales.

The Structure of the Welsh Educational System

Compulsory Schooling

Basically, the United Kingdom has two educational systems: one covering England, Wales, and Northern Ireland; and one covering Scotland. The two systems have different emphases: traditionally the English, Welsh, and Northern Irish system has emphasised depth of education, whereas the Scottish system has emphasised breadth. Thus English, Welsh, and Northern Irish students tend to sit a small number of more advanced examinations, while Scottish students tend to sit a larger number of less advanced examinations.

The system of statutory national key-stage tests in Wales was, until 2000, the same as in England, and was managed by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA). In 2000, the National Assembly for Wales took responsibility for these tests in Wales, at which point they were developed by test agencies on behalf on ACCAC, whilst the tests in England were developed for the QCA.

A child's age on the 1 September determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education. School is compulsory beginning with the term following the child's 5th birthday. Most parents, however, enrol their children in the reception year in September of that school year, with most children thus beginning school at age 4 or 4.5.

Primary Education

* Primary Education in Wales

econdary Education

Pupils in secondary school take part in GCSE and A-level qualifications however there is also an option of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification from 2007, which makes the Welsh education in secondary schools more distinguished from the English curriculum.

*Secondary Education in Wales

Further Education

Further Education in Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Some students are from schools, from the age of 14 to 16 but the vast majority are 16 - Adult. Each Further Education college is a separate legal entity from the local councils or Welsh Assembly, a corporate body accountable to no-one, except, financially, to the Welsh Assembly Government who now largely provide their income (previously ELWA).

Higher Education

Students normally enter University from 18 onwards and study for an Academic Degree. All undergraduate education is largely state financed (With Welsh students contibuting £1,255), and students are generally entitled to student loans for maintenance. The state does not control syllabi, but it does influence admission procedures and monitors standards through the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

The typical first degree offered at Welsh universities is the Bachelor's degree (typically three years). Many institutions now offer an undergraduate Master's degree as a first degree, typically lasting four years. During a first degree students are known as undergraduates. The difference in fees between undergraduate and traditional postgraduate Master's degrees (and the possibility of securing LEA funding for the former) makes taking an undergraduate Master's degree as a first degree a more attractive option, although the novelty of undergraduate Master's degrees means that the relative educational merit of the two is currently unclear.

Some universities offer a vocationally-based Foundation degree, typically two years in length for those students who hope to continue to take a first degree but wish to remain in employment. Within Wales Medical undergraduate education is provided by only one university (Cardiff) while a second (Swansea) provides for training via a graduate fast track route. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of universities with their own degree awarding powers owing to the change in the University of Wales from a single awarding body for most of the Universties in Wales to a confederal structure, along with former institutes gaining university status. Overall there are twelve universities in Wales including one music conservatoire (see List of universities in Wales).

Adult Education

Adult education, Continuing education or Lifelong learning is offered to adults of all ages. These can include the vocational qualifications mentioned above and also:
* Access programme one or two year courses to allow adults access to university.
* Open University a distance education learning program which can result in a Degree.
* Workers' Educational Association
* For Welsh adults considering learning the language, there is a wide range of courses available. For those living in North Wales and looking to learn Welsh, [ ""] has information relating to courses and learning resources. For those learning on-line or wishing to enjoy Welsh TV programmes on S4C try:
* [ Acen site for Welsh learners]
* [ S4C site for learners]

ee also

*List of universities in Wales
*Education in England
*Education in Northern Ireland
*Education in Scotland
*Education in the United Kingdom
*Education by country
*Blue book

External links

* [ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales] in English and Welsh
* [ Welsh FE Colleges]

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