- 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 Walesare 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 educationis 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 Valleysand Cardiff, demand has passed supply for education through the medium of Welsh. Some schools in South Walesare 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 Newportto have its first Welsh medium secondary school, and there are also plans for Swanseaand Llanellito have more "Welsh schools". This is in line with Welsh Assemblypolicy of having a totally bilingual Wales.
The Structure of the Welsh Educational System
United Kingdomhas two educationalsystems: 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 Walestook 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 Septemberdetermines 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 in Wales
secondary schooltake part in GCSEand A-levelqualifications however there is also an option of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualificationfrom 2007, which makes the Welsh education in secondary schools more distinguished from the English curriculum.
Secondary Education in Wales
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).
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 LEAfunding 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 Walesfrom 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, Continuing educationor Lifelong learningis offered to adults of all ages. These can include the vocational qualifications mentioned above and also:
Access programmeone or two year courses to allow adults access to university.
Open Universitya distance educationlearning 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 Walesand looking to learn Welsh, [http://www.learncymraeg.org "http://www.learncymraeg.org"] has information relating to courses and learning resources. For those learning on-line or wishing to enjoy Welsh TV programmes on S4Ctry:
* [http://www.acen.co.uk/ Acen site for Welsh learners]
* [http://www.learnons4c.co.uk/ S4C site for learners]
List of universities in Wales
Education in England
Education in Northern Ireland
Education in Scotland
Education in the United Kingdom
Education by country
* [http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales] in English and Welsh
* [http://www.lifelonglearninguk.org/nationsregions/wales_links.html Welsh FE Colleges]
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