Wales is a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a separate identify and language. Wales has a population of around 3 million compared to the 53 million or so in England. The education system in Wales has many of the features of that in England although the two systems have been diverging since devolution in the late 90s. The Welsh government adopted many curriculum documents from England including the school national curriculum (national meaning England Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland has its own system) and the adult numeracy core curriculum. Wales has the GCSE examinations at 16, the post compulsory A levels as university entrance and similar university courses to England. Although the post compulsory sector has not required teacher training qualifications in the same way that England has post 2001, it has been considered good practice and similar qualifications have been developed – including the adult numeracy teacher training qualifications.

Lead agencies

The Welsh government has one ministry, Education and Skills, that deals with all phases from schools through post compulsory to higher education.  Estyn is the organisation that inspects educational provision for almost all educational provision aside from higher education.

Independent of government, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) have a Welsh arm with its own management group and headquarters in Cardiff.

Current Developments/Projects

The Welsh government has a number of concerns about mathematics and numeracy with a number of programmes running in the school sector. In the post compulsory sector there are strategies to develop STEM subjects including mathematics. Family learning programmes – including those for mathematics – have been a focus of attention for Estyn (who reported on family learning in 2012) and NIACE (who have a current inquiry into family learning).

Useful Links/Publications

Welsh government page for Education and skills

Estyn – the inspectorate for education and training in Wales

NIACE Wales website