Education in Wales partially differsfrom the rest of the countries of the United Kingdom. The aims of theWelsh schools are social inclusion, equal opportunities and also givingimportance to the Welsh-English bilingualism. Education in Wales is provided tochildren and young people, allowing them to express their potential withoutcounting individual needs and problems. A wide range of qualifications is offered in Wales byFurther Education institutions. There are academic qualifications as A levelsand the Welsh Baccalaureate, or professional courses for individual andbusiness open to students of all ages.
Further Education Institutions arerepresented by two organisations: “Colegau Cymru and Colleges Wales” (“Schools & further education in Wales,” n.d.).
They also offer study opportunities to foreign students. There are coursesorganised by colleges with the help of businesses in order to raise theworkforce; in fact, there are many part-time students. Theschool is changing in Wales. A new scholar curriculum is developed and it willbe available by April 2019 for the “Pioneer Schools” (“New school curriculum,” n.d.). It will take one more year for the finalversion and other 2 years for being used in all the country.
Ingeneral, there should be more emphasis on adapting young people to life.Children will have to gain the ability to learn new skills and use theirknowledge in a creative and positive way. Particular attention will be paid todigital skills, in taking the opportunities and avoiding the risks that thevirtual world involves. Another key point could be to encourage students ontheir performance and in what they have in order to improve themselves. Thenew curriculum should help Welsh children to become “capable learners, creativecontributors, informed citizens of Wales and the world and confidentindividuals” (“New school curriculum,” n.d.
). It will have six main subjects: arts, health,humanities, languages, mathematics and science.Thereason why the Welsh School is changing might depend on technology. Computers,smartphone and tablets didn’t exist in 1993 when the last school reform wasintroduced. Technology and globalization have taken the school to be moreflexible and adaptable to this environment. The challenge will probably be “makinglearning more experience-based” (“Newschool curriculum,” n.d.), and togive teachers the possibility to teach in more creative ways.
Animportant contribution to the developing of the new curriculum is due to thework of the Pioneer Schools. They have worked with key figures such as “localauthorities, regional consortia, the schools inspection body, external experts,the further and higher education sectors, employers and Welsh government” (“New school curriculum,” n.d.). Practical support will be provided for all schoolsby the Pioneer Schools Network; consequently, a new development of thepedagogical skills will probably lead to an efficacious implementation of thenew curriculum.TheDigital Competence Framework develops essential skills that help to live andwork in a digital world. The Digital Competence Framework has four layers ofthe same relevance: “citizenship, interacting and collaborating, producing,data and computational thinking” (“Newschool curriculum,” n.d.
).Accordingto the words of the former Chancellor George Osborne, all English state willbecome academies. The model adopted is refused by the Welsh government due tosome controversies. With the introduction of academies, local authorities mightnot have the same importance than before. There has been some criticism aboutsome aspects of the academies: the central government itself finances academies;nevertheless, head teachers have more decision-making power on admissions andin making changes within the school.Currently,ministers do not want to follow this plan and consequently governing bodies, inorder to apply the reform, “need a ministerial permission to make significantchanges” (Lewis, 2016). Huw Lewis, former Education Minister has doubts aboutthe positive impacts of the academies in Wales and suggests not to pursue theEnglish example.
From a political point of view, any of the main parties wantsthe introduction of academies in Wales. Owen Hathway, an exponent of the NUT(National Union of Teachers), stated that the increase in standards, betterquality education, the expectations of parents and communities, are not 100%guaranteed by the academies.One issue concernsteachers’ salaries, in fact, “some teachingunions remain opposed because of concern that Welsh teachers would end up beingpaid less than those in England” (Lewis,2016). Despite the disagreements between the two parts, it seems that an accordwill be found for separate payments in future.