Education is vital for the future of Wales, and the IWA’s role is to develop practical policy solutions to make it flourish.
Since 1999 the Welsh education system has become increasingly divergent from that of England’s. Wales has introduced new policies such as the innovative Foundation Phase, and has taken a different approach with policies such as the abolition of league tables, and lower tuition fees for Welsh students studying at University.
Yet, with this increased distinction between the Welsh and English education systems, performance has come into question. PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results for Wales rank the nation the worst in the UK. In 2013 Wales fell to 43rd of 65 countries for Maths, 41st for reading and 36th for science. This was a major blow for Wales considering that for science the nation ranked 22nd in just 2007.
In higher education Wales’ highest ranked university in the ‘Complete University Guide’ fell from 22nd in the UK to 31st in 2015.
To address these challenges, major reform is ongoing in Welsh education.
Following a review undertaken by Professor Graham Donaldson in 2015, Wales is implementing a new digital curriculum, designed to put literacy, numeracy and digital competence at the heart of the education system.
The IWA’s work on education has examined the link between poverty and performance, and looked at the lessons schools across Wales can learn from the most successful institutions.
Our upcoming work in this area will explore the barriers to delivering on this ambitious reform; to include capacity, leadership and funding.
If you would like to support work in this area, please click here.