Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Welsh Assembly
This memorandum, presented to the Committee
by the Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and
Skills, provides evidence for the Committee with respect to provision
of cross-border public services for Wales in the fields of education
Key points for the Committee to note are:
the extent of cross-border flows
with regard to both Further and Higher Education;
student finance mechanisms and degrees
of policy divergence with respect to England;
mechanisms for collaboration in respect
of research funding; and
distinctive Welsh policy initiatives
in respect of HE reconfiguration and collaboration, 14-19 education
and training, additional learning needs and the Welsh Baccalaureate.
1. The Department for Children, Education,
Lifelong Learning and Skills is a department of the Welsh Assembly
Government. Having responsibility for a range of issues regarding
education, training and children's services, it aims to improve
children's services, education and training provision to secure
better outcomes for learners, business, and employers as set out
in the Welsh Assembly Government's strategic document for education
and training, "The Learning Country" and in line
with the aims set out in the Government's overarching strategic
document "One Wales". The department seeks, through
its activities, to help empower children, young people and adults
through education and training to enjoy a better quality of life.
2. Cross-border activity in respect of the
education agenda takes place under a range of heads. In responding
to the Committee's call, this submission will focus on the following,
with particular reference to Further and Higher Education:
student retention and recruitment;
3. Considering the education agenda more
generally, and taking into account the Committee's interest in
policy, we will also be submitting evidence under the following
Policy coordination and divergence.
Student retention and recruitmentHigher
4. Student retention and recruitment in
HE is undertaken, in respect of full-time applicants, in the context
of a UK-wide system managed by UCASthe Universities and
Colleges Admissions Serviceand, in respect of part-time
and distance-learning applicants, by the institutions themselves.
5. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
market their own courses across the UK by a variety of means,
and there is a significant cross-border flow of students between
Wales and the rest of the UKas well increasingly from Europe
Cross-border flows of higher education students
Overall Wales is a net importer of full-time
undergraduate students. In 2006-07 17,950 Welsh domiciled full-time
undergraduates were enrolled at HEIs outside of Wales and 26,835
students from the rest of the UK were enrolled at Welsh HEIsan
overall difference of around 9,000 students.
For full-time postgraduates, 1,945 Welsh domiciled
students were studying outside of Wales while a similar number
of students from the rest of the UK were studying in Wales.
More Welsh domiciled full-time undergraduate
students study in Wales than at HEIs in the rest of the UK and
this proportion has been increasing (65% in 2006-07 compared with
59% in 2000-01).
However, the proportion of full-time undergraduates
studying in Wales varies across the Unitary Authorities, with
over 80% of students from Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Blaenau
Gwent and Neath Port Talbot enrolled at Welsh HEIs. While for
a number of Unitary Authorities more students study outside of
Wales than at Welsh HEIsPowys (53% study outside of Wales),
Conwy (55%), Monmouthshire (56%), Denbighshire (59%) and Flintshire
Around 3% of English domiciled full-time undergraduate
students are enrolled at Welsh HEIs. The proportion varies across
the English counties18% of students from Herefordshire
and 15% of students from Shropshire were enrolled at Welsh HEIs.
For a number of other areas, particularly in the South-west, around
10% were enrolled in Wales.
The proportion of UK domiciled students enrolled
at individual HEIs who are Welsh varies. In general the Post-1992
institutions have more students from Wales than from the rest
of the UK. For the Pre-1992 institutions more students from the
rest of the UK are enrolled than Welsh students (Aberystwyth 31%
are Welsh, Cardiff 41% Welsh)
6. These cross-border flows are also evident
in respect of graduate leavers from higher education, with Welsh
domiciled leavers being substantially more likely to take up employment
in Wales after graduation, particularly those having studied at
Welsh HEIs. The evidence below suggests that there are benefits
associated with study in Wales in terms of attracting and retaining
graduates to work in Wales, at least in early years after graduation.
Location of employment at around six months after
(2005-06 HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher
Education survey at around six months after graduation for UK
domiciled full-time undergraduate qualifiers employed in the UK)
71% of Welsh domiciled qualifiers from UK HEIs
were employed in Wales at around six months after graduation,
with those who studied at Welsh HEIs more likely to be employed
in Wales (91%) than those who studied at English HEIs (40%).
Overall around 4% of UK domiciled qualifiers
for UK HEIs were employed in Wales compared with 59% of UK domiciled
qualifiers who studied in Wales.
For full-time undergraduates entering employment
there has been a net flow of graduates out of Wales over the years.
For 2005-06, 570 more Welsh graduates were employed outside of
Wales than other UK graduates employed in Wales.
7. At three and a half years after graduation
the picture changes, with more outward migration being evident,
resulting in retention rates lower that for the other countries
in the UK but comparable with the English regions.
8. The section under Student Finance and
Funding below provides further detail regarding Welsh Assembly
Government policies being implemented to improve graduate retention
Location of employment at 3.5 years after graduation
(2002-03 HESA Longitudinal Destinations of Leavers
from Higher Education survey at 3.5 years after graduation for
UK domiciled part-time and full-time first degree qualifiers employed
in the UK)
At 3.5 years after graduation, 48% of qualifiers
from Welsh HEIs were employed in Wales and 71% of those employed
in Wales at six months after graduation were still employed in
These retention rates are lower than the equivalent
rates for the other UK countries but comparable with the English
Student retention and recruitmentFurther
9. Further education by contrast is locally
promoted and recruitment locally managed, largely on the basis
of what are effectively "catchment areas." Local promotion,
together with travel schemes to facilitate attendance and relationships
with local schools are key.
10. The vast majority of learners enrolled
at Further Education Institutions (FEIs) in Wales are Welsh-domiciled;
however, colleges in counties along the border with England orin
the case of Coleg Harlech/WEA (North)with a substantial
residential component show a substantial presence of non-Welsh
domiciled learners and house a substantial majority of such learners.
11. For information on Welsh-domiciled learners
at English FEIs see Ev 145-146.
Cross-border flows of learners at Welsh further
In 2005-06 259,720 learners were enrolled at
Welsh further education institutions. 3% of these learners were
domiciled outside of Wales.
However, this proportion varies significantly
by institution with higher proportions of non-Welsh domiciled
learners occurring at further education institutions situated
in the north east of Wales (Welsh College of Horticulture, Yale
College, Deeside College and Llysfasi College) and south east
of Wales (Coleg Gwent). In addition, both Coleg Powys and Coleg
Harlech/WEA(North) also had notable numbers of non-Welsh learners.
The non-Welsh domiciled learners enrolled at
these seven institutions accounted for 88% of all non-Welsh domiciled
learners enrolled at Welsh further education institutions in 2005-06.
12. Whilst some information regarding learner
destination is collected for FE institutions, it is not equivalent
in scope or detail to the HESA Longitudinal Destinations of Leavers
from Higher Education survey and is unfortunately of insufficient
quality to provide useful input to this call for evidence. From
2006-07 onwards, the data-collection specification has been amended
and it is anticipated this will have a positive impact on data-quality.
13. Another cross-border flow, small in
number but significant, relates to learners with learning difficulties
or disabilities. Under the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the Welsh
Assembly Government funds placements for learners with learning
difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) at independent specialist
residential further education (FE) establishments in England and
Wales where individual learning needs are such that they cannot
be met without specialist residential provision.
14. In 2007-08, 211 such placements were
funded either in full or jointly with Social Services Departments
and/or Local Health Boards at a cost of £7.491 million, of
which 80 placements were at four specialist residential establishments
in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government currently funds placements
at 30 specialist residential establishments in England and Wales.
15. The Assembly Government uses the same
funding matrix as the Learning and Skills Council in England when
securing these FE placements, so the cost of a placement is the
same whether a learner is Welsh or English. The Assembly Government
has its own procedures and processes in this regard and its relationship
with specialist residential establishments is separate from the
Learning and Skills Council.
16. The Welsh Assembly Government makes
available a range of student finance products to assist Welsh
learners in both further and higher education to access and remain
in education. These cover both full- and part-time students and
address fees, maintenance and allowance issues.
17. Student finance provision includes some
elements, such as the Assembly Learning GrantFurther Education,
which are unique to Wales, and other areas in which there is some
degree of variance in the details of a package, although the overall
value of the support remains the same, such as apportionment of
fee and course grant for part-time students.
Higher Education: Student Finance
18. Most student support functions (higher
education (HE) grants and loans) were devolved to the Assembly
in 2006 from the former Department for Education and Skills via
the Higher Education Act 2004. These powers now reside with Welsh
Ministers. The Welsh Assembly Government currently provides student
support through Student Finance Wales with its delivery partners,
the Welsh local authorities and the Student Loans Company. Certain
elements of the student support process such as the rules determining
UK residency and "home fee" status remain non-devolved.
19. The Welsh Assembly Government has set
the tuition fee levels for designated HE courses in Wales, as
From academic year 2007-08 in Walesintroduction
of deferred flexible fees of up to £3,070 (£3,145 for
2008-09) a year. Fees offset by the introduction of a non-means
tested, non-repayable tuition fee grant of up to £1,845 (£1,890
for 2008-09) payable directly to the place of study. This grant
is only available to students who normally live in Wales and who
are undertaking a HE course in Wales.
A deferred fee is repayable by the
former student who has taken out a loan, when his/her earnings
reach a £15,000 threshold.
An Assembly Learning Grant (non-repayable)
is available of up to £2,765 in 2007-08 (£2,835 for
2008-09), dependent on household income. Other specific allowances
are available such as a Childcare grant and Disabled Students'
HE Full-Time Student Financemajor points
of divergence with England
20. Tuition Fee GrantAs described
above this is a Wales only policy designed to attract more Welsh
domicile students to study and remain in Wales.
21. The latest UCAS statistics for 2007
entry indicate that 17,366 Welsh domiciled applicants were accepted
by UK institutionsa 1% increase on 2006 and 19% higher
than in 1997. 69% of the successful Welsh domiciled applicants
were accepted by Welsh institutions, 1 percentage point higher
than in 2006 and 17 percentage points higher than in 1997.
22. Enhanced maintenance grant in England
only for 2008-09 entrantsfrom September 2008 English students
entering HE with household incomes below £25,000 will receive
the full non-repayable maintenance grant (£2,835), and students
from household incomes up to £60,005 will receive partial,
non-repayable grant. In Wales the 2008-09 thresholds will be:
household incomes of £18,370 or below will receive a full
non-repayable Assembly Learning Grant (maintenance grant) of £2,835
a year, with partial payments to households with income up to
£39,300. Other territories have not increased their grant
thresholds to the English levels.
Co-ordination of HE student finance
23. Co-ordination of policy and activity
in respect of HE student finance occurs under the following three
meetings at least three times/year between the territories plus
the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. The Student Loans Company
(SLC) invited for part of the meeting.
UK project board chaired by the SLC
for implementing student finance delivery each year (meets in
Glasgow four times/year).
Within Wales, a standing Student
Finance Wales Consultative Group meets on an ad hoc basis, with
stakeholder representation from delivery partnersWelsh
local authorities' student finance officers, SLC, NUS (Wales),
Higher Education Wales, Fforwm (the representative body for FEIs
in Wales), and AMMOSHE (Student Services).
Higher Education: Student FinanceSupport
for Part-time Students
24. In Wales, as in England, part-time undergraduate
students who take less than twice as long as their full-time equivalents
to complete their course are able to apply for a means-tested
Fee Grant and a grant to assist with course related costs (the
25. The way support is apportioned between
fee and course grant differs in the two countries, but the total
amount that can be awarded to a Welsh-domiciled student, depending
on his/her individual circumstances, is potentially greater than
that available to English-domiciled counterparts.
26. Course grantin 2008-09 part-time
students will be able to apply for assistance with course related
costs worth up to £1,050 (England £255)
a year on top of the fee grant.
27. In 2008-09 there will be three different
rates of fee grant depending on how intensive the course is. These
are as follows (England figures in brackets):
A student studying a course at a
rate equivalent to 50%-59% of the full-time course could receive
a fee grant up to £620 (England £785) a year.
A student studying a course at a
rate equivalent to 60%-74% of the full-time course could receive
a fee grant of up to £745 (England £945) a year.
A student studying a course at a
rate equivalent to 75% or more of the full-time course could receive
a fee grant of up to £930 (England £1,180) a
28. Following the recommendations of the
Graham Review of part-time study in Wales (Report published June
2006), eligible part-time, Welsh-domiciled students will, from
academic year 2008-09, also be able to access targeted support
which is currently available only to full undergraduates; this
will be provided through a pro-rated version (reflecting intensity
of study) of the Childcare Grant, Adult Dependants' Grant, and
Parents' Learning Allowance.
Further Education: Student FinanceEducation
Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
29. The Education Maintenance Allowance
(EMA) Wales scheme was introduced for 16 year olds for the first
time in 2004-05. In 2005-06, the scheme was extended to include
16 and 17 year olds and, in 2006-07, 18 year olds. The scheme
is designed to provide an incentive for students from lower-income
families to continue and remain in full-time education. The principal
component of the EMA is a weekly allowance, linked to satisfactory
attendance, for eligible students attending learning centres in
Wales. Students can qualify for awards of £10, £20 or
£30 depending on household income. They can also qualify
for periodic additional bonuses of £100 if agreed learning
objectives are met. Following full roll-out of the scheme, some
30,000 students a year qualify for EMA funding.
Further Education: Student FinancePoints
30. The EMA scheme is similar to those run
in the other UK territories, although minor differences have evolved
since EMA was initially introduced in 2004eg in 2008-09,
whilst income qualifying thresholds in Wales will increase in
line with RPI, those in England will remain static; the arrangements
for allowing in-year reassessments in Wales are significantly
more flexible than those which apply under the English scheme.
Further Education: Student FinanceAssembly
Learning GrantFurther Education (ALG-FE)
31. The Assembly Learning Grant was introduced
for the 2002-03 Academic Year following the recommendations of
the Rees Review (Investigation into student funding and hardship
in Wales) and originally provided targeted support to both HE
and FE students from low income households. Following the transfer
of responsibility for all aspects of student finance in 2006-07,
the HE component of the ALG scheme was subsumed within statutory
HE student support.
32. The ALG-FE is available to Welsh-domiciled
students studying in Wales or elsewhere in the UK. For a grant
to be awarded both the student and course criteria must be satisfied:
a student must be ordinarily resident in Wales on the first day
of the first academic year of the course; must be aged 19 or over
at the start of the academic year; and the course must be supported
through WAG-DCELLS (or equivalent)and requires regular attendance
at a Further Education Institution or Other Learning Centre and
involves at least 275 taught hours in each academic year. There
is no equivalent to the ALG-FE in respect of England.
33. In line with other countries in the
UK, research in Wales is funded by means of a "dual support"
system. Under this dual support system, most research is funded
on a UK or European basis via the Research Councils, Technology
Strategy Board, European Framework and other Programmes.
34. The Higher Education Funding Council
for Wales (HEFCW) provides core funding to support overheads for
contract research, support higher education institutions (HEIs)
to establish areas of strength and to build capacity in areas
of new or emerging science. Institutions can also use this core
grant to match-fund EU Framework Programme contracts. This funding
does not support research projects per se.
35. HEFCW's core funding for this purpose
in 2007-08 is some £65 million. It is allocated to HEIs on
a formula basis, which is weighted towards research excellence.
In addition to academic impact, there is an increasing focus on
rewarding high quality applicable research and industrial partnerships.
36. The second strand of funding in the
dual support system is research funded via a UK-wide competitive
process through the Research Councils. The central criterion for
funding is quality. The UK Research Councils set priorities and
budgets under a framework set by UK Government that takes account
of the broad importance of a research area to the economy and
society, as well as the scale of scientific potential. An increasing
priority is to engage end users in research and there are now
specific targets for the amount of Research Council funding for
projects that include industry. Welsh HEIs were awarded £35
million from Research Councils in 2007-08, which represents some
3.2% of UK HEI income. This proportion has remained at constant
since 2001-02, though in absolute terms funding has increased.
37. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB)
established in July 2007 funds Research and Development (R&D)
that is nearer to market but in areas where UK industry has the
potential to be globally competitive in emerging areas of technology
that also have substantial market potential. The TSB budget for
2008-09 to 2010-11 will influence funding of over £1 billion.
This sum includes some regional funding in England.
38. The Welsh Assembly Government Health
Department also has its own research funding of some £26.5
million in 2007-08. The Assembly Government is establishing a
National Institute for Health Research to maximise impact of its
research funding and help create synergies with other UK research
39. Welsh HEIs won research grants of £121.3
million in 2007-08 from Research Councils and other sources, with
the non-Research Council income having shown significant increase.
40. In some areas, research collaboration
between Welsh university departments has been strengthened through
transitional support from a ring-fenced budget (Reaching Higher)
which is provided to drive up performance in the Welsh HE sector.
There are good signs that this reconfiguration agenda is successful,
increasing capacity to win further funds. Support from the Department
of Health and Social Services for the Clinical Research Collaboration
Cymru has improved collaborations across Welsh universities health
and social care research infrastructure and after two years is
showing good returns in external research income generation. Collaboration
is also developing across borders, such as between Cardiff and
Bristol Universities. In some research areas (and especially in
EU regional funding) it has also been possible to leverage additional
business investment, therefore driving up the scale and likely
economic impact of research.
41. Co-ordination is achieved by Welsh representation
on Research Councils. There is active participation by researchers
from Welsh HEIs within each of the Research Councils. Appropriately
qualified individuals from Welsh HEIs are encouraged to engage
with the Research Councils, including involvement on peer review
42. Co-ordination is also achieved through
formal mechanisms. There are formal Memoranda of Understanding
with all of the Research Councils and the Welsh Assembly Government.
Within this framework, active engagement varies from Research
Council to Research Council. The ESRC fully consults with the
Devolved Administrations and their Funding Councils, liaises with
them and offers regular Policy Making Seminars. NERC has a Funders'
Forum which is held annually and consults with stakeholders, including
Devolved Administrations. Other Research Councils liaise as occasion
arises and directly with other Department's within the Welsh Assembly
Government. For example, the MRC meets regularly with the Welsh
Assembly Government's Health Department's Office of Research and
Development and participates in the Office for Strategic Coordination
of Health Research.
43. There are several examples of joint
research initiatives between individual higher education institutions
in Wales and the UK Research Councils. In particular, the ESRC
has several joint research initiatives with Wales, including:
UW Bangor Bilingualism Centre. The
Centre is co-funded by the ESRC (who also have a role in the administration
of the Centre), HEFCW and the Welsh Assembly Government. There
is a theoretical focus, looking at the relationship between the
two languages of bilingual speakers in bilingual communities.
Future Research Capacity Building
in Education: Piloting an All Wales Educational Research Network
is a £150,000 project, which has been co-funded by ESRC and
The Impact of Higher Education Institutions
on regional economies initiative is a new £3 million research
venture which aims to promote better understanding of the key
economic and social impacts generated by higher education institutions
in the UK. The initiative runs from 2007-10 and has been established
by the ESRC, in partnership with all four UK Higher Education
44. There is also a NERC Centre for Ecology
and Hydrology at Bangor University, which is one of seven Centres
for Ecology and Hydrology across the UK. Plans are in place for
the integration of the BBSRC's Institute for Grassland and Environmental
Research (IGER) with Aberystwyth University and to strengthen
links with other relevant research in Wales.
Funders' Forum (run by DIUS)
45. The Research Base Funders' Forum has
been set up to allow governmental and non-governmental funders
of public good research to consider the collective impact of their
strategies on the sustainability, health and outputs on the Research
Base including how the UK innovation system impacts on the research
46. The Core Group of the Forum meets quarterly.
It includes representatives from charities, industry, Research
Councils, Funding Councils, Regional Development Agencies, the
Higher Education sector and Government departments, including
devolved administrations. There is a representative from the Welsh
Assembly Government on the Forum.
47. Joint working on business interface
with higher educationWales provides a different and increasingly
simplified set of services to support business engagement with
HE on research and technology transfer to those provided in the
regions of England. Representatives of the Welsh Assembly Government
and English RDAs (as well as other devolved administrations) meet
regularly on the Research Innovation Science & Technology
(RIST) Committee, which is sponsored by DIUS, to share good practice
and address common issues. A joint approach to engagement with
the Technology Strategy Board was recently set up. A Strategic
Advisory Group supported by an Operational Advisory Group will
seek to advise and lobby the TSB to invest in areas that the English
regions and Devolved Administrations believe are most useful to
building a competitive knowledge-based economy. HEFCW likewise
enjoys a close working relationship with its equivalent funding
councils on HE engagement with business (within the wider "third
mission"), although funding deployment and techniques are
48. Wales contributes fully to the European
Bologna Process to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
by 2010 and promote the European system of higher education worldwide.
In order to ensure that Wales' HE curriculum and qualifications
framework is in line with the EHEA's overarching framework, it
has joined with England to have its self-certification process
assessed by the QAA. Wales' national framework for credits and
qualifications positions it well to participate in European developments.
The UK Bologna Expert from Wales is active in developing links
with Universities and pioneering partnerships in Europe.
49. The three DAs meet with DIUS every four
months to share information on international developments in HE,
including the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education
(PMI 2) and UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
Wales is fully signed up to PMI 2, with WAG (HED) contributing
£135,010 pa towards the initiative. WAG also contribute £50k
pa towards the UKIERI research collaboration initiative with Indian
50. Reaching Higher, the Welsh Assembly
Government's strategy for higher education was published in 2002.
It set out the rationale for reconfiguring the sector to build
on strengths and establish greater critical mass of activity in
key areas such as research. At the same time the Assembly Government
established a funding stream to promote reconfiguration and collaboration.
To date, there have been several successful initiatives funded
under this ring-fenced budget. Examples include:
51. Wales Institute for Cognitive NeuroscienceBangor
University, Cardiff University and Swansea UniversityFunding
of £5.17 million has been approved for the creation of a
Wales Graduate School in Cognitive Neuroscience and the development
of partnerships between University researchers and the users of
cognitive neuroscience and associated technologies. A major benefit
of the partnership is anticipated to be the institutions' ability
to compete more effectively for research income within the UK
and on an international basis.
52. Research and Enterprise PartnershipBangor
University and Aberystwyth UniversityFunding of £15.4
million has been approved for this major collaborative proposal.
The funding supports the creation of a joint strategy for collaborative
research and a unified research support framework, with a merged
research and enterprise unit to support grant applications and
knowledge transfer activities. The overarching framework will
support the establishment of a four joint research clusters in
the first instance. The research clusters are a Centre for Catchment
to Coast Research, a Centre for Integrated Rural Environment Research,
a Institute of Advanced Functional Materials and Devices and a
Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Studies, with a second phase
of clusters to be initiated at a later stage.
53. Welsh Medium ProvisionWe
are committed to promoting Wales as a bilingual and multicultural
nation. Both the English and Welsh languages enjoy equal status,
and an increasing number of students are studying through the
medium of Welsh: in 2005-06 this accounted for 5% of Welsh-domiciled
students studying in Wales. This is a result of greater support
for the Welsh language in our education system. HEFCW's Welsh
medium premium enables HE institutions to meet the additional
costs of bilingual higher education provision (delivering Welsh-medium
HE costs on average about 25% more than equivalent provision through
the medium of English). Additionally, all the Welsh HEIs are collaborating
to expand the range of the Welsh medium provision they offer,
through a federal network (the Federal College) with the Welsh
medium Development Plan launched in November 2007 paving the way
54. Merger of Royal Welsh College of
Music and Drama (RWCMD) and University of GlamorganFunding
of £12.75 million has been approved to improve the student
experience by administrative efficiencies and improved facilities.
These include a 350 seat concert hall, two studio theatres, four
drama rehearsal spaces, a suite of theatre design studios and
additional teaching spaces. The Strategic Alliance between the
RWCMD and the University of Glamorgan will help ensure the future
success of the Conservatoire by enabling it to develop its facilities
substantially further and will also allow the College to benefit
from links with the University's new Cardiff School of Creative
and Cultural Industries.
55. Merger of Cardiff University and
University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM)Funding
of £15 million was approved for this mergerthe earliest
large project from this fund. WAG/HEFCW's investment for the merger
led immediately to £8 million support from the former OST's
£30 million Science Research Rationalisation Fund for brain
imaging equipment for the new Cardiff University Brain Repair
and Imaging Centre (CUBRIC). The Cardiff Partnership has been
operating successfully since 2004. Since the merger, research
grant funding at Cardiff University has risen from £58 million
per annum to £77 million per annum since merger, and it is
on track to more than double by 2010, according to an independent
evaluation commissioned by HEFCW.
14-19 LEARNING PATHWAYS
56. The aim of Learning Pathways 14-19 is
to transform young people's options and opportunities by extending
the choice and the flexibility available to all learners, especially
those likely to leave full time education without any qualifications.
We will do this by securing individually tailored Learning Pathways
that meet learners' needs, including the support they need to
remain in learning and to achieve their potential. 14-19 Learning
Pathways has been developed with wide support from all sectors.
The funding available for 2008-09 is £32.5 million.
Learning and Skills (Wales) Measure 2008
57. The proposed Learning and Skills (Wales)
Measure 2008 was announced in the Assembly's Plenary on 15 January
2008 and the consultation ends on 29 April 2008. The Measure will
ensure that learners of all abilities aged 14-19 are able to choose
from a wide range of applied and general programmes from a collaborative
58. The provisions sought in the Measure
will provide a legal framework that will reflect Learning Pathways
14-19 policy and provide the means to develop that legal framework
as policy further develops.
59. The Measure will:
place a duty on Local Education Authorities
to form a local curriculum for learners aged 14-16, and on the
Welsh Ministers for learners aged 16-19, that contains specified
enable Welsh Ministers to specify
the minimum number of courses of study to be included in a local
curriculum, specify the particular learning domain into which
a course of study falls and specify the minimum number of vocational
courses of study to be included in a local curriculum;
create a right for pupils of Maintained
Schools to elect to follow courses of study from the local area
curriculum. It will also enable regulations to specify the maximum
amount of courses of study a pupil has the right to choose from
and to elect to follow; and
provide for specification, by regulation,
of the grounds by which a Head Teacher or Principal may decide
that a pupil is not entitled to follow a course they had elected
60. This Measure will provide a statutory
basis for encouraging cooperation between different learning settings,
which will provide opportunities for young people to be given
wide range choices, helping them to meet their aspirations and
contribute to the future Welsh economy.
Raising of the School Leaving Age
61. The Learning CountryVision
into Action, the Welsh Assembly Government's strategic paper
setting out our vision for the future, makes clear that we want
young people in Wales to develop to the limits of their ability,
not to the limits of the system. Our target for 2010 is to have
93% of 16-18 year olds in employment, education or training and
for no pupil to leave full-time education without an approved
62. Following the initial announcement in
January 2007 that the then Department for Education and Skills
(DfES) was working on proposals to raise the statutory learning
age to 18, regular communication has taken place on the proposals
between all administrations. Following discussions with all devolved
administrations, the Green Paper has been revised to make clear
that its proposals relate only to England.
63. On Monday 5 November 2007, it was announced
at Parliament that the proposals to raise the compulsory learning
leaving age to 18 would be going ahead in England. This anticipates
that, by 2013, all young people up to the age of 17 should be
in education or training (including training in the workplace)
and working towards an accredited qualification. The age would
be raised to 18 by 2015.
64. In Wales, the overall policy context
has been set by the Learning Country and, within that, one of
the key strategic policy areas is the development of our Welsh
approach to the 14-19 curriculum, incorporating the innovative
and very well-received Welsh Baccalaureate as an overarching qualification
to meet the needs of this transition phase. In Wales we want to
give the 14-19 and Welsh Baccalaureate initiatives time to bed
down before considering major statutory changes concerning the
65. We acknowledge that a possible consequence
of England raising the compulsory age to 18 that along the border
we may have children from Wales being educated in England who
will be encompassed by these provisions.
66. Following a successful pilot from September
2003 to July 2007 and a positive external evaluation, the Welsh
Baccalaureate Qualification is being rolled-out to centres across
Wales at Advanced and Intermediate levels in post-16 provision.
The first phase of roll-out, from September 2007, saw a total
of 76 centres approved and some 9,000 Welsh Baccalaureate students.
67. From September 2008 the second phase
of the roll-out will see 101 centres offering the qualification
to some 18,000 students. The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
offers a qualifications structure for our 14-19 Learning Pathways
and we want access to the qualification to be an entitlement for
all learners. Every Local Education Authority area in Wales now
has post-16 Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification centre.
68. In addition, 34 schools and colleges
are currently piloting a Foundation level Welsh Baccalaureate
Qualification in the 14-19 age range. In Key Stage 4 schools are
also piloting the Intermediate model, alongside the Foundation
level. This aligns the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification with
our 14-19 Learning Pathways agenda and we expect to make decisions
about whether to roll-out the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
at Foundation level and in Key Stage 4 in the summer.
69. We have prioritised marketing the qualification,
particularly with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and with
employers. Welsh Assembly Government officials, working with partners,
including WJEC, HE Wales, HEAT (the Higher Education Advisory
Team, which is led by the University of Bath, to promote the Welsh
Baccalaureate Qualification) and Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
centres have been proactive to raise stakeholders' awareness of
the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification and of the skills that students
develop through the qualification.
Higher Education Recognition of the Welsh Baccalaureate
70. HEIs are autonomous institutions and
are free to set their own admissions criteria. Significant progress
has been made in raising awareness of the Welsh Baccalaureate
Qualification in HEIs across the UK. In September 2003, UCAS (the
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) announced that it
had allocated 120 tariff points to the level 3 (Advanced level)
Welsh Baccalaureate Core, when achieved as part of the full Advanced
level Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification. This is equivalent to
an A grade A level. There are some 50,125 Higher Education courses
available in the UK. For almost half of these offers made to prospective
university students are made on the basis of UCAS points, so the
120 points recognition, within the tariff, is very positive for
the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification.
71. Significant progress has also been made
in terms of HEIs' specific recognition of the qualification. All
HEIs in Wales recognise the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
and it is becoming increasingly accepted in HEIs in the rest of
the UK. Currently 20,728 of the courses that use the UCAS system
specifically state that the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
is accepted as an entry qualification, either on its own or in
a specified combination with other qualifications.
72. The increasing recognition of the Welsh
Baccalaureate Qualification, which is still a very new qualification
(the first Advanced Diplomas were awarded in August 2005), is
encouraging and reflects the marketing activities aimed specifically
at HEIs to date, including three conferences for admissions staff,
a revised information leaflet for higher education and direct
contact with admissions staff. We will continue to promote the
Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification with HEIs to ensure they are
aware that this qualification develops skills they say they want
students to have.
73. Employers too, consistently tell us
that they want employees to be able to communicate effectively,
they want them to have number skills and to be able to use ICT.
They also want employees who can work in teams, solve problems
and who want to improve their own knowledge and skills. The Welsh
Baccalaureate Core is built around the six Key Skills which develop
learners' capacity in all these areas.
74. In addition, the Work Related Experience
and Enterprise Activity that are part of the Welsh Baccalaureate
Core have clear links with the world of work and provide an ideal
opportunity to inform employers of the qualification. We have
also revised an information leaflet for employers. This is distributed
at suitable business and employer focussed events.
75. This is another area where the Welsh
Assembly Government will continue to work with partners to maximise
awareness of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification and its value
to employers. The Welsh Assembly Government has received many
messages of support for the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
form HEIs and employers, which could be supplied if requested.
The Welsh Baccalaureate and 14-19 Diplomas
76. An area which will be of particular
interest to employers is the incorporation into the Welsh Baccalaureate
Qualification structure of the employer endorsed elements of the
14-19 Diplomas that are being developed in England. The full Diplomas
do not fully align with the 14-19 Learning Pathways in Wales,
particularly the provision for generic skills. We will, therefore
not be implementing the full Diplomas here. However, we will incorporate:
the Principal Learning qualificationswhich
as free standing qualifications, could be used together with or
instead of other approved qualifications as part of the Welsh
Baccalaureate's options requirements; and
the Diploma projectagain a
freestanding qualification, which could serve as proxy for the
Welsh Baccalaureate Individual Investigation and possibly, depending
on the specific nature of a student's project other parts of the
Welsh Baccalaureate Core requirements.
77. The flexible design of the Welsh Baccalaureate
Qualification means that we are able to adapt it to incorporate
developments such as this, thereby giving students maximum choice
in both academic and vocational routes. Officials are working
with partners including Sector Skills Councils and awarding bodies
to make appropriate adaptations to the Principal Learning qualifications
so that they will be suitable for use in Wales. Our intention
is that the first Principal Learning and Project qualifications
will be available, within the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
framework from September 2009.
NEEDS (SEN) AND
78. The UK Government's White Paper "Better
Governance for Wales" published in June 2005 set out
the UK Government's commitment to enhance the legislative powers
of the National Assembly for Wales, as a democratically elected
institution with its own detailed scrutiny procedures.
79. The Government of Wales Act 2006, Section
95 empowers Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to confer competence
on the National Assembly for Wales to legislate by Assembly Measure
on specified matters. These matters may be added to Fields within
Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act. Assembly Measures may make any provision
which could be made by Act of Parliament (and therefore can modify
existing legislation and make new provision), in relation to matters,
subject to the limitations provided for in Part 3 of the 2006
Act. An Order in Council under Section 95 of 2006 Act is referred
to as a Legislative Competence Order (LCO).
80. The first Legislative Competence Order
approved by both Houses of Parliament is the Additional Learning
Needs LCO. It extends the legislative competence of the National
Assembly for Wales to make new laws by Measure in relation to
additional learning needs. The intention is to ensure that Measures
can be made across a wider range of areas connected with the provision
for education for children and adults whose educational needs
diverge from those upon which the mainstream education system
currently is focused. The reform of current provision about children's
special educational needs is an area of priority for the Welsh
Recoupment and BelongingBackground
81. There are cross-border service implications
under existing legislation. Until 1995, local authorities recouped
the cost of educating all primary and secondary school pupils
belonging to other authorities. Section 279 of the Education Act
1993 ended compulsory inter-authority recoupment for the majority
of pupils. The provisions of the 1993 Act were incorporated into
sections 493 and 494 of the Education Act 1996 and amended under
sections 207 and 208 of the Education Act 2002.
Statutory inter-authority recoupment was retained
for pupils aged 5-19:
attending special schools;
with statements of special educational
receiving education whilst in hospital;
receiving bedside tuition.
82. Voluntary recoupment was allowed for
under 5's where the LEAs concerned agreed.
83. Before the Education Act 2002, where
there were disagreements between LEAs over which authority was
financially responsible for the placement, the issue was determined
either by DfES Ministers or Assembly Ministers. In the 2002 Act
England opted out of their determination responsibilities and
inter-authority disputes are now settled in Court. However in
Wales, there was no such opt out and policy has diverged with
the Assembly continuing to determine disputes of this kind.
84. The Education (Inter-authority Recoupment)
Regulations 1994 (No 3251) came into force in April 1995 and Circular
2/95, "Arrangements for Inter-Authority Recoupment after
1 April 1995", was issued as guidance. The Education (Areas
to which Pupils and Students Belong) Regulations were then published
and came into force in April 1996. Circular 1/96 (Welsh Office
Circular 17/96 in Wales), "The Belonging Regulations and
Inter-Authority Recoupment) was issued in July 1996 as guidance.
85. In February 2005, DfES commissioned
Capita to investigate inter-authority recoupment for pupils with
SEN and pupils receiving hospital education. It was found that
existing regulations and guidance on belonging and recoupment
are now very much out of date and contain so many obsolete references
(certainly in the recoupment regulations) that it is difficult
to follow them.
86. The issue is further complicated by
the fact that the recoupment regulations themselves contain several
references to the Education Act 1993 which are central to the
description of cases in which recoupment is required. The whole
of the 1993 Act was of course repealed by the Education Act 1996.
87. There is a need to issue amended guidance
which puts the needs of the child first and which encourages a
partnership approach between Health, Education and SSDs where
appropriate. This work will be undertaken in the context of the
Additional Learning Needs LCO.
Post-16 Provision in FE
88. Under the Learning and Skills Act 2000,
the Welsh Assembly Government funds placements for learners with
learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) at independent
specialist residential further education (FE) establishments in
England and Wales where individual learning needs are such that
they cannot be met without specialist residential provision. In
2007-08, 211 placements were funded either in full or jointly
with Social Services Departments and/or Local Health Boards at
a cost of £7.491 million. The Welsh Assembly Government currently
funds placements at 30 specialist residential establishments in
England and Wales. In 2007-08, 80 learner placements were funded
in four specialist residential establishments in Wales.
89. The Assembly Government uses the same
funding matrix as the Learning and Skills Council in England when
securing these FE placements, so the cost of a placement is the
same whether a learner is Welsh or English. The Assembly Government
has its own procedures and processes in this regard and its relationship
with specialist residential establishments is separate from the
Learning and Skills Council.
90. Recoupment regulations which apply to
local authorities do not apply in further education.
91. As a consequence of devolution, the
Welsh Assembly Government has developed a suite of policies in
the areas of higher education and the post-16 sector, including
further education that are designed to more closely align with
the economic agenda of Wales. However, in developing these policies,
the Welsh Assembly Government has been mindful to the cross-border
implications of these policies. Therefore, the Welsh Assembly
Government has engaged in co-ordination and communication activities
across its policies.
92. The Leitch Review of UK Skills has required
extensive cross-border working on policy and administration matters
as "skills" is devolved fully to the Welsh Assembly
Government. This has required clarity in the response to the Review
from each devolved Administration.
93. The four Administrations agreed to the
joint establishment of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills,
which became operative on 1 April 2008, and the closure of the
Sector Skills Development Agency and National Employment Panel.
Agreement was reached to appoint "Country Commissioners"
and to align the work of the UK Commission with organisational
arrangements appropriate to each country. In Wales, the Assembly
Government decided to establish a new Wales Employment and Skills
Board, the chair of which would be the Wales Commissioner on the
UK Commission. At the same time the new Board reports solely to
94. Spinning out of the Leitch Review there
have been a number of cross-country policy reviews, such as the
future of Investors in People UK Ltd.
95. Other examples of successful joint working
include the transfer of the Basic Skills Agency's operation in
Wales into the Assembly Government; Apprenticeship frameworks
and other work on vocational qualifications.
96. As the Welsh Assembly Government's focus
is on skills, there are a number of examples of cross-border partnerships
and alliances which are in development, which will be of direct
benefit to the people of Wales. Examples include the skills development
training for train crews based at Wrexham on the new WrexhamLondon
Marylebone Service, the Mersey Dee Alliance (MDA) and the Composites
SectorPartnership in Action, where Airbus is working in
partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government on new skills development
63 Trend information over a number of years suggests
that the disparity is increasing, owing to a combination of fewer
Welsh domiciled students enrolling at HEIs outside of Wales together
with an increasing inflow of UK-domiciled students into Welsh
HEIs. For example, in 2000-01 the net import was 6,615 and this
has increased to 8,885 in 2006-07, an increase due to a decrease
of around 1,000 Welsh students studying out of Wales and an increase
of 1,000 students from the rest of the UK studying in Wales over
the same period. Back