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Post-16 education in Wales to be given overhaul

POST-16 education in Wales is set to be overhauled – as the Welsh Government outlines its plans for further education.

The major change is to create a Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, which will see all elements of post-16 education – colleges, universities, adult education, apprenticeships and sixth forms – coming under one body.

The commission will monitor, register and regulate providers and set out the standards expected within the sector – including Welsh medium provision.

Alongside this commission, the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill which is being introduced into the Senedd today, will establish nine national strategic duties which are legal duties to reflect the government’s long-term vision for post-16 education and guide the commission’s work.

The strategic duties are:

  • Promoting life-long learning
  • Promoting equality of opportunity
  • Encouraging participation in tertiary education
  • Promoting continuous improvement in tertiary education and research
  • Promoting collaboration and coherence in tertiary education and research
  • Contributing to a sustainable and innovative economy
  • Promoting tertiary education through the medium of Welsh
  • Promoting a civic mission
  • Promoting a global outlook

The Bill would also see the existing Higher Education Funding Council for Wales be dissolved.

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Jeremy Miles, minister for education and the Welsh language, said: “Supporting our post-16 education sector to face the future has never been more important.

“Much of the way in which we support and organise post-16 education has been in place for decades. We need to grasp this opportunity for change, so that we empower our education providers to be part of a diverse, agile and collaborative sector that delivers for learners throughout their lives, as well as for employers and communities.

“This Bill gives us the tools to do that. In establishing the commission, this Bill gives Wales a new national steward for tertiary education and research, with the interest of learners at its heart.

“It will take a system-wide view, supporting learners throughout their lives with the knowledge and skills to succeed. It will help secure independent and diverse institutions that will make significant contributions to national wellbeing and prosperity.

“For the first time in Welsh legislation, we set out what we believe, what we want and what we need from a successful and prosperous post-16 education and research sector.  

“The nine national strategic duties for the Commission embody that vision and provide the long-term strategic framework for what this vital and varied sector needs to deliver – as we recover, renew and reform.”

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