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Education System

Education system in Wales - graduation day for three students

Education is important to us in Wales. It’s thought that Britain’s first university was set up by St Illtud on the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales in the 6th century.

Education in Wales is compulsory from the ages of 5 to 16 with around 465,000 attending free state schools.

Another 65,000 students between 16 and 19 are in vocational training or in further education institutions. A number of overseas pupils are also enrolled in our private fee-paying schools.

A significant number of students all over Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh and lessons in the language are compulsory for all until the age of 16. Welsh medium education is available to all age groups from nursery through to schools, colleges, universities and adult education.

Today the student population in Wales is large and diverse; there are 9 universities and 20 further education colleges and institutions. We have around 172,000 learners studying at further education institutions per year.

If you’re interested in joining the 18,000 international students from over 170 countries currently enrolled in higher education here, contact one of our 9 universities

Find out more on our study pages.

For more information on the education system in Wales, see the Welsh Government's education and training pages.

If you would like information on enrolling your child at a local state school, you will need to contact the relevant local authority.

The Independent Schools Council has contact details of independent schools in Wales. 

For a full range of English language courses in Wales, visit the Learn English in Wales website.