Main Content

Schools and colleges

Education in Wales is compulsory from the ages of 5 to 16. We have 1,635 state schools offering free education to about 465,000 pupils.

Another 65,000 students between 16 and 19 are in vocational training 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.


Further Education

Colleges in Wales are public sector organisations. They offer a wide range of qualifications, including academic qualifications such as A levels, as well as technical, vocational and professional courses for individuals and businesses. Students are recruited across all age ranges, from 16 upwards.

Colleges also work very closely with businesses, developing tailored courses to upskill the workforce. Many college students are in employment and study at college part-time.

International students at a college in Wales may study: 

  • English
  • further education level 3 courses (A levels, International Baccalaureate, BTEC Nationals, work-based learning, technical qualifications, courses tailored to businesses)
  • higher education levels 4 -5 (HND / HNC / Foundation Degree)
  • professional certificates / diplomas.