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Plaid Cymru concerned over cuts to apprenticeships

Plaid Cymru has expressed its dismay over cuts to the Young Recruits Programme and apprenticeships.

The party found that £7 million of in-year cuts are being made to the Welsh Government's education and skills budget, affecting the schemes.

Despite the high demand for apprenticeships, the Deputy Minister for Education and Skills has confirmed that the programme is to be changed.

We have been open about the scale of the financial challenges we face. These reductions have been made after careful consideration of all available options.

Let's be clear - we are delivering on our budget agreement. In spite of these reductions, we have been able to maintain funding for traineeships, and we are continuing to fund Apprenticeships for those aged 16-24 and Higher Level Apprenticeships.

Our Young Recruits Programme has been extremely popular and has exceeded its target. In order to continue to offer the programme, we have had to restrict eligibility for future recruitment to participants progressing into apprenticeships from Jobs Growth Wales and apprentices on an approved Shared Apprenticeship Scheme.

– Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Skill and Technology

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Pupils at Gower College celebrate their A-Level results

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This group of girls were pleased with their results Credit: ITV News Wales

Pupils at Gower College in Swansea were celebrating their A-Level results this morning.

Principal Mark Jones said: "A fantastic set of results. We've got 98% pass rates this year, and 25% of those getting their results have got A or A* grades. Today is a day of great celebration."

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It was good news for this student, who will now go to Nottingham University Credit: ITV News Wales

Read more: Share your results selfies with us!

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Celebrating their results at Gower College in Swansea Credit: ITV News Wales

Education Minister 'very pleased' with results

The Education Minister said he is 'very pleased' with today's A-level results across Wales.

This morning he visited Gower College Swansea to congratulate students receiving their A-level grades.

The proportion of students in Wales getting top grades at A-level has risen for the first time in five years, and is catching up with the rest of the UK.

The A level pass rate in Wales remains high and that’s something we should all be welcoming. Once again our students have done us proud. They have worked incredibly hard with the support of their teachers and their parents. They should be commended and their achievements celebrated.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

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NUT sends congratulations to A-Level students

NUT Cymru, Wales’ largest union for qualified teachers, has sent its congratulations to the thousands of students across Wales celebrating their A Level results today.

“Students and teachers across Wales should be proud of the results they have secured. Many months and years of hard work and dedication have gone into ensuring that these high standards have been achieved...It is particularly pleasing to see progress being made in the percentage of students receiving the top A-A* grades in key subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and further Mathematics. These are a strong set of results that should rightly be commended and celebrated.”

– Owen Hathway, NUT Cymru Policy Officer

Record number receive Welsh Baccalaureate

The number of students who have received the advanced diploma in the Welsh Baccalaureate has increased again, as it is rolled out across Wales.

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There has been an increase in students receiving the Welsh Baccalaureate. Credit: PA

It aims to give teenagers a broader education than A-level subjects, with work experience and voluntary placements.

Welsh Baccalaureate 2014 results:

  • 10, 666 entered (up from 10, 362 last year)
  • 9, 888 passed (up from 8, 565 last year)
  • 87.1% pass rate (up from 82.7% last year)

The Welsh Bac. will play an increasing important role from September 2015, becoming the overarching framework for 14 to 19-year-olds' qualifications in Wales, under Welsh Government changes.

Wales closing gap on rest of UK in top A-level grades

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There has been a rise in Welsh students receiving A or A* grades. Credit: ITV Wales

The proportion of students in Wales getting top grades at A-level has risen for the first time in five years, and is catching up with the rest of the UK.

23.3 per cent of Welsh students received an A* or A this year. That proportion is lower than the UK as a whole - at 26 per cent - although the UK figure has fallen slightly from last year.

The A-level pass rate in Wales dropped very slightly to 97.5%, just behind the UK average.

A-level 2014 results:

  • In Wales, 23.3% received A* or A - up from 22.9% last year
  • Across UK, 26.0% received A* or A - down from 26.3% last year
  • In Wales, 97.5% received A*-E - down from 97.6% last year
  • Across UK, 98.0% received A*-E - down from 98.1% last year

There were 35,492 examination entries in Wales this year - exam boards estimate that students take an average of three A-levels.

Education Minister praises Welsh exam results

Education and Skills Minister Huw Lewis has praised students in Wales for a strong set of A-Level and Welsh Baccalaureate results.

The A and AS level results published today show that for students in Wales 97.5% of A Level entries resulted in a pass, 75.2% of A Level entries resulted in a pass at grade A*- C and 85.7% of AS entries resulted in a pass.

“I was very pleased to see the progress our students are making in achieving the higher grades, particularly in key subjects such as physics, history and chemistry which all showed improved A*-A pass rates compared to last year. Our performance at A*-C for mathematics, chemistry and history also compares favourably with other parts of the UK and performance at English at A*-C has made great strides. These subjects are important for our economy and will stand students in good stead for the future."

– Huw Lewis, Education and Skills Minister

The Minister also welcomed news that Oxford University has offered more Welsh students places this year than in the past four years, with a total of 86 offers.

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