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More than half of young people in Wales want the voting age lowered

More than half of young people in Wales want the voting age lowered to 16, according to a National Assembly for Wales consultation. They received more than 10,000 responses, the biggest ever for an Assembly consultation, finding that:

  • 53% want the voting age lowered to 16
  • 29% want the voting age to stay at 18
  • 79% think it's important for young people to learn about politics

The decision on whether to give the Welsh Assembly powers to change the voting age rests with Westminster, where a new draft Wales Bill is being worked on.

Megan Boot went to the National Assembly to find out why so many young people think a change in voting age is so important:

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Education Minister: Foreign languages should start in primary school

The Welsh Education Minister says he wants pupils to start learning a modern foreign language at the age of 9 or 10, rather than waiting until secondary school to do so.

Speaking at a conference this afternoon, Huw Lewis said he would like Wales to become a ‘Bilingual plus 1’ nation, with pupils learning English, Welsh, but also a modern foreign language from Year 5 in primary school.

The Education Minister wants to say languages like French and German taught in primary school. Credit: PA

Our challenge is to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the new global economy.

I want our young people to understand that a sound knowledge of another language can help them get ahead in life, in education and the competitive world and I want to reverse the recent UK-wide decline in the take up of MFL here in Wales.

To ensure success in this area I believe we should start introducing additional languages at a much younger age.

I want us to be a nation where it is the norm for pupils to learn and become excited by a modern foreign language from Year 5 of Primary school, and well before making the transition to secondary school.

– Huw Lewis, Education Minister

He said he will now ask an expert group to look into when a change could be made.

Last month, a report from the British Council Wales and CfBT Education Trust warned there has been a 'significant decline' in the learning of modern foreign languages in schools here.

The Welsh Government says its £480,000 plan to improve modern foreign languages in Wales will come into effect from September.

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NUT welcomes newly announced curriculum reforms

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has welcomed the Welsh Education Minister, Huw Lewis's reforms of the curriculum.

We welcome the fact the Education Minister has accepted the principles of the Donaldson review in full. We also welcome the very sensible approach the Minister has taken in not setting unrealistic timescales for implementation.

The proposals are a radical departure from how the curriculum has been delivered in the past and will require a major change, not only in how the teaching profession go about their work, but also in how local authorities, regional consortia, Estyn and the Welsh Government act.

– Owen hathway, NUT Cymru
  1. Tom Sheldrick

Education Minister confirms curriculum overhaul

The Education Minister has confirmed that Wales will press ahead with plans to overhaul the school curriculum here.

Proposals include making digital skills a priority, giving teachers more freedom, and making smoother transitions between subjects and year groups.

Huw Lewis told Assembly Members this afternoon he will accept the recommendations from Prof Graham Donaldson's report in full.

Education Minister Huw Lewis has not put a timescale on implementing curriculum changes.

We need a curriculum which is ambitious, engaging and fit for the challenges of the twenty first century.

The national curriculum of 1988 has served an important purpose, but we can no longer address the weaknesses of the current curriculum through a 'patch and mend' approach.

– Huw Lewis, Education Minister

He announced a search for pioneer schools who will help shape the new curriculum, and an Independent Advisory Group that will oversee progress.

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