If you are considering a posting in Wales, or have recently relocated there, you may be interested to learn more about the Welsh education system and support available to Service families.

The Welsh education system

Education in Wales is devolved, this means the overall policy and regulations are set by the Welsh Government.  Education is free in state schools in Wales and the Local Authority is responsible for providing education in the area where you live.

Every child is required by law to receive full-time education from the beginning of the school term following their fifth birthday, although most children in Wales will be offered a place in a Reception class at the beginning of the school year (September) in which they become five.

Children aged 4-11 usually attend primary school in Wales and then move to secondary school from the age of 11. Some areas in Wales may offer campuses that provide education from 3-18.

Local Authority Family Information Services (FIS) provide information and support on services in Wales, including childcare and education.

Early Years and childcare in Wales

Eligible parents and guardians in Wales can apply for Government funded childcare and early education for up to 30 hours a week. The Welsh Government website has information on Early Education, Childcare and the Childcare Offer for Wales.

From the start of the 2022 Autumn term, Wraparound Childcare (WAC) funding will be available to eligible Service families with children aged 4 to 11 years, who are in school or being home schooled in the UK. If eligible, Service personnel can claim up to 20 hours per week of funding for each child that is attending before and after school care during term time. WAC is known as ‘Out of School care’ in Wales. Discover My Benefits has information on the WAC scheme.

As with schools, the amount of Welsh that is taught and spoken varies in different settings – some providers may offer provision in Welsh, English or offer bilingual provision. We suggest Service families based in Wales or considering moving to the area contact the local HIVE and/or local providers to ensure they are well informed about the provision available in the local area.

The Curriculum for Wales

The Curriculum for Wales 2022 is designed to help all learners aged 3 – 16 develop as:

  • Ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • Ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society

Additional Learning Needs

In Wales, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are referred to as Additional Learning Needs (ALN). The Welsh Government website has information on Additional Learning Needs guidance and services, including the ALN Code and regulations.

The Education Advisory Team offer information and advice to Service personnel and families related to education-related issues such as SEND/ALN.

Outside of sources specifically for defence, parents and carers can find advice and guidance from independent advice services including SNAP Cymru. SNAP Cymru is a national charity who offer free and independent information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of SEND/ALN.

Welsh language studies

Study of the Welsh Language is compulsory in all schools in Wales. The amount of Welsh that is taught varies depending on the type of school.

JSP 752 (Tri-Service Regulations for Expenses and Allowances) is the policy and guidance document used to determine entitlement to expenses and allowances. Chapter 14, Section 6 of JSP 752 includes information on the Day School Allowance (North Wales). The aim of Day School Allowance (North Wales) is to assist any accompanied Service parent on assignment in North Wales with the costs of independent day schooling where tuition is given exclusively in English. Payment of the allowance is limited to those areas where teaching in the State sector is on a bilingual or non-English basis. If you are considering placing your child in a school eligible for payment of the Day School Allowance (North Wales), you must seek guidance from the Education Advisory Team before entering into any firm contractual arrangement with the school.

Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru have information on the Welsh Language in their Service Family Guide. SSCE Cymru also have information for Service families on Learning Welsh including information and advice as well as links to activities, games and resources.


Qualifications Wales is the independent organisation responsible for regulating general and vocational qualifications in Wales. Their website has information on different types and levels of qualifications that may be taken by learners in schools, colleges, the workplace, community settings or elsewhere, including GCSEs and A levels, the Welsh Baccalaureate and vocational qualifications.

GOV.WALES also has information on the qualifications available to students in Wales.

School leaving age

The UK Government website has guidance on the school leaving age which varies depending on where you live in the UK.

In Wales, you can leave school on the last Friday in June, as long as you’ll be 16 by the end of that school year’s summer holidays.

Support for 16+ Learners

Careers Wales offer information and careers advice to help you to plan your career, prepare to get a job, and find and apply for the right apprenticeships, courses and training. Careers Wales have information on Options at 16 and can help you understand what your options are and give you some ideas to help you choose.

Guidance for students from an Armed Forces background considering applying to higher education institutions is available from GOV.UKUCAS and the Service Children’s Progression Alliance.

Help with tuition fees

Students may be able to get help paying for university or college tuition fees and living costs and each nation of the UK has its own funding agency. Got to Student finance (gov.uk) for information on what is available for students applying from different areas of the UK. Higher education for Service children(gov.uk) has key information about higher education for Service children including funding, applying for university and top tips.

Student Finance Wales has information on the funding available to eligible students in further and higher education.

Welsh term dates

For school term and holiday dates in Wales visit gov.uk

Education Support for Service families

The Education Advisory Team (EAT) provide information, advice and guidance regarding the education of Service Children in the UK. Service personnel and families can contact the EAT for support with education-related matters via email at [email protected].

Funding for Education

Go to our Support for Children and Young People page for information on support available to children from an Armed Forces background – including charitable organisations who are able to award financial grants to eligible Service children to support with educational costs.

Useful Links and Resources

Further guidance on education in Wales is available on the SSCE Cymru website, including the SSCE Cymru Service Family Guide with information on education and living in Wales and the support that is available to schools, parents/carers and Service children.

The following links may also be of interest to Service families considering relocating to Wales: