Why isn’t politics taught more in schools?

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The voting age in Wales has been lowered to include sixteen and seventeen-year-olds. This meant that approximately 100,000 new voters were eligible to vote for the first time, leading some people to argue that further political education is required.

  • May 2021 - 16 and 17 year olds and foreign citizens resident in Wales were able to register to vote at Senedd elections for the first time
  • May 2022 - 16 and 17 year olds and foreign citizens resident in Wales were able to register to vote at local elections for the first time

Later in 2022, an Electoral Commission’s report into the Welsh local government election found that although turnout among 16 and 17 year olds in the 2021 Senedd elections seemed largely in line with other younger age groups, young people were put off from voting as they did not know how to go about taking part in the democratic process, or about the candidates, parties and roles/responsibilities of different levels of government.

Only one in five Welsh 16 and 17 year olds registered to vote ahead of the local government election in May 2022. However, despite this being the lowest turnout amongst younger age groups, research showed that young people are interested in voting. In 2021, Beaufort Research found that 72% of Welsh students between 16-17 wanted the right to vote, suggesting that there are other barriers to young people voting that should be addressed.

In September 2022, the new ‘Curriculum for Wales’ began its rollout in all primary schools in Wales and is now being rolled out in secondary schools. It will support learners to become ethical informed citizens of Wales and the world. Citizenship, and supporting learners to exercise their democratic rights and make political decisions, is a mandatory expectation for all learners in the Curriculum for Wales. This means that all children should develop “an understanding of how systems of government operate”.

Equipping young people with the tools to understand the world around them is pivotal to the strength of the Welsh democracy and can act as building blocks towards young people's long-term interests and careers.


The voting age in Wales has been lowered to include sixteen and seventeen-year-olds. This meant that approximately 100,000 new voters were eligible to vote for the first time, leading some people to argue that further political education is required.

  • May 2021 - 16 and 17 year olds and foreign citizens resident in Wales were able to register to vote at Senedd elections for the first time
  • May 2022 - 16 and 17 year olds and foreign citizens resident in Wales were able to register to vote at local elections for the first time

Later in 2022, an Electoral Commission’s report into the Welsh local government election found that although turnout among 16 and 17 year olds in the 2021 Senedd elections seemed largely in line with other younger age groups, young people were put off from voting as they did not know how to go about taking part in the democratic process, or about the candidates, parties and roles/responsibilities of different levels of government.

Only one in five Welsh 16 and 17 year olds registered to vote ahead of the local government election in May 2022. However, despite this being the lowest turnout amongst younger age groups, research showed that young people are interested in voting. In 2021, Beaufort Research found that 72% of Welsh students between 16-17 wanted the right to vote, suggesting that there are other barriers to young people voting that should be addressed.

In September 2022, the new ‘Curriculum for Wales’ began its rollout in all primary schools in Wales and is now being rolled out in secondary schools. It will support learners to become ethical informed citizens of Wales and the world. Citizenship, and supporting learners to exercise their democratic rights and make political decisions, is a mandatory expectation for all learners in the Curriculum for Wales. This means that all children should develop “an understanding of how systems of government operate”.

Equipping young people with the tools to understand the world around them is pivotal to the strength of the Welsh democracy and can act as building blocks towards young people's long-term interests and careers.

Page last updated: 20 Sep 2023, 10:00 AM