ABSTRACT

Situated in the western part of the British Isles, Wales is not a large country in terms of geographical area or population. With a population of just over three million, Wales has fewer people than many regions in England and is smaller than many other countries in Europe. The mountainous nature of Wales means that much of the country is sparsely populated, with over 50% of this population located in the south and south east, which is historically an area of heavy industry but today contains areas of high unemployment and social deprivation alongside areas of economic regeneration. Large areas of the north, central and western parts of Wales are rural, with more than one-half of rural primary schools in Wales having 90 or fewer pupils and classified as ‘small’. They are connected by a typically rural transport system with limited accessibility to universities, professional development and leadership development support, and to fast broadband information technology.