Children and young people in Wales with additional learning needs are set to benefit from an £8m extra investment.
The funding is part of the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget for 2020-21 and will support children and young people with additional needs to receive a high-quality education and reach their full potential.
The investment will support local authorities and further education colleges in providing education for children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN). The new amount is in addition to the £20m package currently supporting the implementation of the new ALN system over this Assembly term.
ALN education is being transformed in Wales, following the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act, which became law last year. A new statutory support system for children and young people with ALN is due to come into force in September 2021.
Making the announcement, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams said:
“We remain determined to ensure that all learners, no matter their background, are supported to meet their full potential.
“We recognise that local authorities continue to face significant pressures in supporting young people with additional learning needs. The investment we are announcing is specifically targeted to help manage those pressures and provide the best possible education for learners, while implementing our ambitious programme of ALN reform.
“We can be proud that Wales is leading the way with our ALN reforms. Our changes will ensure we identify those with ALN as early as possible, so we can work with them and their families to plan tailored support to meet their needs.
“We are changing the expectations, experiences and outcomes for young people to help all our learners achieve their full potential.”
Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:
“I welcome the Welsh Government’s plans to give this much-needed boost to the system. My Investigation and Advice Service is contacted more frequently about support for additional learning needs than any other issue and my case work shows that children and young people do not always get what they need.
“It is essential to invest now, both so that children and young people can be supported immediately and to increase our capacity across Wales before the new law is implemented.”