Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
On 18 June, I issued a Written Ministerial Statement saying that I would be publishing for consultation a draft Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill before recess. I confirmed this in the oral statement made in plenary on 23 June. It is therefore with great pleasure that I am able to announce today that a draft Bill has now been published.
The draft Bill builds upon the White Paper, Legislative Proposals for Additional Learning Needs, which I issued in May 2014 and which received strong support amongst those working with learners. However, in addition to providing the legislative detail of how the proposals set out in the White Paper might be realised, the draft Bill also includes some new provisions. In particular, it sets out new provisions which have the potential to significantly improve multi-agency working around the planning and delivery of provision for learners with additional learning needs, especially across the education and health sectors.
Alongside the draft Bill, I am also publishing a draft Explanatory Memorandum, including a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, draft Explanatory Notes, and impact assessments on children’s rights, equalities and the Welsh language. I want those responding to the draft Bill to have full access to all the information that may be useful to them in forming a view about its provisions. In addition, I will be publishing an initial draft of a proposed ALN Code in autumn 2015 in order to support the consultation. Those considering responding to this consultation may also wish to take into account the information contained in the draft Code when it is published.
During the consultation period, officials will be looking to undertake various consultation activities as appropriate. In particular, they will ensure that the views of children and young people are captured through engagement events to be held during the autumn term.
I have no doubt that Assembly Members and others will welcome the draft Bill and accompanying documents and will recognise the very considerable progress that has been made towards designing an effective system of support and planning for those with additional learning needs. As I said in my previous Written Ministerial Statement, I want to see a Bill brought forward for formal scrutiny early in the new Assembly and hope that we can build political consensus around this.
I would therefore be grateful for your careful consideration and comment on the draft Bill. To ensure that the maximum opportunity is provided for this consideration to take place, the consultation on the draft Bill will run until 18 December 2015.