Plans for an investment of £20 million for those with addition learning needs have been announced by Minister for Lifelong Learning Alun Davies.
The Welsh Government wants to improve results and aspirations of those who need extra support in the education system. £10m of the funding is part of the additional £100 million extra investment over the Assembly term to improve school standards.
The new funding will be supplemented by an investment directed from existing budgets – expected to be a further £10m over the remaining Assembly term. While this is subject to confirmation of budgets at the next spending review, protecting this funding will be a priority.
In December the Welsh Government revealed proposals for an ambitious law to create a bold new approach to supporting learners with additional learning needs (ALN). If passed, the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Bill will completely overhaul the system for supporting pupils with ALN, affecting every classroom in Wales.
The £20 million of planned investment will support ALN learners in a range of ways over the next five years, including helping the education sector transfer to new system set out in the Bill, encouraging organisations to work closely together, developing the workforce and raising awareness of ALN.
Last year just 23% of learners with ALN achieved five good GCSE’s including Maths and Welsh or English compared to 59% of all pupils and Ministers want to improve on this.
Alun Davies said:
“Our aim is to raise standards and extend opportunities for all our young people. Children and young people with additional learning needs make up almost a quarter of our school population; we cannot raise standards without targeting resources and improvement activities towards this group of learners.
“This £20m funding package builds on investments we have already made in transforming additional learning needs provision in Wales.
“This funding will help develop the skills of frontline staff to better support ALN learners. It is essential that all staff including early years professionals, teachers, FE lecturers and support staff are all aware of the new approach.
“Our ambition is for classroom teachers and FE lecturers will have the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all learners. We want to ensure the new system is introduced in a way which ensures learners with additional learning needs are able to access the benefits of the new system as quickly as possible, balanced against the need to ensure services and professionals are ready to deliver it.”