£20m to improve learning spaces for learners with additional learning needs
During a visit to Ysgol y Bedol in Carmarthenshire, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, announced the £20m for schools to transform the experiences of disabled children and those with additional learning needs.
The £20m of capital funding for 2023-24 is allocated to improve the inclusivity of learning environments, create quiet or sensory areas, upgrade or purchase new equipment such as specialist sensory aids, and for works to improve additional learning provision through the medium of Welsh.
This is in addition to the £20m of capital funding the Welsh Government invested in 2022-23 to support disabled learners and those with additional learning needs.
Ysgol y Bedol in Garnant, Carmarthenshire used the grant of £120,000 in 2022-23 to develop a new sensory room and two classrooms specifically equipped to meet the needs of pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as a new outdoor playing area.
Gethin Richards, Headteacher at Ysgol y Bedol, said:
“This development has ensured that our pupils have access to their education in an inclusive environment. The sensory room provides opportunities for pupils to relax and the teaching rooms accommodate the needs of pupils with autism. There are specific areas where they can develop awareness of their emotions and areas for learning, research and playing.
“The outer area is a place for the pupils to explore the world around them in a way that is completely safe for them. In a short time, the pupils have settled into the new classes and made huge progress in their development.
“The resource also allows us to offer expertise and provision to pupils with autism through the medium of Welsh, which is absolutely vital for Welsh-speaking families and children in the area.”
The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:
“This £20m investment will lead to a real difference for disabled learners, and those with additional learning needs, by making sure that our schools are accessible, and have the facilities to support inclusive learning.
"Every child in Wales deserves access to high quality education. I want to make sure every learner can fulfil their potential.”
The investment will support the implementation of education reforms in Wales, including the Additional Learning Needs Act, the Curriculum for Wales and the aim to increase the number of Welsh speakers.
Local authorities will determine the improvements to schools and settings based on local need.
Notes to editors
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles will be visiting Ysgol y Bedol in Garnant, Carmarthenshire on Thursday 28 September. There will be a tour of the new facilities and teachers and pupils are available for filming interview as well as the Education Minister.
For more information or if you wish to attend, please email: email@example.com
An additional case study for North Wales:
Ysgol Tir Morfa Community Special School in Rhyl, received a grant of £453,500 in 2022-23 to create accessible health and wellbeing spaces for learners and to develop therapeutic support including a musical sensory garden, an outdoor gym, outdoor mile-a-day track, and upgraded sensory equipment.
Rhona O’Neill, Head of Ysgol Tir Morfa said:
“The mile-a-day track has encouraged all pupils and staff to exercise more by walking, cycling and scooting while developing social and communication skills. The outdoor gym equipment has provided opportunities for all pupils and staff to embed a healthier lifestyle and promotes opportunities for inclusion across both school sites.
“The installation of the upgraded immersive space has provided a range of learning opportunities and experiences in a safe space. We are absolutely delighted with all these improvements to our school sites and the broader provision they provide to our pupils.”