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£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.