55 students from Coleg Sir Gâr, whose academic level ranged from E1 through to E3/L1, took part in a recent Assembly inquiry on proposed changes to the additional learning needs (ALN) framework for young people in Wales.
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill aims to create a unified system for supporting learners aged 0-25, and is being scrutinised by the Children, Young People and Education Committee before being debated in the Senedd.
In a series of workshops held at the Ammanford campus, Coleg Sir Gâr students learned about the role of the National Assembly and how politics affects their lives, before contributing their views on the proposed changes and other issues that affect young people with ALN.
Points raised by the students included:
- Sometimes there are unacceptable delays in identifying additional learning needs and providing the support needed.
- Extra training is needed for teachers and support staff in mainstream schools, so that they have better awareness of the emotional needs of pupils with ALN.
- More help is needed when it comes to job applications. Many of the students were keen on finding employment, but felt overwhelmed by the application process. Some felt it would be useful to be mentored by another young person with ALN who’s already had success in securing paid work.
- There are very few opportunities available to young people with ALN once they complete further education. This has been worsened by the closure of Remploy factories.
- Lack of job opportunities can have a considerable impact on young people’s confidence and their ability to be independent.
- Funding cuts to taxi services can represent a real barrier to young people completing their further education, as many find the prospect of using public transport overwhelming.
If you’d like to have your say on additional learning needs provision in Wales, or would like to find out more about the proposed changes please visit: