Plans to increase additional learning needs capacity in Blaenau Gwent welcomed
A proposal to increase the capacity to increase the ability of Blaenau Gwent schools to teach children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) have been welcomed.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s People Scrutiny Committee on Friday, April 28, members looked at the report that proposed increasing the capacity at “resource bases” inside schools.
This is because all the council’s current ALN places are filled, and new ones are being created to cope with extra demand.
A public consultation on the changes started on Monday, April 24.
Co-opted committee member and headteacher of St Mary’s RC Primary School in Brynmawr, Tim Baxter said: “It’s really timely that we are preparing for increased support for pupils with ALN. It’s great and clearly meeting a need.
“Looking at the consultation I thought it was good that we have considered a fair geographical spread of resource bases and also being inclusive and included Welsh and from my point of view faith schools as well.
“I thought it was a really nice and positive way forward.”
Cllr Julie Holt explained that she had a background working in further education as the head of learner service for Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone and this included putting in support packages in place for students with ALN needs.
Cllr Holt said: “We’ve been crying out for this for years I’m glad to see the spread up and down both the valleys and it’s inclusive.
“Transition from one school to another is never easy, but when you have a learner with an ALN it’s really difficult.
“I think this will make for a smooth transition right through the school community and on into further education.
“It’s fantastic, much needed and well overdue.”
Councillors agreed to note the report.
At the moment there are 61 primary school pupils and 62 secondary school pupils receiving targeted support in Blaenau Gwent schools.
The proposal is to increase the capacity to be able to accommodate 86 children in primary schools which includes creating 15 Welsh medium places.
The ALN capacity in secondary schools would go up to 80 places.
The proposals would also see pupils provided with ALN education outside of Blaenau Gwent brought back into the county borough schools.
A report on the outcome of the consultation will return to cabinet.
If agreed, creating the extra spaces could start being rolled out from next September.
- The extra ALN capacity would be at:
- Six places at Ebbw Fawr 3-16 learning community;
- Six to eight places at Tredegar Comprehensive school;
- 10 places at Sofrydd primary school;
- 15 Welsh medium places at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg;
- Six places at The River Centre – 3 to 16 Learning Community.
By BBC LDRS
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