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Education Bill cannot be supported at this stage - Aled Roberts AM

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats

As the general principles of the Education (Wales) Bill are debated at the National Assembly for Wales, Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Education Minister, said:

"Within the Bill, the assessment of post-16 education and training for pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities must always be based on need, and it is crucial that local authorities - working together - can meet that need. Many of the members of the Assembly's Children and Young People Committee, which is scrutinising the Bill, have concerns that delays to the overhaul of the special educational needs system should be explained and a decision taken as to whether separate legislative reform of the post-16 system is the best way forward.

"We sought assurances from the Minister today on the timely introduction of overall SEN reform, but the Minister refused to accept the recommendations of the scrutinising committee, and that decision, coupled with the lack of robust financial data, means that the Welsh Liberal Democrats cannot support the Education Bill as it currently stands.

"As ever, the devil is in the detail, and whilst I support any efforts to improve teaching and learning, it is essential that those with the responsibility of implementing the Bill's aims are given the resources to do the job properly.

"The Education Minister seems intent on pushing through this legislation, even though he heard evidence which robustly contradicts his views.

"The Bill is simply not acceptable as it stands and I look forward to the Minister providing clear information and appropriate amendments during the next stage".

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