Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
The Education (Wales) Measure 2009 (‘Measure’) is a pioneering piece of legislation that makes provision for children in Wales to have a right of appeal in respect of special educational needs (SEN) and the right to make a claim of disability discrimination in schools, to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (‘SENTW’) themselves. The Measure also places duties on local authorities to give affect to these new rights.
Following the Measure, the Education (Wales) Measure 2009 (Pilot) Regulations 2012 (‘pilot regulations’) were made to enable the new rights and duties under the Measure to be piloted in the local authority areas of Carmarthenshire and Wrexham until 30 June 2015. The duration of the pilot allows for the rights and duties to be evaluated and for an order to be made to amend the Measure if necessary. Once the pilot regulations cease to have effect, the rights and duties will automatically apply to the whole of Wales.
Section 17(3) of the Measure requires the Welsh Ministers to publish a report of how the piloted provisions were implemented and how effective they were in promoting the well-being of children. It also requires the Welsh Ministers to lay a copy of the report before the National Assembly for Wales.
Following an evaluation into the two pilots, I am pleased to be able to lay before the National Assembly for Wales today, a copy of the evaluation report in accordance with section 17(3) of the Measure.
I would like to take this opportunity to give my thanks to the pilot authorities of Carmarthenshire and Wrexham and to the SENTW for their hard work in piloting these significant rights for children.
Given the positive findings of the evaluation report, I have decided to bring forward the new rights and duties to come into force across Wales in January 2015. The Welsh Government will work with local authorities to ensure they have the necessary information, guidance and support to deliver the duties placed upon them.