Welsh Parliament Petitions Committee considers Sinclairslaw Petition

Sinclairslaw CEO Mr Michael Charles is pleased to confirm that his petition to the Welsh Parliament has now been reviewed by the Welsh Parliament Petitions Committee and the committee has confirmed that it will write to the Minister for Education to recommend that the coronavirus is considered to be an exceptional circumstance within the meaning of the Welsh government guidance for learners with additional needs up to the age of 25.

On Wednesday the 9 June 2020 the Petitions Committee considered our petition entitled: “An emergency amendment to extend age of entitlement to additional educational support from 25 to 26 and to define within Government guidance the Covid-19 pandemic as an exceptional circumstance” (https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/1801) .

The petition called upon the Welsh Parliament to direct the Welsh Government to urgently amend the Learning and Skills Act to allow for funding within specialist colleges to he extended from the age of 25 to 26 for those affected by the Covid19 pandemic and to urgently scrap or amend its guidance document no: 221/2017 November 2017 so that the Covid19 crisis is defined as an exceptional circumstance.

The meeting was chaired by Janet Finch-Saunders MS and was attended by Committee members Leanne Wood MS, Neil McEvoy MS and Jack Sargent MS, all of whom universally supported the petition.

Leanne Wood MS said that the petition contained a “perfectly reasonable request” stating that case by case applications were “unrealistic”.

Neil McEvoy MS stated the current rules were “a poor show” saying that the committee should take the unprecedented step to issue a press release. He described the circumstances confronting post 16 learners in Wales as “disgusting”.

Jack Sargent MS said covid19 should meet the “exceptional circumstances” test.

The Committee confirmed that it would write the Minister for Education accordingly to request further information on the nature of the exceptional circumstances test and confirmed that they would issue a press release through their twitter page which was posted later that day:

Senedd Tweet

The Committee’s consideration is available at Senedd.tv: http://www.senedd.tv/Meeting/Clip/bf2763bf-4abc-4e5e-9ae0-1c09be6020fc?inPoint=00:01:03&outPoint=00:08:33

Following the Committee’s decision, Sinclairslaw CEO Mr Michael Charles stated: “I am totally delighted and in fact proud that we may have started a motion for real change.”

We at Sinclairslaw remain committed to assisting children and young people whose education has been disrupted by the Coronavirus. We confirm that are petition to the UK Parliament to raise the age for SEN support for those in England who are affected by the Coronavirus remains available to sign: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/317189?fbclid=IwAR1Unzmfk71QlnHT7_v55TpUT0JaON0cEdCiiDAiF04osBhBdd1jQX6Ff7I

If you or any person you know would like further information on how your access to education will be affected by the Coronavirus please contact our expert team at education@sinclairslaw.co.uk

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