‘Change of approach needed’ to see fewer SEN pupils excluded | ‘Angen newid agwedd’ er mwyn gwahardd llai o ddisgyblion ag AAA

Children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) are being significantly over-represented in permanent and temporary exclusions from Wales’ schools, according to information obtained by the Welsh Conservatives.

Pupils with SEN made up 60% of all permanent exclusions from maintained schools in Wales – 99 out of 165 – despite only making up 23% of the school population (105,577 out of 466,508).

Of the 12 permanently excluded pupils in Powys, ten had SEN; nine out of 12 in Flintshire; and six out of eight in Denbighshire.

Rhondda Cynon Taf had the highest total of permanent exclusions (20) and the highest number of SEN pupils permanently excluded (13) too.

The Welsh Government data also shows that more than two thirds of pupils temporarily excluded from schools had SEN: 68% of those excluded for fewer than five days had special educational needs, as did 67% of those excluded for more than five days.

Rhondda Cynon Taf acquired the most fixed term exclusions of under five days – 1,870 – with 1,238 (66%) of them having SEN, while Caerphilly had the most fixed term exclusions of over five days – 110 – with 72 (65%) of them having SEN.

The Welsh Conservatives secured amendments to the Additional Learning Needs Act 2018 that meant children with additional learning needs can expect to have their rights taken into consideration by the public bodies that make decisions on the support they receive.

However, these figures suggest that this is not the case and improvements in educational provision for ALN pupils is too slow, with children potentially missing out on their education.

The figures were revealed in response to a Written Assembly Question from Welsh Conservative Angela Burns AM. She said a “change of approach was necessary.”

She added “These figures are worrying because they suggest that exclusions are not being used as a matter of last resort, but as the norm for children with SEN.

“There needs to be an urgent overhaul in how educational staff deal with SEN pupils who are disruptive, and realise they do not necessarily behave in that way through choice.

“Welsh Government must now work with local authorities and schools to ensure that this number starts to drop to ensure that SEN pupils don’t miss out on an education and that teachers are trained to deal with disruptive pupils and not have to use exclusions so often.”

Shadow Education Minister Suzy Davies AM commented: “The fact that pupils with additional needs are massively over-represented in school exclusion figures is something that needs addressing immediately. I’m not convinced that the new Additional Learning Needs Code will solve the problem - and could inadvertently make it worse.

“There is growing concern that the costs of meeting all an individual’s learning needs will provide a perverse incentive against formally identifying them in the first place. If fewer pupils get early intervention for their learning needs, there’s a risk that they could develop unhappy behaviour for which they will be punished.

“There’s good practice out there, helping keep as many children in school as possible. I’m looking to the regional consortia to start sharing it now as this problem cannot continue.”

 

Mae plant ag AAA (Anghenion Addysgol Arbennig) wedi’u gorgynrychioli’n sylweddol ymhlith gwaharddiadau parhaol a thros dro o ysgolion Cymru, yn ôl gwybodaeth a gasglwyd gan y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig.

Roedd disgyblion ag AAA yn 60% o’r holl waharddiadau parhaol o’r ysgolion a gynhelir yng Nghymru – 99 o 165 – er mai dim ond 23% o’r boblogaeth ysgol ydyn nhw (105,577 o 466,508).

O’r 12 disgybl sydd wedi’u gwahardd yn barhaus ym Mhowys, roedd deg ag AAA; naw o blith y 12 yn Sir y Fflint; a chwech o blith yr wyth yn Sir Ddinbych.

Rhondda Cynon Taf oedd â’r cyfanswm uchaf o waharddiadau parhaol (20) a’r cyfanswm uchaf o ddisgyblion ag AAA wedi’u gwahardd hefyd (13).

Hefyd, mae data Llywodraeth Cymru yn dangos bod AAA gan mwy na dwy ran o dair o ddisgyblion a waharddwyd dros dro o’r ysgol: roedd anghenion addysgol arbennig gan 68% o’r rhai a waharddwyd am lai na phum diwrnod, a 67% o’r rhai a waharddwyd am fwy na phum diwrnod.

Rhondda Cynon Taf oedd â’r nifer mwyaf o waharddiadau tymor penodol dan bum diwrnod – 1,870 – gyda 1,238 (66%) ohonynt ag AAA, a Chaerffili oedd â’r nifer fwyaf o waharddiadau tymor penodol oedd yn fwy na phum diwrnod – 110 – gyda 72 (65%) ohonynt ag AAA.

Sicrhaodd y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig welliannau i Ddeddf Anghenion Dysgu Ychwanegol 2018 a olygai y gall plant ag anghenion dysgu ychwanegol ddisgwyl i’w hawliau gael eu hystyried gan y sefydliadau cyhoeddus sy’n gwneud penderfyniadau ar y cymorth a dderbyniant.

Fodd bynnag, mae’r ffigurau hyn yn awgrymu nad dyma’r achos a bod gwelliannau i ddisgyblion ac ADY yn rhy araf, gyda phlant o bosibl yn colli cyfleoedd addysgol.

Datgelwyd y ffigurau mewn ymateb i Gwestiwn Ysgrifenedig i’r Cynulliad gan Aelod Cynulliad y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig, Angela Burns. Dywedodd fod angen newid agwedd.

Ychwanegodd “Mae’r ffigurau hyn yn destun pryder oherwydd maen nhw’n awgrymu nad yw gwaharddiadau yn cael eu defnyddio fel y cam olaf un, ond fel mater o drefn ar gyfer plant ag AAA.

“Mae angen cael adolygiad brys o’r modd y mae staff addysg yn ymdrin â phlant ag AAA sy’n tarfu ar eraill, a sylweddoli nad yw eu hymddygiad o reidrwydd yn rhywbeth maen nhw’n dewis ei wneud.

“Bellach mae’n rhaid i Lywodraeth Cymru gydweithio ag awdurdodau lleol ac ysgolion i sicrhau bod y niferoedd hyn yn dechrau lleihau er mwyn sicrhau nad yw disgyblion ag AAA yn colli cyfleoedd i gael addysg a bod athrawon yn cael eu hyfforddi i ymdrin â disgyblion sy’n tarfu ar eraill gan beidio â defnyddio gwaharddiadau mor aml.”

Meddai’r Gweinidog Addysg Cysgodol, Suzy Davies AC: “Mae’r ffaith fod disgyblion ag anghenion ychwanegol yn cael eu gorgynrychioli yn sylweddol yn y ffigurau gwahardd o ysgolion yn rhywbeth sydd angen sylw ar frys. Dydw i ddim wedi fy argyhoeddi y bydd y Cod Anghenion Dysgu Ychwanegol yn datrys y broblem – a gallai’n ddiarwybod wneud y sefyllfa’n waeth.

“Mae pryder cynyddol y bydd y costau o ddiwallu’r holl anghenion dysgu sydd gan unigolyn yn gymhelliant i beidio â nodi anghenion yn ffurfiol yn y lle cyntaf. Os bydd llai o ddisgyblion yn cael ymyrraeth gynnar ar gyfer eu hanghenion dysgu, mae perygl y gallen nhw ddatblygu ymddygiad anhapus a gaiff ei gosbi maes o law.

“Mae enghreifftiau o arferion da ar lawr gwlad, sy’n helpu i gadw cynifer o blant â phosibl yn yr ysgol. Rwy’n disgwyl i’r consortia rhanbarthol ddechrau rhannu’r arferion hynny yn awr, oherwydd ni ddylai’r broblem hon barhau.”