Proceedings in the Senedd have been adjourned in light of the Westminster terror incident, the Llywydd announces.
- Children, Young People and Education Committee
- Plenary begins at 13.30 with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Education
- Questions to the Counsel General
- Debate by Individual Members on the blue economy
- Debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee report on the implications for Wales of leaving the European Union
- Plaid Cymru debate on procurement policy POSTPONED
- Short Debate: Credit Unions POSTPONED
David Rees, Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, presents the committee's report , which includes six recommendations.
Recommendation 1 reads as follows: "We acknowledge that the Welsh Government's White Paper has provided additional evidence to support the Welsh Government's position. However, we recommend that the Welsh Government publishes all the evidence on which it bases its position, including details of the scenario modelling that has been done across all sectors and the studies it has commissioned internally and from external sources."
Members move on to a debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee report on the implications for Wales of leaving the European Union.
Llywydd Elin Jones tells AMs that security is being reviewed at the Senedd but proceedings continue.
She says she has spoken to security personnel following the incidents at Westminster and is taking "appropriate steps".
In the meantime, the debate in the Scottish Parliament has been suspended.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates says the debate is happening as "deeply concerning events are unfolding at Westminster".
Lee Waters expresses his "condolences and thoughts with our colleagues in Westminster this afternoon, where the incident is being treated as terrorist for now.
"Our solidarity and best wishes are with them all".
Jeremy Miles also calls for "binding statutory timelines" for Natural Resources Wales to decide on marine licenses.
If the £1.3bn Swansea tidal lagoon energy project project is given UK government backing, it would also need a marine licence from Natural Resources Wales.
Llanelli AM Lee Waters said the fact that NRW was taking "so long" to decide on its position surrounding the tidal lagoon could be "catastrophic for the emergence of a new industry" that could benefit Wales in terms of jobs and the world in tackling climate change.
He said that the Welsh Government should look to reclaim some control over marine licensing powers, "should NRW prove unable to discharge them in a responsible manner".
Ministers need to be able to "intervene and be more hands on" in marine licensing process, says Jeremy Miles.
Next in the Siambr is the first of this afternoon's debates.
Jeremy Miles (Neath)Lee Waters (Llanelli)Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales)Jayne Bryant (Newport West)Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire) propose that the assembly:
1. Notes that Wales benefits from a long coast line and the second highest tidal reach in the world.
2. Further notes that economic activity related to the sea is already valued at around £2.1bn in Wales, supporting tens of thousands of jobs.
3. Believes that a strategic commitment to the blue economy will enable Wales to turn our seas into one of our biggest economic assets.
4. Further believes that Wales can be a leader in marine renewable energy, tourism and sport, fishing, food and aquaculture, and marine manufacturing and engineering.
5. Calls on the Welsh Government to bring forward an ambitious Marine Plan to support the sustainable development of the blue economy and to make it a central plank of its new economic strategy.
No AMs take the opportunity to raise issues of topical interest through 90 Second Statements.
There is an Urgent Question to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant:
David Rees (Aberavon): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held with the UK Government regarding the decision to build a prison in Port Talbot?
Mr Rees welcomes the jobs involved but urges caution about the implications for local communities.
BBC Wales understands it will be a Category C prison for up to 1,600 prisoners, although that has not been confirmed by the Ministry of Justice.
The proposed site is undeveloped land north west of the former Panasonic factory in Baglan, alongside the M4.
It is part of the UK government's commitment to creating up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020, backed by £1.3bn to transform the estate.
Last month HMP Berwyn opened in Wrexham - the UK's biggest prison.
The first of the questions tabled to Counsel General Mick Antoniw is:
Julie Morgan (Cardiff North): What assessment has the Counsel General made of the Welsh Government's legislative powers in relation to hunting with dogs?
Mr Antoniw says any assessments are legally privileged.
Julie Morgan's concern is that the Welsh Government would be unable to legislate if bovine TB were found in hounds in Wales as hunting with dogs is a power reserved at Westminster.
UKIP's Michelle Brown presses the minister on what is being done to tackle the "recruitment crisis" in schools in Wales, and says the "Welsh education system has a very poor reputation".
"I disagree with that assumption," says Mr Davies.
Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd says "the strain on schools' finances is very serious, at breaking point in many cases". He asks whether the government accepts the situation is not sustainable.
Mr Davies says he knows that schools "sometimes face very difficult situations because of the financial circumstances that we all know exist".
Darren Millar asks whether the minister is concerned "that almost half of Welsh further education colleges are in significant financial deficit?"
Mr Davies replies that the Wales Audit Office "has not found them to be facing the same financial difficulties as those in England".
Plenary is about to begin with questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Education.
The first of the tabled questions is
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of girls missing school because they can't afford the costs of feminine hygiene products?
Alun Davies, who is answering questions instead of Kirsty Williams today, says no assessment has been made, but that he takes "the well-being of all learners very seriously".
That's the end of the committee meeting.
Senedd Live will be back at 1.30pm for plenary.
If an individual development plan for a child or young person specifies that a particular kind of additional learning provision should be provided in Welsh, the minister stresses that the bill states that a governing body must "take all reasonable steps" to secure that it is provided to the child or young person in Welsh.
He adds, "not just 'take reasonable steps', but 'take all reasonable steps' ".
John Griffiths states some witnesses have said that section 18 of the bill is "insufficiently precise".
Section 18 states: "The bodies specified in subsection (2) may refer a matter to an NHS body, asking it to consider whether there is any relevant treatment or service that is likely to be of benefit in addressing the additional learning needs of a child or young person".
Mr Davies says that is "a significant and stronger duty than previous iterations of the bill" , and he thinks "that sets the bar where it should be".
Alun Davies confirms it is the Welsh Government's intention that all Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinators (ALNCo) will have a Masters qualification, but that "will not happen overnight".
Alun Davies says that because of the committee's evidence sessions - this is the 17th - he has "been thinking again about many aspects of the bill".
Asked whether the definition of Additional Learning Needs is too narrow, at the moment he is content with the definition but is happy to consider amendments.
Giving evidence in the next session on the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill is Alun Davies AM, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language.
With him are
- Catherine Lloyd, Lawyer.
- Tania Nicholson, Head of Additional Learning Needs Legislative Programme
- Emma Williams, Deputy Director, Support for Learners
- Mair Roberts, Lawyer.
The members are meeting in private for the next item - to agree an approach to the First 1,000 Days Consultation - before having a short break until 11am.
SNAP Cymru provides information, advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs or disabilities.
According to Denise Inger, the chief executive, "policies and provision across Wales should not be a post code lottery and should be delivered on a policy and a procedure for Wales.
"Good practice should be better shared and provision must be enhanced, accepting that the whole transformation agenda will take time."
Cath Lewis explains that overall Children in Wales welcomes the three overarching objectives of the reforms. However she says that the bill "does not fully deliver on these objectives in a satisfactory way".
She says that Children in Wales "strongly believes that the Bill should include provision for a duty of due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People on the face of the Bill".
She adds that "this represents a missed opportunity to help ensure that the conventions are fully embedded in the legislation".
"A lot of work is still needed" on the bill, according to Debbie Thomas from the National Deaf Children’s Society.
She welcomes many aspects of the bill and acknowledges that some steps forward have been taken.
She says NDCS Cymru does not object to any of the core aims, but is concerned the bill "will not sufficiently deliver on these intended aims".
Giving evidence are:
Rhian Nowell-Phillips. RNIB Cymru
Denise Inger, Chief Executive - SNAP Cymru
Debbie Thomas, Policy and Campaign's Officer - National Deaf Children's Society
Cath Lewis, Development Officer - Children in Wales
Dr Stephen Beyer, Senior lecturer at Cardiff University
The aim of the bill is to:
- create a single legislative system to support children and young people aged 0 to 25 who have additional learning needs, instead of the two separate systems currently operating;
- replace the terms special educational needs and learning difficulties and/or disabilities with the new term – additional learning needs;
- do away with the system of statementing and create a single statutory plan – the individual development plan – to replace the existing range of statutory and non-statutory plans for learners, ensuring equity of rights regardless of the learner’s level of need or the education setting they attend;
- ensure the views of learners and parents are considered throughout the planning process so that all parties view it as something that is done with them rather than to them, and that the child or young person is at the centre of everything; andencourage better collaboration between agencies, so that needs are identified early and the right support is put in place.
The Children, Young People and Education Committee is discussing the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill.
According to the Welsh Government, the Bill proposes "a complete overhaul of the system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs, which will affect nearly every early years, school and further education setting in Wales.
"Around a quarter of learners in Wales will have some form of additional learning need during their education. The current legislative framework for supporting them is based on a model introduced more than 30 years ago".