Is There Equal Access To Education And Childcare for ALL Children in Wales?

Published 19/04/2024   |   Last Updated 19/04/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

In May 2023 the Children’s Committee launched an inquiry to answer the question, “Do disabled children and young people have equal access to education and childcare?”

Hearing from families who were directly impacted by issues linked to their right to access an education was integral to the Committee’s investigation.

The Citizen Engagement Team, who support Senedd Committees to involve people with lived experience, suggested conducting in-depth family interviews with parents, carers and disabled children.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what the families, carers and children had to say about their experiences.


Methodology and accessibility

The Citizen Engagement Team held informal interviews with each family to ask about their recent education and childcare experiences.

The team were guided by participants to empower the whole family to take part, for example participants could choose if they’d like to meet virtually or face to face, and the team considered the learning abilities of the children to ensure they were able to share their views where possible. Also, where it was appropriate, a game of Jenga was used when interviewing young children as an accessible and fun way to introduce discussion points.


59 families contacted the Senedd expressing an interest in taking part.

All of these families were followed up and invited to take part.

40 families took part in family interviews (42 adults and 17 children in total)

Participants were from 20 of the 22 Welsh Local Authority areas.    


After each family interview, an anonymised, word-for-word note was written. Each note was analysed and a report has been created summarising the key themes that arose in the conversations.

Families described mainly negative issues that affected them in many different areas of childcare and school life. They were mainly linked to:

  • A lack of inclusion

“They always say it’s like he’s naughty, but that upsets me because it’s not naughty, it’s because he’s autistic.”Parent

“He’s never been afforded Welsh education – because he’s deaf.”Parent

  • Limited access to opportunities; or,

“Residentials are not accessible to my son. There’s no breakfast club, there’s no after-school clubs and even now there is no summer school. There is nothing extra for those with complex needs.” - Parent of a child with cerebral palsy

  • A negative impact on all family members

“It was as if the school didn’t think that I was employed. They expected me to look after my child when they overnight decided they couldn’t have him in the school.” - Parent

Read the full report or easy read report.

What happens next?

The Committee’s work is ongoing. A full report of findings from all the evidence the Members heard is expected to be published in July 2024.

The Committee are continuing to hear from families affected by issues related to this inquiry by meeting with an online advisory group.

The online advisory group, made up of people with lived experience of the issues accessing childcare and education was set-up to discuss the evidence received. It has met three times and will be meeting again in the coming months.

Where can I find more information?