The Welsh Government’s stated objective for a fully “ inclusive education system for Additional Learning Needs is around creating a system that’s flexible and responsive to the changing needs of learners; that is supported by a workforce who have the skills and experience and confidence to deliver that system really effectively.  That have a good understanding of evidence based practice to inform their work to make sure that the strategies and interventions being put in place for learners really are tailored to meet those individual needs.”  The aims include:

  • Embedding Principles of PCP
  • Welsh language duties
  • Statutory ‘IDPs’ for all learners with ALN
  • Local authorities to become responsible for post-16 specialist placements
  • Focus on early intervention
  • Statutory ALNCOs
  • Strengthened role for the health service
  • Avoidance and early resolution of disagreements

The intention is to provide a more pupil centred approach so you’ll hear lots about person-centred practice and most LA’s across Wales have already had training in this area and have begun to use one page profiles and PC style reviews. SNAP Cymru feels parents and YP should also have this training if they are to participate effectively.

The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Wales Bill, or ALNET Bill, remains the cornerstone of the reform. Changing the legislation is the central part of what the WG are doing but changing the law alone won’t affect the practice and cultural change they hope for.

The WG ‘transformation programme’ which includes supporting the implementation of the legislative changes has five reported strands:

  • WG Legislation and statutory guidance
  • Workforce development
  • Implementation/ transition support
  • Awareness-raising
  • Supporting policy

Part of this is creating a new ALN Code to replace the current SEN Code of Practice and Regulations the detailed information to support the implementation of the Bill.  The new Code will have mandatory requirements that have the same weight in law as regulations, as well as good practice and guidance that Schools and LA’s etc  must have due regard for. The new Code and regulation will be introduced in draft for consultation next year. Look out for it and take every opportunity to respond.

We understand that the Welsh Government is preparing a workforce development programme with three tiers:

  1. Core skills development – making sure that all those people that are involved in supporting learners with ALN have access to professional learning and development opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge around how to best support learners with ALN.  
  2. specialist skills development – to target local authority provided specialist support services, i.e. advisory teachers for hearing impairment, vision impairment or multi-sensory impairment, educational psychologists.
  3. ALNCo, or Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator role, which will replace the current SENCo role and will be put on a statutory footing. An intensive programme of professional development.

Awareness raising

The WG are intending to engage stakeholders about their new duties and powers under the new system, but as important we believe is the way these changes are shared with children and young people and families so that they can understand the new system and ensure they’re aware of the changes.  The original engagement events were difficult for all but a small amount of parents to attend, hopefully the WG will be aware of this and offer more accessible timings and locations for future events   

Where are we now….

Stage 1- The Children, Young People and Education Committee consulted initially, taking evidence in relation to the Bill as introduced, and scrutinising the detail of it. There were 69 recommendations from the committees

These were broadly around

  • the role of the NHS in the new system.
  • Having a Mandatory national IDP-that the new Code when it comes to fruition will include a standard template that all practitioners will have to use- (see the link to Gwynedd’s IDP as an example at the end of this update.)
  • Early Years – non-maintained providers having to have regard to the new Code and the LA’s having an ‘ALN Early Years Lead Officer’.

Stage 2 – detailed consideration by the Assembly Committee of the Bill line by line – completed see report below.

Stage 3 –  The deadline for developing and securing Ministerial agreement and cross-party support for amendments are scheduled to be debated and voted on  Tuesday 21 November 2017.

Royal Assent – probably January 2018

Formal consultation on the Code and Regulations 2018

Training and awareness raising Spring 2019

Implementation (probably) September 2019.

 

Appointment of ALN leads

A small team of ALN transformation leads have been appointed and will support local authorities, schools, early years settings, further education institutions and other delivery partners to prepare for and manage transition to the new ALN system. They will also have the responsibility for assessing readiness, compliance and impact monitoring of the  LA’s, in their consortia area or the FE’s across Wales  (4 x consortia leads & 1 FE lead)

Implementation

Consultation on how to implement the Bill ended early summer 2017. A summary of responses which will provide a breakdown of the views expressed will inform how the Government decides its approach for implementation. (not yet published)

The WG will circulate a detailed transition guide to statutory bodies once the Bill has Royal Assent.

The options explored :

  • Learners that have already got statements will be the first cohort of learners to be moved onto an IDP.
  • Learners at significant points of transition, so those moving between settings, those moving from primary school into secondary school, or out of secondary school into FE, those sorts of key transition points being the learners that go first.

Useful links.

  • 116 amendments have been agreed so far, which made changes to the Bill. An amended version of the Bill is available on the Assembly’s website where you can find other information on and follow the progress of the Bill:

 http://senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=16496

  • Summary of changes at Stage 2 Summary of stage 2 changes to the Bill

https://seneddresearch.blog/2017/11/13/new-publication-additional-learning-needs-and-education-tribunal-wales-bill-summary-of-changes-at-stage-2/

  •  WG ALNET Transformation Programme

http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/additional-learning-special-educational-needs/transformation-programme/awareness-raising/?lang=en

http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/161221-educational-psychologists-wales-guidance-en.pdf

Please contact amanada.daniels@snapcymru for further information or use the referral form on our contact page for direct support.