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Attendees included:

  • Association of Directors of Education in Wales (ADEW)
  • Colegau Cymru
  • Designated Education Clinical Lead Officer
  • National Implementation Leads
  • Estyn
  • Education Tribunal for Wales (ETW)
  • Health Board Directors of Service
  • Local Authority inclusion leads and Directors of Service
  • SNAP Cymru
  • Children’s Commissioner for Wales
  • National Academy for Educational Leadership Wales (NAEL)
  • Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
  • Welsh Government (WG)

1. Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcomed the Group and noted apologies from 7 members.

2. Minutes and Actions

The actions from the previous steering group meeting were discussed. Actions complete.

3. Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Implementation Post 16 Update Report

The ALN Implementation Lead for Further Education (FE) provided the group with a report on the key themes that are emerging as further education institutes (FEIs) in Wales implement the requirements of the ALN Act and Code.

Their report noted some early indications that may support future planning to ensure that the new legislation provides an improved education and training experience for young people in Wales.

The report concluded that Colleges have prepared well for ALN implementation and have fully embraced their new duties. The main development priorities for colleges over the next twelve months were shared.

4. National Associated in Education Leaders ALN report feedback from Designated Educational Clinical Lead Officers (DECLOs)

The DECLOs of Wales welcomed the recently published National Academy for Education Leadership in Wales (NAEL) report ‘What is the role of Education Leadership in Delivery of the Additional Learning Reforms in Wales?’ and welcomed the opportunity to respond to it.

The focus of the report was on aspects related to NHS involvement in ALN reform noting four key issues which were addressed in turn:

  • concerns about NHS engagement and support required for schools
  • references to limited capacity of the NHS to meet the requirements of ALNET and support schools
  • greater clarity on the role of the NHS in supporting schools 
  • need for Welsh language support from other partnership agencies

DECLOs shared that they are currently collaborating with Welsh Government to establish an assurance and reporting framework that will ensure clarity and accountability for Health Boards in relation to fulfilment of the duties that are placed on them under the ALN Act.

5. Welsh Government Business

Welsh Government updated the group that a recent LA workshop took place online to share national insights into implementing the ALN system. This included insights from Welsh Government, Estyn (the Estyn thematic review) and Education Tribunal Wales.

Welsh Government published a response to Estyn’s thematic review on the 29 September 2023. Estyn’s next thematic review will consider ALN implementation in Early years, Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and maintained special schools.

Welsh Government noted that the Minister will give an oral statement on 28th November. It will be 30-minute session with questions from members.

In the new year, 2 PHD interns will begin carrying out a scoping research project in preparation of a 5-year review that the Minister must undertake around ALP of Welsh language. The report will be published by August 2026.

6. Any other business

The next meeting is scheduled for 18 January 2024.