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Attendees included: local authority inclusion leads and directors of service, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Association of Directors of Education in Wales (ADEW), the National Academy for Educational Leadership, colleges, Estyn, the Education Tribunal for Wales (ETW), SNAP Cymru, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, health board directors of service, and the Welsh Government (WG).
1. Welcomes and Introductions
The chair opened the meeting, apologies were given for 2 members. An Estyn Inspector joined the meeting for Item 3.
2. Minutes and actions of the last meeting
The minutes were agreed, the Steering Group (the SG) discussed progress on actions.
2 new members were appointed to the SG from the National Academy for Educational Leadership and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
WG confirmed a WG Health policy lead would join from the next meeting.
4. Estyn report on additional learning needs arrangements in primary and secondary schools
Estyn shared an overview of their report for WG. Inspectors met with headteachers, ALNCOs and teaching staff at 10 schools across Wales in December.
The SG agreed a summary of the report would be shared with SG members after the meeting.
5. SNAP Cymru parents and carers events
5 of 14 events had taken place so far. Most attendees were parents of primary and secondary school leaners, as well as a small number of practitioners who work with learners with ALN.
SNAP Cymru shared feedback on the themes of discussions.
The SG discussed ways of working together to develop a common understanding of post-16 implementation, and how to build a common interpretation of the Code to ensure all young people have equitable access to education and training. They also discussed what happens if a mainstream FEI can’t meet a learner’s needs and considered ways of developing a common understanding of entitlement to 2 years further education and training.
7. Feedback from monitoring visits
The Interim National Implementation lead updated the group on how LAs and schools are managing implementation, what was going well, and which areas required more attention. Members agreed the findings were reflective of the situation in their areas.
8. Moving children from SEN to ALN
In general, schools are managing with demands, but there is concern that the next academic year will be challenging with balancing both moving cohorts from SEN to ALN and reviewing existing IDPs.
WG would undertake work to look at PLASC data, the SG agreed they would make SEN to ALN movements a standing item for future meetings to keep an eye on how things go over the rest of the implementation period.
9. Health and DECLO workshop
WG shared their observations from an LA/DECLO workshop that was held in October, from which several issues would be considered. WG presented a paper to the SG setting out plans to tackle some of those issues, and received feedback from LA, social services, health and ETW members.
It was agreed generally that WG’s focus points were appropriate, however there was some concern that the tone suggested that health is to blame for delays and barriers to collaboration between health and other agencies, whereas the root of the issues discussed in the paper is interpretation of the Code.
10. Task and finish groups
WG shared plans for task and finish groups, including plans for a post-16 group and a group to consider the constitution of appeals panels.