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Attendees included:

  • Association of Directors of Education in Wales (ADEW)
  • Colegau Cymru
  • Designated Education Clinical Lead Officer
  • Estyn
  • Education Tribunal for Wales (ETW)
  • Health Board Directors of Service
  • Local Authority inclusion leads and Directors of Service
  • SNAP Cymru
  • Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
  • Welsh Government (WG)

1. Welcomes and introductions

The Chair welcomed the Group and noted apologies from 5 members.

2. Minutes and actions

The actions from the previous steering group meeting were discussed 2 were noted as being open.

3. National Education Union Cymru: Additional Learning Needs and Tribunals (Wales) Act, joint union positions

Representatives from National Education Union Cymru provided the group with a paper on the challenges of implementation of the ALN Act and its impact on education professional union members.

Their paper noted clarity required of funding formulas, support from local authorities on writing IDP’s, training for support staff and ALNCos, access to support services and availability of guidance and support in managing parents expectations.

The group held a discussion on the report, considering the implications of barriers to accessing training.

4. Section 20 referrals: towards greater national consistency

Representatives from joint Education and Health Board position for the South-West and Mid Wales region provided a paper on Section 20 referrals.

Their paper noted legal ambiguity around local authority delegating responsibility to a school on Section 20 referrals.

The group noted direction required on how to manage referrals. Welsh Government confirmed a Multi-agency Collaboration Working Group would review this issue.

5. Estyn thematic review

Estyn provided an update on their thematic review on ALN reform, which was published on 29 September 2023.

The report highlighted the improvements schools had made in Welsh medium specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs and progress made towards implementing the requirements of the ALN Act. The report also acknowledged the challenges on ambiguity of legal definitions and the ALNCo role.

Estyn provided the recommendations of their report, 3 for schools, 4 for local authorities and 3 for Welsh Government.

6. Welsh Government Business

Welsh Government updated the group that a second thematic review on ALN reform by Estyn will look at post-16 sector and health multi agency working.

Finally, Welsh Government noted work ongoing with 4 other nations on quality of teaching and professional learning for ALN/SEN.

7. Any other business

The next meeting is scheduled for 16 November 2023.