Alun Davies, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill is at the heart of our programme to transform the education and support for tens of thousands of children and young people with additional learning needs, improving their educational experience and helping them realise their potential.
The Bill is the cornerstone of a much wider transformation programme – in addition to changes in the law, are changes in culture and practice, which will deliver the improved outcomes for learners we are striving for.
In February 2017, I announced a £20m funding package to support the transformation programme. This will support the transition from one statutory system to another and deliver the wider system transformations.
Since February we have been working closely with partners to refine our approach to transition and I am pleased to announce we will be funding five additional learning needs transformation leads to support the delivery of the programme.
Four of the transformation leads will operate regionally, on the education consortia footprint, and one of the leads will work as a further education transformation lead on a national basis.
These posts will play a critical role in our overall implementation strategy by ensuring services are geared up to operate the new additional learning needs system. They will support and challenge; play a coordinating role; oversee training and awareness-raising and play a key part in facilitating improvements in multi-agency working.
The transformation leads will be recruited and take up post this financial year. This will ensure connections are made with the additional learning needs innovation fund projects, which will run until March 2018. It will also enable the transformation leads to raise awareness of the Bill as it continues to progress through the National Assembly and they will support local authorities, schools, early years settings and colleges to put plans in place at an early stage for implementation.
We are continuing discussions with the Association of Directors of Education in Wales and board of Colegau Cymru. I will provide a further update to Members about the transformation leads’ roles, including their budgets, in the autumn.
We will also pool local authority implementation grants on a regional basis to maximise the impact of investment. This will help minimise bureaucracy around the grants and put the focus on service delivery – a key recommendation in the Finance Committee’s stage 1 scrutiny report, which I will formally respond to before the end of term.
In line with recommendations made by the Children, Young People and Education Committee, I will provide a full update about the transformation programme in September. I will ensure all Members updated at the same time.