Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
I am pleased to provide Members with an update on the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Act (Wales) 2018 (the ALN Act). We have now put in place legislative arrangements for the second and third years of implementation. This is a significant and final milestone for the commencement of the ALN Act.
Ensuring that everyone who is interested in, and affected by, the ALN system reforms is kept informed is of paramount importance.
We are publishing a range of resources to support a shared understanding of the ALN Code and of the arrangements for the second and third years of implementation. Three guides to support understanding of how and when children, who were not included in the arrangements during the first year of implementation, will move to the ALN system – a technical guide to implementation, a parent’s guide to implementation and a children’s guide to implementation are being published today. I am also publishing information about the arrangements for young people who have ALN or learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
A key principle underpinning the ALN system is a rights-based approach where the views, wishes and feelings of the child, child’s parents or young person are central to the planning and provision of support. We are also publishing a guide to support parents to understand their rights under the ALN system.
To further support engagement and raise awareness of these important reforms, we are currently co-developing parental engagement sessions with third sector partners which will be held during the autumn term. The sessions will provide parents with a deeper understanding of the ALN system, how it will benefit their children and the rights parents and children have under the ALN system. Equivalent resources, explaining rights under the new system will also be co-developed with children and young people in the autumn term.
With the implementation timetable in place, now is an opportune time to reflect on work undertaken to date to support delivery partners prepare for the implementation of the ALN system and draw on learning to ensure our future programme of work is effective in supporting a clear understanding of the ALN system. This requires long-term systemic change and there has been much progress to date. A significant amount was achieved over the four-year transformation period working with transformation leads to prepare education establishments, local authorities and colleges for the incoming changes.
Going forward, we are putting in place an extensive programme of support to work with our delivery partners to ensure these reforms are successful and bring about the positive changes we want to see for learners with ALN across Wales. This includes working with implementation leads and arrangements we are putting in place to monitor the effectiveness of the ALN system. A central part of this future work will be undertaken in collaboration with the ALN Reform National Steering Group which has been established to bring together key delivery partners and stakeholders to provide strategic direction, advice, and support to inform ongoing implementation.
All of this must be supported by appropriate funding provision. In addition to the £20m invested in the transformation programme, this year the Welsh Government have issued over £6m to support schools and local authorities with ongoing implementation of the reforms and over £9m on ALN provision to ensure education establishments can continue to provide the support required to meet learner needs. We have also committed £42,000 to each Local Authority in Wales for the next 3 years to support the provision of online Individual Development Plans (IDP) to ensure that the information of pupils with ALN is captured and recorded so that pupils with ALN are given suitable support. Going forward, the Welsh Government have committed a yearly budget of £21m until 2025 to support system reform and ALN provision.
Successful implementation of the ALN system is a key priority for this government and we will continue to work closely with our stakeholders and delivery partners to build on the current momentum and progress made to date, to realise positive outcomes for children and young people with ALN.