Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
Today, Estyn published the first thematic report on the implementation of the additional learning needs (ALN) system in Wales. This is the first of two thematic reviews that I have commissioned Estyn to undertake, with the aim of assessing how effectively maintained primary schools, secondary schools and local authorities are implementing key aspects of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018.
I want to express my gratitude to Estyn for undertaking this important work alongside a focus on ALN reforms across their inspection work. This review is crucial in helping us gauge both the progress achieved, and areas of improvement required across the system as implementation of the ALN reforms continue. I would like to extend my thanks to all stakeholders within the education sector for taking the time to contribute their important insights and experiences to inform this review. I am particularly grateful to Additional Learning Needs Coordinators (ALNCos) for their continued commitment, resilience and dedication in realising the ambitions of the reforms.
Implementing both ALN and Curriculum reforms during a period of unprecedented challenges has been a formidable undertaking for all concerned. I recognise that transitioning from one system to another demands time and patience.
Estyn found enthusiasm displayed by schools and local authorities for person-centred practices (PCP) and strong examples of planning around the needs of children and young people. These approaches have not only allowed schools to be innovative in the support they provide to pupils, but have also empowered parents to engage meaningfully in discussions concerning the support and provision their children receive. As a result, they witnessed the strengthening of relationships between schools and parents, a vital aspect of our education reforms.
Today, I am pleased to publish my response to welcome the recommendations outlined in Estyn’s report while acknowledging that challenges for all parts of the system persist.
I will be writing directly to local authorities to draw their attention to the report’s recommendations. Furthermore, my Officials will be communicating with local authorities and schools through a range of meetings to share key messages on the implementation of the ALN system, and the Welsh Government will continue to work collaboratively with local authorities, schools and partners to ensure implementation of the ALN system is fully and effectively realised.