Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education
This Government is committed to delivering a fully inclusive education system, where children and young people are inspired, motivated and supported to reach their potential.
Additional Learning Needs (ALN) transformation is a key aspect of our overall programme of education reform, as set out in ‘Education in Wales: Our National Mission’. On 12 December 2017 the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill was unanimously passed by the National Assembly for Wales and went on to become an Act after gaining Royal Assent on 24 January 2018. This is a key milestone on this journey of transformation but now the real challenge of implementation begins.
I have given careful consideration to how best we support delivery partners to not only implement the new ALN system but also bring about the cultural change needed to fulfil the duties set out in the Act.
Today I am announcing details of five ALN transformation leads following an open, competitive recruitment process. 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. The details are as follows:
• Margaret Davies, formerly an Estyn inspector will be working in the North Wales region;
• Huw Davies another former Estyn inspector will be working in the West Wales region;
• Liz Jones, a former Principal Educational Psychologist from Blaenau Gwent, will remain working in Central South;
• Tracey Pead; will stay in South East Wales after formerly heading up Pupil Support for Torfaen County Borough Council; and
• Chris Denham will take on the role as the further education transformation lead having worked for Coleg Gwent leading on ALN.
These posts will play a critical role in our overall implementation strategy by ensuring services are supported and prepared to deliver the new ALN system.
They will provide support and challenge to local authorities, schools, early years settings and further education institutions, they will also play a coordinating role in the roll-out of implementation training on the Act, awareness-raising and facilitating improvements in multi-agency working.
I expect to see the transformation leads sharing that knowledge and working together as a team to ensure that services are equipped and ready to deliver the new system when the time comes. It’s vital that we get this right, so that learners can access the benefits of the new system as seamlessly as possible.
Each of the regional transformation leads have been tasked with developing an implementation plan for their region, and the further education transformation lead will develop an implementation plan for the further education sector. These plans will set out the agreed actions required to ensure the necessary practices and processes are in place prior to roll-out of the Act.
They will be developed in collaboration with the key statutory bodies in the region who have duties under the Act. It will be based on an analysis of the evidence of their level of readiness for implementation of key aspects of the new system, to be developed through readiness self-assessments and discussions facilitated by the transformation leads.
The work of the transformation leads will be supported by ALN Transformation Grants, which will be allocated to each of the regional transformation leads on a formula basis; this will allow each of the regions to target the money as identified in their regional implementation plan.
To ensure that services and practitioners have clarity about how we expect them to move from one statutory system to another, we will be publishing a detailed implementation guide this summer to explain the timescales for the roll-out of individual development plans (IDPs) to each cohort of learners in the phased approach.
That said, until the Act comes into force, local authorities must ensure that they continue to comply with the duties placed upon them by the Education Act 1996 and the SEN Code of Practice for Wales.