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The long-awaited Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill was passed by the National Assembly for Wales on 12 December 2017 and after receiving Royal Assent became an Act on 24 January 2018.

The Welsh Government is committed to transforming the expectations, experiences and outcomes for children and young people with ALN and has created an ambitious and wide-ranging Additional Learning Needs Transformation Programme. This revolutionises the separate systems in schools and further education, to create a unified system for supporting learners age 0 to 25 with ALN.

In addition to new legislation and statutory guidance, the Transformation Programme centres on skills development for the education workforce, to deliver effective support to learners with ALN in the classroom, as well as easier access to specialist support, information and advice.

Implementation of the new system should commence in September 2020 with completion expected by the end of 2023.

To support the implementation of the new system, including the Act, the Welsh Government is funding five Additional Learning Needs Transformation Leads. 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.

Margaret DaviesNorth WalesFormer Estyn inspector
Huw DaviesWest WalesFormer Estyn inspector
Liz JonesCentral SouthFormer Principal Educational Psychologist
Tracey PeadSouth East WalesFormer Pupil Support Manager
Chris DenhamAll Wales – Further educationFormer ALN Lead at Coleg Gwent

Kirsty Williams said that “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.”

The responsibilities of the ALN Transformation Leads includes supporting the
their respective local authorities, the consortium, schools, early years settings and local health boards to prepare for and implement the new system. Transformation Leads have been tasked with developing an implementation plan for their region, which sets out agreed actions required to ensure the necessary practices and processes are in place prior to roll- out of the Act.

Initial work has already started on gathering information about good practices across each region. ALN Transformation Leads have visited many settings across Wales to see at first-hand what preparations have been made in anticipation of the new system.

Further collaboration across each consortium in Wales, LA Inclusion Leads and ALN Transformation Leads is anticipated to identify how best to support schools in preparing for and meeting the requirements of the ALN Act.