Implementing the ALN code of practice brings benefits to children, local authorities, skills providers and higher education, finds a new paper co-authored by Marius Frank of Achievement for All, Shaun Brown of The Difference and Marc Radley of CACI
Councils across Wales are wanting to implement the additional learning needs (ALN) code and this is set to transform benefits to children and families, impacting schools and other educational facilities. The main driver behind the introduction of ALN across Wales is to integrate support for special educational needs (SEN) and learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) in schools and further education into one, more inclusive system for all 0-25-year olds.
New ALN practice will ensure that all children and young adults are supported in overcoming learning and educational barriers and have agreed plans delivering support to them. Additionally, the focus is on early identification and putting in place effective, universal provision for this.
The Welsh government reports that around 23% of students in Wales have SEN. To go further in protecting and providing for them, the ALN code will work across the 22 local authorities in Wales for every child identified with support needs.
Systems will create a digital footprint for every ALN child, which will help not only local authorities and schools, but also higher and further education facilities to respond and adapt. With easily accessed and shared common data standards, records can be worked on collaboratively and in real time involving all parties to help with common as well as complex support needs. This will assist with building capacity and planning and to ensure continuous access to quality education and training opportunities to each ALN child and young person.
Learning points from supporting SEND practice
We have been supporting local authorities and schools across the UK with SEN requirements and pupil provisions for over 20 years via our IMPULSE eMIS software. Where children have usually fallen through the gaps, there hasn’t been an effective joined-up approach to arranging provision between local authorities, schools, other providers and their parents/carers. Essentially, fragments of information on each child get lost or siloed in a school or local authority, resulting in extra stress. This can lead to avoidable school disruptions and challenging transitions to a new school or a new area, with critical information that hasn’t followed with them.
ALN systems will change this for children and young people in Wales. Using our experience and understanding, we are helping local authorities in Wales to prepare and implement ALN with a fresh technical and practical partnership approach. There is a real opportunity here to build Welsh universal additional learning support provision, identifying a child’s needs early and building resilience in their education journey. This will also enable engagement and transparency for themselves as young people, their parents/carers and their schools, colleges and universities.
An efficient ALN journey
Our specifically designed IMPULSE ALN module is configured to manage your locally agreed practice and process under the new ALN code. Furthermore, the software is fully bilingual to facilitate simultaneous access in a preferred language. Our software is 100% compatible and works with your other systems in schools, for example SIMS. We also provide a data matching and data sharing hub which can interoperate with Teacher Centre and WCCIS, making the ALN and Individual Development Plan (IDP) process and practice transparent and easier to deliver the agreed provision in schools. The IMPULSE ALN portals and hub also enable this information to be seamlessly exchanged with other local authorities and providers as required.
The benefits to skills providers, further and higher education
Local providers have a vital role in providing workplace experience and opportunities to develop skills. Good ALN practice will facilitate these opportunities enabling providers to consider placements and apprenticeships and access to the system will also help make these journeys successful.
Likewise, when a student enrols at a college or university, they can request assistance during the application process. Good ALN practice will encourage a transfer of understanding through the whole journey and IMPULSE ALN enables this. This assists higher and further education facilities in preparing and adapting for students with additional support needs.
When all parties and stakeholders have appropriate access to information about the support needs of local populations, evidence of effective practice and outcomes generated from the ALN system can be used to improve learning journeys through early help.
The ALN code and systems in Wales will further enable the multi-agency approach that has been argued over for many years in education and youth services. By bringing together key agencies to build on disparate practice and share understanding of outcomes, the journeys of all children can be enhanced.
Parents/carers can access and interact in real time via a parents’ portal in their preferred language. This engages them in the wishes and feelings of their child, feeding back to raise questions, understanding professional contributions and to comment on the IDP being formulated. Parents/carers can also challenge decision making where necessary to support their child’s journey. This helps ensure the success of the plan and that parents/carers are on board and are kept up to date.
Schools can access and interact with parents/carers and other professionals, review information and view the plan from local authorities. Working in tandem with other children’s information systems, IMPULSE ALN further enables schools to seamlessly transfer ALN data between themselves throughout the admissions process.
Local authorities can oversee the practice and process of the ALN code, capturing information from all the relevant parties in a timely way to agree the IDP and support provision for each pupil. Where children move between providers and authorities, relevant information can be seamlessly shared so the local authority can always keep a track of this.
Skills providers can interact with schools and other professionals to understand the young person to generate a mutually successful experience.
Higher and further education can receive information on students as and before they join, assisting them to adapt their facilities to successfully support greater student diversity.
The ALN code aims to improve the learner’s journey, encourage more of the collaborative multi-agency approach and facilitate wider opportunities and better outcomes for every young person.
CACI are ready to help local authorities hit the ground running and go live with the ALN code of practice. For more information on how IMPULSE ALN system can empower your ALN stakeholders, please visit https://www.caci.co.uk/children-young-people/impulse-aln