Many schools are preparing well for legislative changes to the education of children and young people with additional learning needs even though reform is still at an early stage, according to a report published today by Estyn. Inspectors found that a majority of schools are already focusing more strongly on better understanding the needs of individual pupils by seeking out their views and involving staff, parents and a wide range of agencies.
Estyn’s report, ‘Readiness for Additional Learning Needs reform’ is the first in a series to help to shape and support the reform process. It examines the extent to which schools, pupil referral units and education other than at school settings are preparing to meet the demands of new arrangements to support children and young people with additional learning needs which will be in place from September 2020.
Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector, says,
Today’s report shows that many schools are already embracing change that firmly places learners’ individual needs at the heart of their education. Involving pupils more in their learning and target setting can empower them and improve wellbeing and attitudes to learning.
It’s important that local authorities, regional consortia and schools remain up to date with guidance and training materials to keep the momentum going and ensure practice is established consistently across Wales.
Inspectors identified positive characteristics of schools and PRUs who are in a good position to reform. These providers have clear leadership roles that focus clearly on developing an ethos and a culture where diversity is recognised, accepted and celebrated. They have high aspirations, invest in staff and have strong improvement processes. The most effective schools also provide the latest information and support for parents.
The report also highlights a few areas for improvement that are common to the majority of schools across Wales. These include the need to work in a more joined-up way with staff, parents and other professionals in a consistent and methodical way. At Darland High School, staff work closely with external partners to meet the complex needs of pupils, ensuring that the individual is at the centre of their practice. Further case studies in the report outline good practice in special and primary schools.