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College prepares to implement new ALN act

Staff at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion have taken part in a professional development session to help staff prepare for the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act (ALNET).

This is new legislation initiated by Welsh Government starting in September 2022 which aims to create a more inclusive learning experience for people to reach their uppermost potential.

Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion already have an established team of teaching and support staff who mentor and nurture students needing extra help with their education or personal lives and this team will be key in liaising with teaching staff to help implement this new legislation.

The learning support and teaching and learning teams worked collaboratively to facilitate a number of online sessions where they explained changes to the current system.

Staff were encouraged to talk about their own methods and strategies of approaching and teaching students with additional learning needs to ensure they receive a positive and inclusive learning experience.

Anonymous case studies were shared with the groups based on real-life scenarios and various discussions based around finding positive outcomes were discussed.

Julia Green, the college’s designated additional learning needs coordinator (ALNCo) outlined that the key message from the event was that “ALN is everyone’s responsibility’ and that a collaborative approach is required by all members of staff at the college to successfully implement the new ALN reforms”.

The new act, which will impact on 0 to 25 year-old further education learners and those within work based learning programmes, aims to provide a clearer system, include participation, encourage individual development plans and regular reviews with learners and their families or guardians.

It will offer a person centred and institutional approach aiming for a consistency of delivery across Wales.

CollegesWales is also supporting the act by providing training such as effective inclusive practice to equip staff with required skills.

Coleg Ceredigion performing arts lecturer, Carl Lewis said: “I particularly enjoyed the thinking environment session where time was allocated to share ideas and different ALN inclusive teaching techniques.

“I have researched ALN and I think there are many important factors involved such as implementing stretch and challenge models, the learner eventually understanding the process of their own learning and as lecturers, being aware of the needs of the individual and not the actual additional learning need.”

Glenda Dowdell-Thomas, a teaching and learning mentor, who co-led the CPD sessions, added: “The notion of inclusivity is at the heart of teaching and formed the focus of our two-day ALN event.

“It provided staff with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the new ALN bill that will come into force in 2022.

“The day proved to be popular with staff who enjoyed the collaborative and interactive nature of sessions. A big thank you to the ALN and teaching and learning teams who worked hard both during and in the run up to the event.” 

Debbie Gill, lecturer in business at Coleg Sir Gâr added: “We are fortunate at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion to already have an excellent Learning Support team who have always shared good practice and knowledge.

“From my own experience, staff have always put the needs of our students first therefore the new ALN legislation is something in effect, that we’ve always been doing and doing well but I also think it will bring a positive change on a national level.”

Find out more about Learning Support at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion here.