Autism qualification set to transform provision for ALN learners in further education

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ColegauCymru is delighted to have worked with the University of South Wales to coordinate the delivery of an Additional Learning Needs (ALN) programme of study designed specifically for FE practitioners.

The cohort of learners studied the PG Cert SEN/ALN (Autism) which is 60 credits of the full MA at USW. The qualification is unique in Wales and is delivered by leading Autism practitioner and researcher, Dr Carmel Conn. It is the only practice-based study of Autism in the region. 
ColegauCymru ALN Transformation Lead for Further Education, Chris Denham said,  

“ASD, or Autism, is one of the most prevalent of ALN conditions. ColegauCymru has been keen to support and co-ordinate this approach because we recognise the importance of having staff in colleges who really understand the needs of young people with Autism.  
The achievements of those completing the programme represents an unprecedented injection of ASD expertise into our colleges which is likely to translate to an improvement in learner experience over the next few years as colleges take on their new duties under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act (ALNET) Act.”

As ALN practitioners across Wales prepare for the implementation for the ALNET Act from September 2022, ColegauCymru is working closely with colleges to coordinate training and other preparatory work, as they commit to continuing to improve services before this date. The success of this partnership is thanks in part to the Covid19 pandemic - partly due to lockdown restrictions, the move to online provision encouraged take-up of the programme. 
Associate Professor in Professional Learning and Course Leader for the MA SEN/ALN (Autism) at USW, Dr Carmel Conn added, 

Dr Carmel Conn“It was a real pleasure teaching this group of students, who are all experienced professionals working in the FE sector. They demonstrated a high level of commitment to their studies across the cohort and an ability to take on new perspectives on autism and educational support, including that of autistic people themselves.  
Student achievement on the course was excellent and many chose to carry out inquiry projects that consulted with young people about their priorities and experiences in college. The potential for impact from delivery of this programme is considerable and it is hoped that it will make a significant contribution to improved support practices used with autistic learners in the FE sector in Wales.”

ColegauCymru Chief Executive Iestyn Davies further added,  

“This has been a hugely successful partnership between further education colleges and the University of South Wales, with 50 ALN practitioners across all our member colleges represented, and a commitment from colleges we have not seen before, certainly in the field of additional learning needs.  
We are grateful to Welsh Government for the additional funding provided which made it possible for these individuals and imminently, a further 30, to take up this invaluable opportunity.”

ColegauCymru recognises the importance of promoting autism friendly services in Wales and we support the plans to improve provision, as detailed in the Minster for Education’s statement of 14 July 2021 in relation to the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation. 
The work being carried out by ColegauCymru and our member colleges forms part of the wider ALN project work taking place as we move to improving post-16 education provision for learners and their families. 

Further Information

Case Study
Julia Green is the ALN Coordinator for Coleg Sir Gar. Read about her experience of this qualification.

University of South Wales - MA SEN/ALN (Autism)
Cabinet Statement
Written Statement: Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation
14 July 2021

Chris Denham is the ColegauCymru ALN Transformation Lead for further education colleges: 

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