1.       The Education Workforce Council (EWC) is the independent regulator in Wales for teachers in maintained schools, Further Education teachers and learning support staff in both school and Further Education settings.  Its remit will extend to the regulation of youth workers and people involved in work-based learning from April 2017. It seeks to raise the status of teaching by maintaining and promoting the highest standards of professional practice and conduct in the interests of teachers, pupils and the general public.


2.       Whilst the EWC welcomes the provisions of the new Bill, in particular the child centeredness, and the extension of provision to age 25, it must be recognised that the education system is already undergoing a period of extensive reform which is likely to put pressure on the existing workforce. It would advocate, therefore, an approach which is supportive in transitioning to the new provisions to limit the impact upon staff.


3.       In autumn 2016, the EWC was commissioned by Welsh Government to implement the first national workforce survey for all registrant groups. The survey results which are due for publication in April will provide a more comprehensive picture of the issues affecting the profession as whole, but may also highlight particular issues concerning ALN.


4.       In particular in reference to section 47- 50 ‘Additional learning provision otherwise than at school’ (page 35), Council would once again like to highlight the fact that at present staff at independent schools in Wales are not required to register with the EWC, and are thus, not subject to regulation and the consequent advantages around safeguarding learners does not extend to the independent sector. It has long been Council’s view that staff at our independent schools should be registered with the EWC.


5.       With reference to section 54 ‘Additional learning needs coordinator’ (page 38), we are concerned that any future requirement for prescribed qualifications in order to undertake the ALNCO role, would need to be accompanied by appropriate support for practitioners. In addition any training provision needs to be high quality, available nationally and through the medium of Welsh, and be available on an equitable basis.


6.       The Education Workforce Council holds a wealth of unique data relating to the education workforce in Wales. The data held includes qualification details of practitioners, including many of those already working as SENCOs. The data can be analysed further to identify demographic and geographical trends which will assist in scoping the current workforce skillset and identifying potential gaps and opportunities for raising standards. The EWC is well-positioned to assist Welsh Government with any workforce planning relating to this group and would reiterate that under the powers of the Education Act, Welsh Government can request the EWC to undertake project based work as and when required.