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Written Statement - Guides to implementing the new additional learning needs system in Wales

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 is at the heart of our programme to transform the education and support for children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN) in Wales.  

Today, I have published the first in a series of guides which explain how the Act will be implemented. This guide focuses on implementing individual development plans (IDPs) for children of compulsory school age and under. It sets out the intended mandatory phased timetable for local authorities and school governing bodies to transfer children with special educational needs plans – such as statements and individual education plans - to the new ALN system.  Under the new system, children with ALN will be entitled to IDPs.

Conversion of statements will take place over a two year period and conversion of plans for learners on early years action, school action, early years action plus and school action plus will take place over three years.

The phased approach has been informed by the views of stakeholders responding to the public consultation on how the Act should be implemented. The consultation found strong support for mandating a phased approach to implementing the ALN system. Most stakeholders agreed that national timeframes for transferring specific cohorts of children and young people to the new system would be the most manageable and consistent approach.

The phased approach prioritises the transfer of learners with statements and means workloads will be more equally spread between local authorities and schools. In addition, the approach focuses on, the youngest of learners to facilitate early and effective intervention, and those learners nearing key points of progression to facilitate effective transition planning.  

The guides are intended for use by organisations with duties set out in the Act. The guide published today will be of particular interest to local authorities, governing bodies of maintained schools, school teaching staff and special education needs co-ordinators (SENCos)/additional learning needs co-ordinators (ALNCos).

Information for parents – to explain what the new system means for children and young people including how, and when, they can access their new rights under the Act will be published in due course.

I also intend to publish further guides which will set out the arrangements for implementing specific aspects of the ALN system. This includes the arrangements for further education, including specialist post-16 education.

The Additional Learning Needs Code will place requirements on local authorities and governing bodies and contain guidance on the exercise of functions under the Act.  A draft of the Code is expected to be published for public consultation late in the Autumn term.

The guide to implementing IDPs for children of compulsory school age and under is available at:


https://beta.gov.wales/additional-learning-needs-and-education-tribunal-wales-act-implementation-guide-individual