The Welsh Government is transforming the system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN) in Wales with the Additional Learning Needs Bill.
How it will work
The implementation period of the Additional Learning Needs Bill will last three years until summer 2024 resulting in all existing Statements of SEN, Individual Education Plans and Learning and Skills Plans being converted into Individual Development Plans (IDPs). This will be through a mandatory phased approach based on particular aged-based cohorts.
During this time, the ALN system will operate in parallel to the SEN system while the the SEN system is gradually phased out. If you work with children with SEN, you and your local authority must ensure that you continue to comply with the duties Education Act 1996 and the SEN Code of Practice for Wales (2004).
The timetable for children under compulsory school age plans will be converted during two academic years: 2020–21 and 2021–22.
First year of implementation of Additional Learning Needs Bill
During the first year of implementation, Local Authorities (LAs) will:
- Convert statements for children from birth up to and including second year of nursery age (aged 3–4 years)
- Convert plans for children from birth up to and including second year of nursery age who do not attend a maintained setting but are supported in a non-maintained setting by EYA/EYA+.
- At the end of the first year of implementation, all children with ALN from birth up to and including second year of nursery should have an IDP.
Second year of implementation of Additional Learning Needs Bill
In the second year of implementation:
- Only one cohort of children with ALN under compulsory school age will not have an IDP at the end of the first year of implementation – those who were in Reception in the first year of implementation
- This cohort will be converted in the second year of implementation, during their first year of compulsory education.
The code is due to be issued and published by the end of this year with legislation in place by the end of 2020.
Training will be rolled out in 2021, with the new system going live from September 2021.
You should be starting to receive informative training sessions from your LA now, regarding the upcoming changes and how you will be supported.
Useful links for more information:
- See an ALN Implementation Guide with timescales for the roll-out of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to each cohort of learners in the phased approach here
- See an ALN factsheet for non maintained early years education providers here
- See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the ALN transformation programme here
- See more information on the government website here.