ALN Changes for Wales

Legal references on this page apply to Wales.

Update December 12th 2017

The Bill passed into law on December 12th 2017. NB not all sections of the Act will necessarily come into force at the start; for example the Social Services and Wellbeing Act took 2 years

The Welsh Government says there will be a consultation on the draft ALN code in Autumn 2018, with the final code beign issued in December 2019. In January 2020 implementation training on the new ALN code will apparently be rolled out and in September 2020 the new ALN system will go live. By Summer 2023 the old SEN system will come to an end.

Sinclairs Law held a free information event in Cardiff on December 15th 2017. LINK

The Welsh Government ran into difficulties over costings, following concerns raised by SNAP Cymru about dispute resolution and appeals. It has been reported that anticipated savings are down from £14.2 million to £3.7 million. The Welsh Government had to delay moving the financial resolution, see Record of Proceedings June 6 2017

The main reference page for the Bill was here. Click here for relevant meetings.

A Revised Explanatory Memorandum was published in November 2017 including an Impact Assessment, from which the following extract is taken "Section 24 enables a child or their parent, or the young person, to request that a local authority (which is responsible for the child or young person) reconsiders the decision of a maintained school governing body that a child or young person has or does not have ALN. Where requested, the local authority must make its own decision on the issue; that decision will then replace the decision of the governing body, and the previous decision made by the governing body will cease to have effect. Before making a decision, the local authority must inform the governing body of the request and invite representations from the governing body. This section provides children and their parents, and young people, with an effective means of challenging the decision of the governing body of a maintained school in Wales, in the absence of a right of appeal to the Tribunal against these bodies"

Previously, in July 2016 the Welsh Government published a commentary on responses to the 2015 Additional Learning Needs consultation. At the same time, Alun Davies, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language noted "misunderstandings of our intentions or the anticipated practical impact of our proposals" as well as "direct concerns about specific aspects of the proposals" I blogged what parents were saying here

Click here (via this page) for full details on the legislative process


Background

In Wales, the term "special educational needs" [SEN] has been replaced by "additional learning needs" [ALN].

In July 2015 the Welsh Government launched a consultation on the Draft Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill. Comments were requested by December 2015. A new draft Additional Learning Needs Code of Practice was also published at the end of September 2015.

The proposals in the draft Bill largely follow the proposals set out in the 2014 White Paper, notably a single category of 'Additional Learning Needs' to replace Statements, School Action, and School Action Plus.

Archived page as pdf with full details of these earlier proposals here which have now been superseded.

Sinclair Law consultation response 2015, Mike Charles LINK highlighted the danger of removing the statutory assessment leaving a general requirement upon schools to identify need as opposed to to a prescribed system of expert assessments. Welsh Government clarification November 2015: " In the case of those learners whose needs are complex and severe, the draft Bill would empower schools to refer cases to local authorities as needed ..." Sinclair Law comment December 2015 LINK "this proposed bill, if passed, will not only send schools into battle with parents, but will most certainly lead to potential litigation.

Social Welfare Law Wales

SOCIAL WELFARE LAW IN WALES including Overview Briefing Social Services and Wellbeing Act Wales 2014, Luke Clements, updated September 2017: "The ‘headline’ difference between the [English and Welsh] Acts is that the Welsh Act applies to people ‘in need’ of any age and their carers, whereas the English Act is largely confined to the needs of ‘adults in need’ and their adult carers. This briefing paper focuses on the provisions in the Welsh Act that deal with the rights of disabled children, adults in need and their carers."