ALN Changes for Wales

Legal references on this page apply to Wales.

Update April 2019

The Children, Young People and Education Committee (Wales) receives regular updates from the Welsh Government on the implementation of the additional learning needs (ALN) transformation programme.

From Education Minister Kirsty Williams: "I wrote to the Committee on 29 March, thanking you for your response to the consultation. As noted in that letter, a formal ‘summary of responses report’ on the draft ALN Code consultation will be published in due course together with reports on the views gathered at the series of workshops that took place during the consultation period with children, young people and parents, and at the regional stakeholder events (see below for further detail). Alongside these, I intend to issue a formal Written Statement outlining the next steps in terms of making any revisions to the Code and regulations. My officials are now undertaking a full analysis of all consultation responses. It remains my intention to lay the Code and regulations for Assembly approval later this year."

CONSULTATION ON NEW ALN CODE closed March 22nd 2019, I responded to say that it was unnecessarily difficult to find information about home education in the new Code. (Consultation also covered draft regulations relating to the Education Tribunal for Wales and ALN co-ordinators; and revisions to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 Part 6 Code of Practice – Looked After and Accommodated Children.) Read more here

The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 passed into law at the end of 2017. NB not all sections of the Act come into force at the start; for example the Social Services and Wellbeing Act took 2 years

At the end of November 2018 the Welsh Government said there would be a consultation on an as yet unseen NEW draft of the ALN code in December, adding that the final draft will then need approval by the National Assembly for Wales, as set out in the Act, before it can be issued, anticipated as being in the latter part of 2019.

"In most cases, EOTAS learners will be the responsibility of the local authority who will be under a duty, where appropriate, to decide if the child or young person in EOTAS has ALN and if they have, to prepare and maintain an IDP for them. The Welsh Government has begun liaising with the sector via the EOTAS Delivery Group to develop proposals on how the ALN transformation will support EOTAS learners (including those who attend pupil referral units), with ALN, to help ensure that they reach their full potential. Further details of these proposals will form part of the consultation on the ALN Code. 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


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."