Wales ALN Changes

Legal references on this page apply to Wales.

Please note that the Welsh government has been putting forward proposals to revise the system for special needs as far back as 2012. Along the way the proposals have undergone substantial change so it remains necessary to check the very latest published versions of the law and code to see what is actually going to happen, and when, rather than relying on earlier briefing materials or critiques.

March 2023 Update

Children who were due to move to the ALN system between September 2023 and August 2024, will now move to the ALN system between September 2023 and August 2025. The rights for children, and their parents, to request a child moves to the ALN system is unaffected – meaning that children who want to move to the ALN system can still ask to do so. LINK

March 2022 Update

The Minister has announced that the government will "extend the time available to move children during the first year of implementation by one year. This means that children who were due to move to the ALN system between January 2022 and August 2022, will now move to the ALN system between January 2022 and August 2023. This extension will be accommodated within the existing three year timeframe." Read more here published March 23rd 2022.

On March 28th 2022 the Minister said "Implementation for post-16 will involve a ‘flow through’ approach, whereby those currently in year 10 and below, will ‘flow through’ into further education with an individual development plan (IDP) already in place (where they require one). Any young person not yet on the ALN system at the end of the 2024/25 school year will move to the ALN system at that point."

Parents Guide via this page published December 2021.

September 2021 marked the commencement, on a phased basis, of the new Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Act for Wales. Over the next three years children and young people with Special Education Needs (SEN) will move on to the Additional Learning Needs system. From 1 September, children in year 10 and below who are newly thought to have ALN, will automatically be on the new ALN system. From 1 January, children in year 10 and below in receipt of Special Education Provision (SEP) that is not through a statement (such as school action or school action plus), and are not already in the process of getting a statement, will begin to move across to the ALN system. Other groups of children and young people will move across in years 2 and 3 of implementation.

Technical Guide; Changes to School Admissions; Parents Guide This search page from HWB also has ALN links.

Following the Minister Jeremy Miles Written Statement in July 2021, a timetable was issued in September 2021.

Regulations are being published on the Welsh statutory instruments page

Minister's statement February 2021 announcing implementation delay due to covid. Useful links: GOV.WALES; FAQ; GOV.WALES ALN; e-learning introduction via

June 2019 Code Consultation Response

On June 14th 2019 the Welsh Government published its consultation response which included the following: "Next steps: The responses to the consultation have raised a huge number of issues that now require detailed consideration to determine what changes to make to the Code and regulations." Picking up on the point made in my response, the consultation summary noted "respondents felt that the guidance that is contained in Chapter 23 of the draft ALN Code relating to children and young people in specific circumstances was appropriate. However, the majority of respondents also felt that some of the guidance needed further clarification and detail practically the on roles and responsibilities around education other than at school (EOTAS) and elective home education (EHE)"

Social Welfare Law Wales

Social Welfare Law in Wales LINK including Overview Briefing Social Services and Wellbeing Act Wales 2014, Luke Clements. "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."

Link Reference

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  1. Overview Briefing