The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal [Wales] Bill will replace the current system of special educational needs support for Welsh pupils.

ALN update

This week, the Bill passed its final stage before becoming an Act of the National Assembly for Wales. You can read our previous articles about the aims of the Bill and The National Autistic Society Cymru’s efforts to ensure it works for autistic pupils during its passage.

The Welsh Government has also laid out further details about the implementation of the Act.

We now know that, beginning in 2020, pupils will start to transfer to Individual Development Plans (IDPs), prioritised by their need. From this time, any new pupils identified as having Additional Learning Needs will receive provision through an IDP under the new system. It’s hoped that implementation will be completed by 2023.

A draft code of practice, which details how schools and local authorities are to implement the new system, will be published and consulted on next year. It will include a mandatory template for IDPs, something that The National Autistic Society Cymru called for, to ensure a consistency in provision across Wales.

Meleri Thomas, of NAS Cymru, said:

“We welcome much of what the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal [Wales] Bill aims to achieve. Anything that simplifies the current system and offers all autistic pupils who require additional learning provision equitable access to statutory support is to be supported.

“In some other ways however, the Bill represents missed opportunities, particularly around teacher training and work-based learning. We also remain concerned around the limited remit of the Educational Tribunal in relation to dealing with complaints around health.   

“We await the detail that the code of practice will provide and will continue to make the most of this opportunity to improve the support received by autistic pupils in Wales."