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The new legislation

The new law for supporting children and young people with ALN will bring about several main changes including:

  • bringing together all current systems into a new, single system for ALN;
  • being learner-centred;
  • providing learners with the same rights and entitlements whatever their age or setting;
  • improving transition between settings;
  • providing Welsh language provision where needed; and
  • being a fair and transparent system for all.

These changes mean that children and parent(s)/ carer(s) and young people will:

  • access the support they need earlier;
  • be more involved in making decisions about the support they need;
  • be able to find information more easily; and
  • be supported if they disagree with decisions.

Children and young people who have additional learning needs may get this support for longer. The new system does not give all young people with ALN an automatic right to continuous education up until the age of 25,but some young people may be able to get this support until the age of 25 if they have a reasonable need for education and/ or training.

How will this happen?

There will be a phased approach to these changes over 3 years

This means there will be two systems operating from Sept 2021-2024, the new ALN system and the current SEN system. (Children and young people who currently have special educational provision through a Statement of SEN and those who are in any form of post-16 education, will not be included in the first year of the phased approach.  Guidance for parents and carers about the approach for these children and young people will be provided as soon as it is available. More detail on how the system will work for supporting young people in post 16 education will also be provided).   

For three years each local authority, Early Years setting (EY), school and Further Education (FE) setting (e.g. Post 16 College) will work hard with children and their families, young people and other professionals to ensure everyone understands these changes.

Families will have access to impartial information advice and support.  This is statutory, which means it must be provided by law. 

Every local authority in Wales must have arrangements for providing children and their families and young people with impartial information, advice and support.  In this local authority SNAP Cymru provides this service.  

What is provided is shaped by the ALN Act 2018 and the new ALN Code 2021.

You can find out more about the ALN transformation programme and guidance on the current SEN system including a frequently asked questions and ALN transformation programme guide.

What happens now?

Children and young people with SEN or learning difficulties/disabilities might have:

  • an individual education plan (IEP);
  • a statement; or
  • a learning and skills plan

What will change?

Many of these children and young people will continue to have their needs met through high quality and routine classroom practice. There will be a few children and young people who have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for additional learning provision (ALP). This is provision that is additional to or different from that made generally available for others of the same age. These children and young people will have an individual development plan (IDP).

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