The system for supporting children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) will be introduced a year late, explains Cameron Sullivan.
The Education Minister for Wales, Kirsty Williams, said there was insufficient time to get rules in place to ensure that schools, colleges and councils are ready for the ALN reform. The intended changes are meant to ensure a simpler and less conflicting process for agreeing a child’s needs.
Education charity Snap Cymru has criticised the delay but agreed it was the right decision, stating that Welsh Government needs to “get it right” while arguing that it would prolong a situation which has been “chaos for years”:
“What the Welsh Government is trying to achieve in principle is right, most children and young people’s needs should be met within their local mainstream schools, but schools are not ready in capacity and resources and most will say there are insufficient funds.”
The proposed 2020 changes will introduce individual learning plans for children and young people up to 25 with ALN. However, Kirsty Williams reassured “that learners and families will continue to have their needs met in advance of the implementation of the new additional learning needs system”. The Welsh Assembly members stated that they wanted to make sure the changes were fully understood as being “fair, clear and manageable.”
The teaching union, UCAC, said the announcement of a delay had come as a surprise. Rebecca Williams, deputy general secretary, said it welcomed the extra year to ensure that the new ALN system was implemented effectively.
It is important for schools to be diligent and stay updated, as Welsh Education looks set to change radically over the next few years, with reforms like the above and the plan to introduce a new curriculum by 2022.
How we can help
Capital Law will continue to provide updates on new changes. Our education team regularly helps schools with both Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN), offering expert advice on:
For any education-related question, please get in touch with Trish D’Souza (firstname.lastname@example.org)