Additional Learning Needs (ALN)
The Welsh Government is changing the way that children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) will be supported.
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 makes provision for a new statutory framework for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN) from the age of 0-25:
“To support the creation of a fully inclusive education system where all learners are given the opportunity to succeed and have access to an education that meets their needs and enables them to participate in, benefit from, and enjoy learning.”
The ALN system aims to transform the expectations, experiences and outcomes for children and young people with ALN placing learners’ views at the heart of the process.
From September 2021, this system began to come into force with a three-year phased implementation period. A series of links and documents below provide additional information on the Act.
Welsh Government Guidance
The Welsh Government aims to transform the expectations, experiences, and outcomes for children and young people with additional learning needs. To do so, they have developed the Additional.
Learning Needs (ALN) Act, which will transform the separate systems for Special Educational Needs (SEN) in schools and learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) in further education, to create a unified system for supporting learners from 0 to 25 with ALN.
Welsh Government Additional Learning Needs Code: The Additional Learning Needs Code|GOV.WALES
Welsh Government frequently asked questions: Additional learning needs transformation programme: frequently asked questions | GOV.WALES
Information for Parents and Carers
‘Parents have a fundamental role in helping their child to achieve their potential. The child is far more likely to achieve their outcomes and potential when parents are actively involved and their views, wishes and feelings are taken into account’ (ALN Code WALES 2021).
The links below are aimed at providing additional, accessible information for parents and carers to ensure they are able to play an active role in helping their child achieve their fullest potential.
Welsh Government Parents’ guide: Additional learning needs (ALN) system: parents’ guide [HTML] | GOV.WALES
Cardiff Education Services Parent Guide: The ALN Process – Parent Guide | Cardiff Education Services
Information for Children and Young People
The Act requires that learners’ views should always be considered as part of the planning process, along with those of their parents. It is imperative that children and young people see the planning process as something which is done ‘with’ them rather than ‘to’ them.
This video explains the code and changes that will be put in place.
Cardiff Local Authority
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.
Cardiff Local Authority has created a dedicated helpline where children, their parents and young people can access advice or information about the new Additional Learning Needs (ALN) process and system in Wales.
This contact can also be used if you would like the Local Authority to reconsider a school’s decision about your ALN or content of the Individual Development.
You can contact this helpline on:
02920 872731 or at ALNHelpline@cardiff.gov.uk (monitored weekdays, including school holidays).
The links below will take you to additional Local Authority resources that aim to explain the new system and processes in more detail:
Avoiding Disagreement and Conflict Resolution
Children and parent(s)/ carer(s) or young people will be involved in writing their IDP. Working in this way will provide opportunities to discuss concerns and enable issues to be addressed and settled at an early stage.
From time to time, disagreements can arise. The new ALN system and IDP process and the duty on schools and local authorities to consider the views, wishes and feelings of the child, parents or young person is intended to help overcome many disagreements. It is essential that problems are dealt with as quickly as possible and for children, parent(s)/carer(s), and young people to have access to impartial information advice and support.
You can also access independent impartial advice and information through SNAP Cymru, who are an independent advocacy service for children and young people with SEN and ALN. SNAP Cymru on 0808 801 0608 or email: DRS@snapcymru.org or for referral and more information on: https://www.snapcymru.org/mediation/
The Index for children with Additional Learning Needs and Disabilities
The Index is Cardiff’s voluntary register for children and young people with disabilities or additional needs which work alongside a range of support services and professionals to ensure that families of children and young people with disabilities or additional needs are kept up to date with information that is both relevant and beneficial to them. In addition, it assists the planning and co-ordination of services supporting those children, young people, and their families.
LINK:The index – Cardiff Family Advice and Support : Cardiff Family Advice and Support (cardifffamilies.co.uk)