Wales passes Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Bill

Wales passes Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Bill

The National Assembly for Wales has passed the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Bill which aims to transform this area to better support young people.

The new Bill affects nearly every education setting in Wales and focusses on the needs of children and young people aged 0 to 25.

It will see the replacement of the terms 'special educational needs' and 'learning difficulties/disabilities' with the new term, 'additional learning needs’.

In addition, it will see the creation of a single statutory plan, the Individual Development Plan (IDP) for learners; increased participation of children and young people, ensuring they are at the centre of the planning and decision-making process; and prioritising high aspirations and improving outcomes, focusing on the child or young person’s achievement of their full potential;

It will also see the creation of new statutory roles within health and education to ensure collaboration and integration so that learners’ needs are met; the introduction of clear and consistent rights of appeal where disagreements can not be resolved at a local level; the introduction of a strengthened Code, which will sit alongside the Bill, with mandatory requirements and statutory guidance to support the primary legislation.

The Bill also supports the Welsh Government’s wider vision of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050 by including a series of strategic duties aimed at driving progress towards a truly bilingual additional learning needs system.

Welcoming the news, education secretary, Kirsty Williams, said: “Nearly a quarter of learners in Wales will experience some form of additional learning need (ALN) during their early years or education and this Bill places them at the very heart of our system. It focusses on identifying their needs as early as possible and working with them and their families to plan the right support.

“Once the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill receives Royal Assent, expected in January 2018, it will pave the way for a radical new approach; driving improvements in standards to ensure all learners are supported to meet their full potential.”

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