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New arrangement for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

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10 September 2021

Image of a group of childrenToday (Friday 10 September) a letter has been sent to parents from the Interim Chief Education Officer about the arrangement for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Here is the letter:

Dear Parent/Carers,

RE. Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act, 2018

The system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disability in Wales is changing. A new more flexible and responsive system of meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities is being implemented, ensuring a fully inclusive education system for the learners of Wales.

The new system will ensure:

  • needs are identified early, addressed quickly and all learners are supported to reach their potential.
  • our professionals are skilled and confident in identifying needs and deploying strategies to help learners overcome their barriers to learning.
  • that the learner is at the centre of everything we do and that they and their parents and carers are equal partners in their learning. (Person Centred Approach)
  • From September 2021 the new system will be brought in gradually over the next few years (2021 -2024). Here are some of the key messages about these changes and what they may mean for you and your child.

Key Messages

  • The term Additional Learning Needs (ALN) will replace the terms Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD)
  • Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) in schools will now be called Additional Learning Needs Coordinators (ALNCos)
  • The mandatory ALN Code for the new system will cover children and young people aged 0-25. This means that early years and further education colleges will have duties under the Act, but this does not include higher education or apprenticeships.
  • The current graduated system of Early Years/School Action, Early Years/School Action Plus and Statements is being replaced over the course of the next three years. All children and young people with an identified additional learning need (ALN) that requires additional learning provision (ALP) will have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will replace all other individual plans. IDPs for children under compulsory school age, who require them, i.e.in the early years will be maintained by local authorities.
  • Most Individual Development Plans will be maintained by the school but may also be maintained by the Local Authority for those learners with the most complex needs.
  • There may be some pupils that are considered to have SEN/ALN under the current system but will not be considered to have ALN under the new system as their needs can be met with universal learning provision (ULP). This does not mean that they will not get the support they need.  This will not adversely affect the way schools are funded in Powys.
  • The Act expects that all partners such as Education, Health and Social Care will work in collaboration to support children and young people with ALN.
  • There will be increased opportunities for children, young people, parents, and carers to contribute to the creation and maintenance of Individual Development Plans through Person Centred Planning.
  • It is expected that working together more closely should help to avoid disagreements.
  • All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure additional learning provision will be provided in Welsh, if required

Additional Information

Welsh Government have produced an interactive e-learning course introducing the new ALN system and is now available on the Welsh Government's Hwb platform. Here is a Hwb news article introducing the course, which is currently on the Hwb homepage: https://hwb.gov.wales/news/articles/20686965-8669-40ac-bdc5-599f4a4dfe8b and further information on ALN can be found on the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/additional-learning-needs-special-educational-needs.

The e-learning course can be found using this link: https://hwb.gov.wales/repository/publishers/9fb2afc9-6408-4aa3-9474 3c745006535b/resource/c8033263-aaa0-42fc-9511-ab7d33bd8084/en

Our parent partnership service is provided by SNAP Cymru; they offer advice and guidance, disagreement resolution and advocacy support for children and young people, their website is www.snapcymru.org

If you require further information, you can look at your child's school website or Powys County Council Website (www.powys.gov.uk/ALN) or speak with your schools ALNCo.

We have launched our new inclusion platform called Tyfu. This is where you will be able to access Universal Learning Plans and IDPs if you child has them.

Information leaflets will be made available for schools to distribute to those parents/carers that require them. If you would like any additional information or advice, please contact us at tyfu@powys.gov.uk 

Yours sincerely,

Lynette Lovell

Interim Chief Education Officer

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