The system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disability in Wales is changing. The Welsh Government is bringing in a new more flexible and responsive system of meeting the needs of children with special educational needs or disabilities and are striving to deliver 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:

• 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 3 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, 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.

• 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 Centered 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.

Further information is available in the following Welsh Government factsheets:

Factsheet for parents on ALN Reform

Welsh Government Frequently asked questions

Factsheet for Social Services

Factsheet for health services

Factsheet for Local authorities

Factsheet for maintained schools and nurseries

Factsheet for further education institutions

Factsheet for non-maintained early years education providers