The special educational needs (SEN) reforms in Wales are now a little under a year away from their introduction. The Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Educational Tribunal Act was passed in January of this year and will begin to be rolled out from the start of the new school year in September 2020.
What are the reforms?
There will be some significant changes. For instance, as the name of the act suggests, the term ‘special educational needs (SEN)’ will be replaced by ‘additional learning needs (ALN)’. This in turn means the SENCOs will be known as ALeNCOs. School/Early Years Action, School/Early Years Action Plus and statements will disappear and every child with recognised ALN will eventually be issued with a new statutory document called an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This is not to be confused with individual education plans (IEP) which will also be phased out. Unlike statements, which stop when a young person leaves school, IDPs will continue up to 25 years of age if the young person goes onto further education.
The Welsh Government has produced an overview of the new system and has compiled answers to some frequently asked questions: together they will give you a good idea of how the Welsh Government expect things to work.
What happens next?
As the transition to the new system will involve major changes for local authorities, schools and further education colleges it will be introduced gradually and the Welsh Government has produced guidance explaining the timescales involved.
The Welsh Government is also drafting a new code of practice which will be issued for consultation before the end of the year. This is likely to be a rather long document and apparently there won’t be an easy-read version. However, it is very important as it sets out in detail how the ALN system will work in practice and the Welsh Government would like feedback from parents and carers as well as professionals so we will let you know when it is issued.
In the meantime, SNAP Cymru are running some ALN reform awareness sessions for parents and carers in Mid and South-West Wales in November and December.
This guide has been prepared for parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabled children living in Wales. It only applies to Wales and we have written separate guidance for England.
Please be aware that changes brought in by the SEN reform process in Wales will come into force from September 2020. We will be producing an updated guide explaining the new system before it is introduced. In the meantime this guide remains accurate.
First published 2016. This edition 2016. Review date 2019.
This guide has been prepared for parents of disabled children in England who want to know how to get help for their child’s social care needs. It principally deals with the responsibilities of the local authorities to provide social care for disabled children, as well as support for the parents/carers of those children.
First published 2012. This edition 2015. Review date 2018.
This guide has been prepared for parents of children with special educational needs and parents of disabled children who want to know how to get help for their child at school in England.
This guide replaces the 2013 education guide to take account of the changes to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework that have been introduced from September 2014 and now covers England only. The new system is being phased in gradually and children and young people with a statement in England must be transferred to the new system by 1st April 2018. The 2013 guide will remain relevant until your child’s statement has been transferred to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan under the new system.
Further information on the transition from statements and Learning Difficulties Assessments (LDAs) to Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans, can be found on the IPSEA website. You can download the guide below.
Published 2014. This edition 2017.Review date 2020.
We’re often asked for books or resources on special education. Here’s a list of titles we have on the SEN system, inclusion and special provision as well as those written for teachers and home schooling.
Special Educational Needs system
L6327 and L6383 – Choosing a School for a Child with Special Needs by Ruth Birnbaum
L6518 – The Journey Through Assessment: help for parents with special needs child by Antonia Chitty
L6341 – Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: how to be a velvet bulldozer by Sandy Row
L6322 – Guerilla Mum: surviving the special needs education jungle by Ellen Power
L6167 – Special Educational Needs a Parents’ Guide by Antonia Chitty
L6213 – Special Educational Needs Inclusion and Diversity by Norah Frederickson
L6370 – Key Issues in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion by Alan Hodkinson
L6342 – How To Reach and Teach All Students in the Inclusive Classroom by Sandra Rief
L6455 – Including Me: managing complex health needs in schools and early years settings by Jeanne Carlin
L6513 – How To Make School Make Sense: a parents’ guide to helping the child with Asperger Syndrome by Clare Lawrence
L1687 – Walk in Their Shoes: a day in the life of an spld student by Edwina Cole
L6033 – Meeting the Learning Needs of All Children: personalised learning in the primary school by Joan Dean
L6501 – Personalised Learning for Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties by Andrew Colley
Particularly for teachers
L6427 – A Practical Guide for Teachers of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Secondary School Education by Debra Costley
L6412 – Transforming the Role of the SENCO: achieving the national award for sen co-ordination by Fiona Hallett
L6143 – Teaching at Home: a new approach to tutoring children with autism and Aspergers Syndrome by Olga Holland
L6430 – Autism and Flexischooling: a shared classroom and home schooling approach by Clare Lawrence