The Welsh ALN Act explained
From September 2021, new provision for special educational needs will come into force in Wales. We explain the new ALN Act.
In Wales, nearly a quarter of learners have some form of special educational need (SEN), and their educational outcomes are poor compared to other students – in part because the current SEN system in the country is over 30 years old and out of date.
The Welsh Government has now published its ALN Act 2018, which will replace the existing SEN system from September 2021.
What is the ALN Act?
The Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Act sets out the new statutory support system in Wales for children and young people with special needs.
The term ALN will replace ‘special educational needs’ (SEN) and ‘learning difficulties and/or disabilities’ (LDD), covering all children and young people with additional needs, regardless of how complex or severe they are.
This means ALN will cover a whole spectrum of needs, from so-called ‘high functioning’ autism, through dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, to serious global learning delays/difficulties and major physical disabilities.
The ALN Act aims to help children and young people with ALN overcome barriers to learning and reach their full potential.
Under the new system, school SENCos (special educational needs coordinators) will be renamed or replaced by ALNCos.
When’s it all happening
The draft ALN Code is being reviewed by Welsh Government, and should be finalised by late 2019.
Implementation training will begin in 2020, and the roll-out across schools will take place from September 2021. It’s expected to take three years, until summer 2023, when all Statements and IEPs should be converted to IDPs.
The Welsh Government has produced a factsheet as a quick guide to the ALN Act.