31 March 2017
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill was introduced on 12 December 2016 by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies.
The Welsh Government is unequivocal about the need for change. It describes the Bill as a ‘complete overhaul’ of a system ‘no longer fit for purpose’.
This Research Briefing summarises the Bill’s provisions and the background to its introduction. It also gives an overview of the working draft Code, which the Welsh Government has made available to assist scrutiny, highlighting key points to understanding the Bill.
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill proposes to replace the current Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework with a reformed system based on Additional Learning Needs (ALN).
The Bill makes provision for universal, statutory Individual Development Plans for all children and young people with ALN. This would bring an end to the current distinction between school-led interventions and local authority issued statements and integrate the separate legislative arrangements that exist for pupils in schools and post-16 students in colleges.
The Bill also seeks to improve collaboration between local authorities and health boards, as well as establishing a fairer and more transparent system with greater emphasis on disagreement avoidance and dispute resolution.
Article by Michael Dauncey, National Assembly for Wales Research Service.