On 14 July 2021, Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language issued a written statement explaining that the planned timetable for transfer from the current special educational needs (SEN) system to the new additional learning needs (ALN) system will be modified so that the relevant educational settings can have more time to plan for it. The Minister states that:
…the implementation of the ALN system for the first year will be sequenced. This means, for those children who are or are newly identified as having additional learning needs, (that is, those without already identified special educational needs (SEN), or are not awaiting or undergoing an SEN assessment), will still move to the new ALN system from 1 September 2021. However, for those children who attend a maintained school (including a Pupil Referral Unit) and who have already identified SEN via school action or school action plus, the new system will apply from 1 January 2022, instead of 1 September 2021.
So which pupils will transfer when?
From 1 September 2021, the ALN system will commence exclusively for pupils of compulsory school age and below who:
- are newly identified as having an ALN following ALN Code processes, regardless of their setting – including those that attend an Education Other Than At School ( EOTAS) setting, an independent school or who are electively home educated; or
- are detained;
From 1 January 2022, the ALN system will commence for pupils of compulsory school age and below who:
- attend maintained schools (including PRUs) in Nursery Years 1 and 2, and Year 1, Year 3, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 10) who have special educational provision via early years action (EYA) / early years action plus (EYA+) or school action (SA)/school action plus (SA+);
Please note that not all Year Groups will begin transfer from 1 January 2022 as the transfer to the new system is staggered across them. The table below sets out the school year during which the different Year Groups will make the transfer.
Year when pupils on EYA/EYA+/SA or SA+ will transfer to the new system
|Year Group in 2021-22||School year of transfer to the new ALN system|
|Reception||2022-23 when in Year 1|
|Year 2||2023-24 when in Year 4|
|Year 4||2022-23 when in Year 5|
|Year 6||2023-24 when in Year 8|
|Year 8||2022-23 when in Year 9|
|Year 9||2022-23 when in Year 10|
Statemented pupils and others not covered above:
Pupils who currently have special educational provision via a statement; are awaiting or are in the process of an SEN assessment; and those who are over compulsory school age, will not be included in the first year of implementation.
The Welsh Government intends to issue new implementation guidance early in the autumn term which will presumably include the corresponding details for the transfer for these categories of pupils.
In addition to the mandated transfer dates discussed above, children (and their parents) on EYA, EYA+, SA and SA+ can ask their school to move them to the new system at any time from 1 January 2022 onwards. Similarly, children (and their parents) with a SEN statement can ask their local authority to transfer them to the new system from the same date. In both cases, the request must be complied with and the transfer is effective from the date the request is made. So, for example, a child in Year 6 in the school year 2021-22 on SA could request to be transferred to the new system in January 2022 and not have to wait until the mandated transfer scheduled for 2023-24.
Finally, parents will continue to have the right to request a statutory assessment under the current SEN system up to, and including, 31 December 2021.
 Commencement Order 3.
 Postponed from 1 September 2021.
 Commencement Order 4.