Implementation of the Welsh SEN/ALN Reform Postponed

16 October 2019

Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, has issued a written statement postponing the roll out of the new special educational needs (SEN)/additional learning needs (ALN) system by a year.

Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, has issued a written statement postponing the roll out of the new special educational needs (SEN)/additional learning needs (ALN) system by a year.

It was scheduled to be implemented from September of 2020 but will now take place from September 2021. So the current statementing system will continue until then when the introduction of Independent Education Plans (IDPs) begin to be phased in. The Welsh Government has said that the Implementation Guides setting out the deadline for the roll out of IDPs will be updated shortly.

In the meantime, the Minister has reminded local authorities, health boards and schools that they must adhere strictly to their existing statutory obligations and ensure that they are meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs

However, although the phasing in of the new system has been delayed by a year the introduction of the new professional roles set out in the ALN Act 2018, such as the designated educational clinical lead officer, will now begin in January 2021 in order to “support a smoother and more successful implementation”.

The reason for delay seems to be related to the drafting of the Code and regulations to accompany the reforms. The Minister explained that:

There is insufficient time to both issue the Code and regulations in 2020 and for all schools, further education institutions and local authorities to prepare properly to meet their operational requirements by the original date planned for implementation to start.

The intention now is to lay the Code and regulations before the National Assembly sometime during 2020 although the Minister hasn’t specified exactly when.

She also announced that there will be a consultation on some draft regulations relating to independent specialist post-16 institutions.

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