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This advice applies in Wales only. Read information for families in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland.

An overview of the systems of support in education for children with additional learning needs in Wales.

In this article

Introduction to additional learning needs

A child who needs extra help in school because of a disability or learning difficulty has additional learning needs (ALN).

You might also hear these needs described as special educational needs (SEN).

Changes to the Wales education system

The Welsh government introduced a new system of support for children with ALN, called the ALN framework, on 1 September 2021 to replace the existing SEN system. There is new statutory guidance: the Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales 2021.

The new system is gradually phasing in until Summer 2024. There is a timetable in place for transfer of children and young people currently receiving support through the SEN system.

This means that the support your child receives might come under the old or the new system, depending on where they are in the transfer process.

What support will my child receive?

Support under the ALN framework

If your child starts to receive support in education for the first time after 1 September 2021 and is in year 10 or below, their support will come under the ALN framework.

Support under the ALN framework

Information about identifying ALN, Independent Development Plans, and putting things right when they go wrong.

Find out more

Support under the SEN system

If your child was receiving support in education before 1 September 2021, that support comes under the SEN system and the SEN code of practice.

If they are receiving support through School Action/Action Plus at a maintained school or pupil referral unit (PRU), they will begin to move to the ALN framework at some point between 1 January 2022 and 31 August 2024 if in Year 10 or below. See more information about the implementation timetable for different groups. Until your child moves to the ALN framework, the existing SEN legislation remains in force for them.

If your child has a statement of SEN, this will continue to be in place until it is replaced by an IDP.

Support under the SEN system

Information about School Action/Action Plus, statements of SEN and annual reviews.

find out more