An update on changes to special education in Wales
Tuesday 31st October 2017
Back in February we told you that the Welsh government is planning a new system of support for children with additional needs in education.
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill, will replace statements of special educational needs with an "Individual Development Plan". If passed, it could become law in 2019.
Statements of special educational needs are still in place for now
Until the law changes, the current system of support for children with SEN will remain in force.
Kate Wyke, our Wales manager, says:
"We have been really concerned to hear from parents that they are being told by some professionals and local authorities that they 'are no longer doing statements'.
"It's really important that parents know that the current system of support remains in place. This means all local authorities must keep their legal duties to identify and assess children's special educational needs and, where necessary, arrange educational provision through a statement of special educational needs."
The aim of the bill is to simplify the SEN system and to enable parents, children and young people to be more closely involved in decisions about the help they need in education.
The key aspects of the proposed law change are:
- The term Additional Learning Needs (ALN) will replace the terms "special educational needs (SEN)" and "learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD)".
- A single system for 0-25 year olds with ALN instead of the two current systems for children of school age ; and young people in further education
- The introduction of Individual Development Plans to replace a variety of statutory and non-statutory SEN or LDD plans.
- Increasing the participation of children and young people in the planning of their educational support.
- A greater focus on high aspirations and measurable outcomes that will help children and young people achieve their full potential.
- A new Code of Practice that will ensure the new system is clear and consistently applied, including rights of appeal.
Information for families in Wales
- For children who need more help than a mainstream school can provide, the local authority carries out a statutory assessment.
- We have produced a sample statutory assessment request letter [DOC].
- This is the first step to getting a statement of special educational needs. This is a legal document describing a child's SEN and the extra help they will get. The statement must be reviewed annually.
- There is an appeal process if a parent is not happy with a local authority decision about a statutory assessment or statement.