National Assembly for Wales passes Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill

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Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill

On Wednesday 13th December, The National Assembly for Wales passed the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill. The Welsh Government first introduced the Bill on 12th December 2016, so this is a significant milestone! The Bill aims to transform the additional learning needs system so it provides better support to those children and young people who need it most.

The next step for the Bill is to receive Royal Assent, which is expected in January 2018. Once this happens then the wider programme of reforms can start. Education Secretary for Wales, Kirsty Williams, has highlighted that the reforms will:

• Replace the terms ‘special educational needs’ and ‘learning difficulties/disabilities’ with the new term, ‘additional learning needs’
• Create a single statutory plan, called the ‘Individual Development Plan (IDP)’ for learners
• Increase participation of children and young people, ensuring they are at the centre of the planning and decision making processes
• Prioritise high aspirations and improve outcomes, focusing on the child or young person’s achievement of their full potential
• Provide a simpler and less adversarial process, ensuring learners’ needs are at the centre and are continually met
• Create new statutory roles within health and education to ensure collaboration and integration so that learners’ needs are met
• Focus on earlier disagreement resolution, with disagreements resolved at the most local level possible
• Introduce a clear and consistent rights of appeal where disagreements can not be resolved at a local level
• Introduce a strengthened Code, which will sit alongside the Bill, with mandatory requirements and statutory guidance to support the primary legislation
• Aim to support the Welsh Government’s wider vision of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050 by including a series of strategic duties to drive progress at a truly bilingual additional learning needs system.