Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education

First published:
10 December 2018
Last updated:

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I am pleased to announce the launch of the public consultation on the draft Additional Learning Needs Code (“the Code”) under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (“the Act”).

This consultation primarily seeks views on the draft Code, draft regulations relating to the Education Tribunal for Wales and Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinators and the policy intent for a number of other proposed regulations relating to additional learning needs.  We are also seeking views on proposed revisions to the code on looked after children under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked After and Accommodated Children)) and the policy intent for proposed regulations relating to the education of looked after children, particularly those with additional learning needs.

The draft Code includes statutory guidance to which public bodies or persons, when exercising their functions under the Act, will have to have regard.  The draft Code also contains requirements which would be placed on local authorities and governing bodies of maintained schools and those of further education institutions in Wales.  The proposals for regulations deal with various matters which will form part of the overall system in Wales for meeting the needs of learners with additional learning needs.

This draft of the Code has been developed significantly since previous iterations and I am grateful for the input of the extensive range of stakeholders who have contributed to the development of the Code through collaboration and co-production.

The Act together with the final Code and regulations, aims to transform the system in Wales for supporting children and young people aged 0-25 years with additional learning needs. This package of proposals is intended to support the three overarching objectives of the Act, namely:

  • a unified legislative framework that supports all children of compulsory school age or below with ALN, and young people with ALN in school or further education;
  • an integrated, collaborative process of assessment, planning and monitoring which facilitates early, timely and effective interventions; and
  • a fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving concerns and appeals.

These objectives in turn form an essential part of Our National Mission for education in Wales.

The statutory Code will be a critical part of our ALN Transformation Programme. Our aim is to produce a Code that is accessible and clear to those that must have regard to the statutory guidance in it and comply with the mandatory requirements it contains. I want to deliver a Code that enables our partners to understand their roles and responsibilities so that they can ensure the best outcomes for children and young people in Wales. In doing so, the new ALN system will help transform the expectations, experiences and outcomes for children and young people with additional learning needs.

The consultation document is available at https://beta.gov.wales/draft-additional-learning-needs-code and the closing date for responses is 22 March 2019.  I welcome and encourage the views of all those with an interest in the reforms, particularly the views of children and young people for whom a separate consultation document will be available early in the New Year. We will be hosting a series of stakeholder events across Wales in the new year, as well as workshops specifically for children and their families, to contribute their views on these proposals.

I look forward to working collaboratively with all our stakeholders over the coming months as we continue to shape and deliver this important transformation programme. Together, we can deliver a system that truly supports the children and young people of Wales with ALN to overcome barriers to learning and achieve their full potential.