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Approval of the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill by Assembly Members.

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In line with our earlier blog about the Welsh Assembly beginning to listen to the concerns about Special Educational needs reform (here). The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill was approved by Assembly Members on Tuesday, 12th December and should pass into law next year.

The new law will completely overhaul the current system of supporting children with additional learning needs. It will replace the current system of Statements that currently operates in Wales. Instead, it will operate on a system of a single statutory plan that will apply to children up to the age of 25 years old. Additional regulations have also been added which will allow children with Special Needs the ability to have more of a say on their own education and will grant parents the authority to appeal to a tribunal for any decision made regarding a child’s learning needs.  

Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies is confident that the new law will be an inclusive process that will ensure the views of learners and the opinions of parent’s are considered throughout the planning process. He also adds that the bill is part of these reform is part of a ‘wider programme aimed at transforming the additional learning needs’. A copy of the Minister’s written statement about the bill can be seen here.

The new system introduced by the bill, will see both Wales and England sharing a similar Special Educational Needs (SEN) system. However, in order for the new system to improve the standards of education for SEN pupils, it is important that the Government allocate sufficient resources to support the new law. Due to the recent cuts that have been made to local authorities budgets and the difficulties that are faced by parents in England in securing provision, we are sure that the new law for Wales will not adequately secure a suitable education for all children with SEN.

If you are experiencing difficulties in relation to securing additional support for your child from the Local Authority, then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist education law solicitors team on 02920 291704.