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ALN Code of Practice Consultation Response

CONSULTATION ENDED MARCH 2019

The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Act was passed in 2018, and sets out a framework to meet the needs of children/young people with additional learning needs from birth until further education.

Alongside the Act there is a code of practice, currently in draft form, which gives professionals advice and instructions to make sure their work complies with the new law.

On this page, we’ve summarised our response to the consultation on this draft code of practice.

You can read the full response here (response 307).

We’ve highlighted some key strengths, and some weaknesses that the Government should consider to make improvements.

Strengths of the draft code

  • The code mentions the five principles of A Children’s Rights Approach (a way of working that makes sure all children know about their rights and can access them), and highlights the need for local authorities to consider these rights under the new law.
  • The code highlights how important a bilingual education system is.
  • The code notes the importance of proper advice and information for children, parents and young people, as well as the importance of local authorities getting involved in potential issues and making appropriate changes in a timely manner.
  • The code mentions that Individual Development Plans should include children/young people as much as possible, that they can make decisions over their own plans, and that they should be written in a way that children/young people can easily understand their own plans.
  • The code gives agencies the ability to (and tells them to) share information with each other so that additional learning needs can be identified early and proper help can be given.
  • The code talks about periods of change at multiple points of a child/young person’s life, and talks about how clear information needs to be given about these periods.
  • The code creates good opportunities for reviewing and appealing decisions, and allows children/young people who might not be able to fully understand their own case have a ‘case friend’ (someone appointed by the tribunal panel) to help them take part in decisions.

Weaknesses of the draft code

  • The code doesn’t do everything it can to promote and protect children’s rights in the everyday education experiences of children/young people with additional learning needs, nor does it give fair opportunities to all children in educational settings, at local authority level, and in NHS settings – a funding review should be undertaken.
  • The code doesn’t do enough to make sure children/young people with additional learning needs would have safe, accessible, and appropriate transport to get to their place of learning.
  • The code should be easier to understand, and should come with further instructions for professionals working with children/young people with additional learning needs, so it’s able to be used in the same way by all local authorities.
  • The code should use a ‘needs-led approach’ (working with each individual child/young person’s needs in mind) when identifying additional learning needs and when creating individual development plans, and needs to include child/young person when their Individual Development Plans are given to their further education institutions.
  • The code should make home learning a more important element of additional learning provision, especially for younger children, and should include it in the development of Individual Development Plans. It also needs to give equal Welsh language education opportunities.
  • The code needs to be clearer about how different agencies who work with children and young people with additional learning needs share information and work together. The code also needs to make sure THAT different agencies do work together to make sure children/young people with ALN are supported in all different aspects of their life (e.g. in education, health, social care, etc.)