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Cardiff Council

The Additional Learning Needs Educational Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (ALNET)

​The Welsh Government is changing the way that children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will be supported. 

The new system defines SEN as Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

The law is changing for several reasons, but the main one is to make the process simpler and more transparent for all involved. 

The new law for supporting children and young people with ALN will bring about several main changes including: 

  • Bringing together all current systems into a new single system for ALN;
  • Being learner-centred; 
  • Providing learners with the same rights and entitlements whatever their age or setting; 
  • Improving transition between settings; 
  • Providing Welsh language provision where needed; and 
  • Being a fair and transparent system for all. 

These changes mean that children and parent(s)/ carer(s) and young people will: 

  • Access the support they need earlier; 
  • Be more involved in making decisions about the support they need; 
  • Be able to find information more easily; and 
  • Be supported if they disagree with decisions 

Children and young people who have additional learning needs may get this support for longer, but does not give all young people with ALN an automatic right to continuous education up until the age of 25. 

The core aims of the new act are:

Introduction of the term Additional Learning Needs ​

Replace the term Special Educational Needs (SEN) and learning difficultie​​s or disabilities with the new term Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

0 to 25 age range​

Under the new act there will be a single system to support children and young people aged 0 to 25 years.

Create individual development plans

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) will replace the existing statutory and non-statutory SEN or Learning Difficulty or Disability (LDD) plans for learners in schools and further education.

A ​​Person-centred approach

Involve children and young people, and their parents, in the planning process to make sure their views are considered

High aspirations and improved outcomes​

Create individual plans with realistic and achievable outcomes so that children and young people are supported to reach their full potential.

A simpler system​​

Authorities will make the process of producing and revising individual plans simpler and clearer.

Increased collaboration

Improve collaboration and sharing information between agencies. So that we can identify needs as early as possible to provide the right support.

​Better resolution of disagreements

Focus on resolving disagreements around IDPs or support at a local level. For example, within schools and through the ALN helpline.

​​Clear and consistent rights of appeal

All children, young people and their parents have a right of appeal to a tribunal if disagreements around IDPs or support cannot be resolved at a local level.

A mandatory code

Local authorities and other organisations will follow a legal code to ensure enforceable parameters in the delivery of service for children and young people.


You can visit the Cardiff Education Services website​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window for more information on the new ALNET act.​​

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