Since the ALNET Bill received Royal Assent last year the Welsh Government has consulted on and published the first in a series of guides which explain how the ALNET Act and changes from Special Educational Needs to Additional Learning needs Systems will be implemented from 2020 onward

This first guide focuses on implementing individual development plans (IDPs) for children of compulsory school age and under.  It sets out the intended mandatory phased timetable for local authorities and school governing bodies to transfer children with special educational needs plans – such as statements and individual education plans – to the new ALN system.

Under the new system, children with ALN will be entitled to IDPs.

Where it appears to a LA or a school that a child may have ALN ‘they must decide’.   Where it has been decided a child has ALN, an IDP must be prepared for the child. The school or LA that maintains an IDP must secure the additional learning provision (ALP)

The definition hasn’t changed a great deal:  “A person has additional learning needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability (whether the learning difficulty or disability arises from a medical condition or otherwise) which calls for additional learning provision”

Conversion of statements will take place over a two year period and conversion of plans for learners on early years action, school action, early years action plus and school action plus will take place over three years.

The phased approach prioritises the transfer of learners with statements.  In addition, the approach focuses on, the youngest of learners to ensure early and effective intervention, and those learners nearing key points of progression to facilitate effective transition planning.

The guides are intended for use by organisations with duties set out in the Act such as local authorities, governing bodies of maintained schools, school teaching staff and special education needs co-ordinators (SENCos)/additional learning needs co-ordinators (ALNCos)

The Welsh Government have said that information for parents – “to explain what the new system means for children and young people including how, and when, they can access their new rights under the Act will be published in due course.”

Additional guides which will set out the arrangements for implementing specific aspects of the ALN system to include further education including specialist post-16 education.

The Additional Learning Needs Code will place requirements on local authorities and governing bodies and contain guidance.   A new draft ALN Code is expected to be published for consultation in December. This will provide an opportunity to respond to the content – much of which will eventually be mandatory and contain the regulations regarding timescales.  There will be approximately 15 weeks to respond to the consultation.  This will then  be laid before the National Assembly for Wales in 2019 and it is hoped that all subordinate legislation will be in place by the end of 2019.

Implementation training will be rolled out early in 2020 and the new system will be expected to go live from September 2020.

The guide to implementing IDPs for children of compulsory school age and under is available at:

Other useful documents can be found at the following:



Infographic available at –


To ensure successful and consistent implementation of the new system, the WG have said they will be helping services to prepare for the changes ahead and to develop closer multi-agency
and cross-sector working practices. This includes the following:

  • Readiness, compliance, and impact monitoring and evaluation: to ensure that implementation of the Act is monitored closely, that issues are effectively addressed
    for the benefit of children and young people, and that best practice is being identified and shared across Wales. The approach will consider implementation in stages.
  • Readiness: assessing the extent to which local authorities and other delivery agents  are prepared for the changes ahead.
  • Compliance: how effectively they are complying with the new legislative requirements once they take effect.
  • Impact: how and the extent to which the changes are embedding and making an impact on outcomes for learners.

ALN Transformation Leads: the WG have appointed a team of five transformation leads who provide advice, support and challenge to local authorities, FEIs and other delivery partners in preparing for and managing transition to the new ALN system.

Tracey Pead will remain in South East Wales after being the lead of the Pupil Support team in Torfaen County Borough Council;
Liz Jones, former Principal Educational Psychologist from Blaenau Gwent, will continue to work in the Mid-East region;
Huw Davies, a former Estyn inspector, will be working in the West and Mid Wales region;
Margaret Davies, former Estyn inspector, will work in the North region;
Chris Denham will take on the role of a Further Education transformation leader after working to Coleg Gwent in the field of Additional Learning Needs

 ALN Transformation Grants: funding to support delivery partners (including local authorities, FEIs, local health boards, the Tribunal and Estyn) to prepare for transition
to the new system.

For the time being, local authorities and all those who work with children and young people with SEN, must ensure that they continue to comply with the duties placed upon them by the Education Act 1996.

They must also continue to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice for Wales (2004) (