Agenda item



The Committee received for consideration a progress update on the Council’s implementation of the provisions enshrined within the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018, which aimed to transform the expectations, experiences and outcomes for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).


The Committee received a presentation which detailed the progress of transition from Statements of Special Education Needs (SEN) to Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for pupils with ALN.  It was reported that implementation would be undertaken on a phased basis up to August 2025 and would result in three potential categorisation outcomes for children and young people.  Consideration was also given to the feedback on the level of success of the transition into the new ALN system, which included an overview of the areas that are working well and those that need to be addressed in terms of the role of the ALN Officers and Co-ordinators, Early Years and Post-16 Provision for children and young people with ALN, training and support, and also the ongoing partnership working with health professionals.  The Committee reviewed the statistical data on pupils with ALN in mainstream schools and those requiring specialist setting support whereby it was recognised that there had been a significant increase in demand for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) provision since September 2021.

The issues/observations raised by the Committee were addressed as follows:-


In response to a query, the process and criteria for the transfer of SEN Statements to ALN IDPs was explained to Members.  In this regard it was confirmed that all pupils with existing SEN Statements would be considered for an IDP, with new pupils proceeding directly to the ALN IDP process. Furthermore, legislation prescribed that Statements to IDPs were expected to be completed within a period of 12 weeks using a ‘person-centred’ approach and information gathering from a variety of sources / appropriate stakeholders. This timeframe was considered to be manageable on the whole, and an improvement on the SEN system, though it was acknowledged that delays could be incurred when awaiting key learner information from stakeholders.


Following concerns regarding potential inconsistencies in the quality of IDPs, an assurance was provided to the Committee that central support was provided by way of close working arrangements with schools to ensure consistency in the standard of IDPs.  Furthermore, to address potential disparity in the quality of IDPS across schools of different sizes, it was noted that a comprehensive programme of support and training was provided according to the identified school clusters.  In this regard, the progress made by the ALN co-ordinators in the transition from SEN to ALN was highly commended.  The Director of Education and Children’s Services referred to recently completed Estyn inspections and a separate report which confirmed that the ALN provision within Carmarthenshire schools was excellent.


The Committee was informed that the notion of IDPs was that they were flexible documents which would transfer with pupils who moved schools. In respect of the Carmarthenshire learners attending out of county schools and settings, it was confirmed that IDPs would be produced by Carmarthenshire following close partnership working and relevant information gathering with the relevant ALN co-ordinator of the school/setting and in accordance with the person-centred approach.  Furthermore, it was confirmed that whilst a re-charge facility to the origin Authority was in place for looked-after children, cross border IDP funding was yet to be determined.


Reference was made to the impact on schools in terms of the time pressures on the ALN co-ordinators, and budgetary pressures in accordance with the changes to the formula funding allocation.  However, the new person-centred approach was welcomed by ALN coordinators in terms of IDPs being more meaningful, with improved outcomes for learners with ALN.


In response to a query, an overview of the support available for those Educated Otherwise than a School (EOTAS) and Electively Home Educated (EHE) was provided to the Committee.  It was agreed that statistics pertaining to the number of EOTAS and EHE children within the county be circulated to the Committee.


In response to concerns raised in respect of capacity issues within specialist settings, the ALN Advisory Teacher clarified that the Council’s priority going forward was to enhance the capacity within mainstream schools meet the needs of pupils with ALN in order to provide learners with the opportunity to attend schools within their locality.


Reference was made to the significant footprint of Post 16 specialist provision within the county which afforded a 3-year entitlement to funding and support under the SEN framework.  However, it was noted that the ALN code directed a 2-year entitlement for education and training Post 16 where there is a reasonable need which will necessitate a review of the local FEI and LA specialist provision offer.  An assurance was provided that discussions were ongoing with Welsh Government to seek clarity on whether the county’s existing post-16 provision within the mainstream schools would continue to be funded and the implications of this model, compared with Welsh Government’s current preferred route of funding via independent providers.  The Committee requested an update on the outcome of the discussions with Welsh Government in due course.


Concerns were raised by the Committee in terms of the lack of parity between Welsh-medium schools in being able to access a wide range of standardised assessments and resources to support the early and accurate identification of ALN, compared with English medium schools.  An assurance was provided that this was a priority area for the Council and work was ongoing to address the issue nationally.


Reference was made to the statistical information set out within the report whereby the Director of Education and Children’s Services duly clarified that more secondary school children needed to be transferred to the ALN IDP framework as they had initially been provided with a Statement of SEN, whereas a number of primary school children had been provided with current IDPs, issued prior to the statutory requirement to do so, in instances where parental consent had been provided.


The Committee commended the implementation of new systems and processes to meet statutory requirements and acknowledged the need identified by the Division for additional core funding to ensure a sufficient ALN provision in the long-term.  The unprecedented pressures faced by schools to improve attendance and support the academic, social and emotional well-being of learners was also noted.





Statistics pertaining to the number of children ‘Educated Otherwise than a School’ (EOTAS) and Electively Home Educated (EHE) within the County be circulated to the Committee.



An update on the outcome of discussions with Welsh Government pertaining to funding of post-16 provision be circulated to the Committee in due course.



The report be endorsed and referred to the Cabinet for consideration.


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